Norwich City

Everton next manager faces Richarlison certainty and new signing question


Everton’s stunningly-bad performance in their 2-1 loss to Norwich City at Carrow Road brings plenty of selection posers for the home match against Aston Villa next Saturday.

Unlike the Blues, Steven Gerrard’s Villa side were successfully able to recover from a two-goal deficit in their own fixture later on Saturday as they earned a share of the spoils at home to Manchester United in a 2-2 draw.

The Canaries – who had lost their previous six Premier League fixtures – hadn’t netted a goal in the competition since November but they breached Everton’s rear-guard twice in as many chaotic minutes.

Michael Keane, whose own goal broke the deadlock and ended Dean Smith’s side’s scoring drought, must be in danger of losing his place with Yerry Mina fit again and coming on alongside him as a second half substitute.

It was captain Seamus Coleman who made way for the Colombian and the 33-year-old, who had endured a difficult day up against Milot Rashica, could also be under threat.

Keane might retain his spot with Ben Godfrey moving over to right-back like he did against his former club while new big money signing Nathan Patterson, a specialist in the position, is also waiting in the wings and poised to be given his chance south of the border after his move earlier this month from Rangers.

There must also be question marks about Everton’s fresh recruit on the other side of defence, left-back Vitalii Mykolenko who survived making a suicidal back pass that was intercepted by Adam Idah, who had already scored.

Godfrey – or Patterson for that matter – could replace him but with Lucas Digne making a swift return to Goodison as Mykolenko’s opposite number, it was hardly be a vote of confidence to the player earmarked to be his successor, to leave the Ukrainian out.

Neither Andre Gomes or Abdoulaye Doucoure covered themselves in glory in the engine room where they were largely overrun.

Allan missed the trip to Norfolk through illness and might be an alternative or supplementary option next weekend in central midfield.

All of a sudden, Everton appear to have options in the wide areas.

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Andros Townsend was a regular on the right wing earlier in the season – and made a scoring return off the bench at Hull City – but remained unused on the bench at Carrow Road along with Anwar El Ghazi who will be ineligible to feature against his parent club Villa.

Given Anthony Gordon’s developing displays in recent weeks, the former Crystal Palace man might find it difficult to get back in just now.

Demarai Gray started on the left against Norwich but moved into a more central role after Richarlison entered the fray and with the Brazilian scoring and surely a certainty to start against Villa, may be deployed similarly against the Midlanders.

The dual strike partnership of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Salomon Rondon proved largely ineffective so with last season’s top scorer continuing to build-up his sharpness, the Venezuelan looks a prime candidate to make way for his fellow South American Richarlison in what would be a reshaped side.

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