Everton make the short trip to the Etihad this afternoon for one of the most difficult fixtures of the Premier League season against the reigning champions Manchester City.
The Toffees climbed up a position in the league table last night into 16th on goal difference due to West Ham United’s defeat but still remain just one point clear of the relegation zone after 16 outings.
Frank Lampard will be hoping his team can perform a giant-killing blow in their final fixture of 2022, however, with Pep Guardiola’s side only losing two games so far this season the Evertonians have a task on their hands.
In terms of injuries, Yerry Mina joins James Garner and Andros Townsend on the injury table after suffering a low-level hamstring injury, but Lampard has been dealt a huge boost ahead of the clash.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin should be ready to return to action today alongside Conor Coady who was unavailable for selection against his parent club Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this week.
The Everton boss took to his pre-match press conference to deliver some great news on the 25-year-old striker ahead of the clash:
“[Dominic] is in the squad. Having Dominic back in the fold is a great thing for us because players who can make a difference at the top end of the pitch like that mean points. It’s as simple as that at times.”
With that in mind, this is how Football FanCast expects Everton to line up against Manchester City this afternoon…
Predicted Everton XI: Jordan Pickford (GK), Nathan Patterson (RB), Conor Coady (CB), James Tarkowski (CB), Vitaliy Mykolenko (LB), Idrissa Gana Gueye (CM), Amadou Onana (CM), Alex Iwobi (AM), Demarai Gray (LW), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (CF), Anthony Gordon (RW)
We predict that Lampard will make three changes to the team that lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers at Goodison Park on Boxing Day.
The first change is Coady’s return to the Everton defence after missing out on the action earlier this week, alongside an otherwise unchanged back-line that includes Patterson, Tarkowski and Mykolenko.
The second change we expect to see is Gray replacing Dwight McNeil in the left winger position as the 26-year-old can provide pace and is more of a goal threat to Man City as he is currently the joint top-scorer in the team with three goals.
The third and final change we predict is the return of Calvert-Lewin with Lampard putting the striker straight back into the team to give the Toffees their best chance to score early at the Etihad.
The popular Everton striker will replace Neal Maupay in the centre-forward positioning as the £50k-per-week Frenchman – who was dubbed “poor” by journalist Tom Barnes – has struggled to make his presence known in front of goal so far.
Should Calvert-Lewin start against Man City?
A three-pointer for Everton could see them rise as high as 14th in the Premier League table, however, a loss would take their fate out of their own hands as to whether they drop into 2023 in the relegation zone or not.