Everton host Brighton on Sunday as the Toffees play their first fixture of the new year.
2021 ended in promising fashion for Rafael Benitez’s side, as a defeat to Crystal Palace was sandwiched by a win over Arsenal before earning a point at Chelsea last time out.
Having not played since that night on 16 December (they’ve had three fixtures postponed consecutively), Everton welcome a Brighton side fresh from securing their own point at Stamford Bridge and who sit tenth in the table – five places above the Toffees having played a game more.
Here’s how the hosts could shape up for this one.
Jordan Pickford (GK) – Has started 16 of Everton’s 17 league games so far this campaign (only missing one through injury) and will inevitably feature once more.
Seamus Coleman (RB) – Benitez will likely restore his back four having matched Chelsea with a five last time out, meaning a return for Coleman.
Jarrad Branthwaite (CB) – Earned his first Premier League start of the season last time out and, after his late equaliser against Chelsea in what was a sensational performance, should continue to deputise for the injured Yerry Mina.
Michael Keane (CB) – Hasn’t missed a minute of league action for the Toffees this term and will continue at the heart of the back line.
Ben Godfrey (LB) – Lucas Digne’s Everton career looks dead and buried, so we could see Godfrey play on the left once again.
Allan (DM) – Returned to make the bench as his side travelled to Chelsea last time out but should be ready to regain his usual starting spot here.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM) – A typically dynamic and tenacious performance last time out will of course see one of Everton’s key cogs start once more.
Andre Gomes (CM) – Should be able to play more to his strengths (in other words, actually seeing the ball) in this one than he did at Stamford Bridge.
Anthony Gordon (RW) – Finally got his first Premier League goal involvement of the season as he set up Branthwaite’s goal last time out – let’s hope he can build on that now.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (ST) – The headline news for the Goodison faithful is that they should be able to open their arms wide and welcome back Calvert-Lewin to the front line.
Demarai Gray (LW) – Wasn’t involved in Everton’s previous outing but will certainly come back into the fold. With five goals and two assists to match his influential performances, £1.7m for the winger is looking increasingly like a steal.