Everton victory, which proved Niels Nkounkou more than capable of standing in for Lucas Digne.


The manager confirmed that he will not have both James Rodriguez and Seamus Coleman with him for the trip to the Northeast on Sunday, as both are injured.

Carlo Ancelotti has a number of issues to resolve before Everton’s game against Newcastle this weekend.

In the latest edition of our Royal Blue podcast, we look at Everton’s puzzles on the left outer lane before the Newcastle game, and whether a change of formation would be an option for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

That was the discussion in our last Royal Blue podcast, where Phil Kirkbride joined Dave Prentice and Adam Jones to discuss how Everton should approach the Newcastle game.

So could a change in formation be a possibility for Everton’s next game? And who will be the best option to fill in for the Blues’ influential left wing defender?

Meanwhile, Richarlison and Lucas Digne are suspended for the game after their red cards against Liverpool and Southampton respectively earlier this month.

What struck me when I heard Carlo say that there is no Rodriguez or Coleman because Richarlison is suspended and Digne is suspended, these are three of the team’s most creative players and the statistics would confirm that.

And above all, there was a previous game that gave our panel high hopes for Niels Nkounkou’s ability to fill in for his suspended teammate this weekend.

I thought so myself, it will be a tremendous test.

I thought it could scream a formation change to me.

When you consider how influential the full backs are in modern football, and how important Everton’s two were in taking them both out of the equation – and Richarlison as goalkeeper and James Rodriguez as the most creative individual – then you have to seriously think about it.

And whoever you choose on the left, be it Nkounkou or Anthony Gordon, you have players who would feel more comfortable in that role.

It might be a good idea to switch to a three-way back. Ben Godfrey, as you can imagine, would feel more comfortable, Jonjoe Kenny is probably more suited for a right back role.

The first thing that came to my mind was that this might be a possibility.

We’ve only seen Nkounkou in the league cup this season and West Ham had made some changes, but they were a pretty strong West Ham team, they were full of players and had a lot of Premier League appearances.

He based his performance on the opponent he faced. West Ham had, as you say, changed sides, but they will still be a bigger threat, with all due respect, than Salford and Fleetwood would be.

Not only did he bomb forward against West Ham, he was much more aware of his position and defensive skills that night, and the number of tackles he showed in that game was really good, as were the number of interceptions and distances.

I remember seeing a table with his statistics from his three League Cup matches this season and it was really interesting to analyze his attack statistics in the Salford City and Fleetwood Town matches compared to his defensive games against West Ham.


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