6 min: A mistake by Ben Mee, who fails to deal with a long punt, allows Calvert-Lewin to charge down the right. Here’s what Koeman was looking for. The young striker’s held up the recovering Mee, but he manages to find Sigurdsson, who plays a pass to Vlasic in the area. The young Croatian knocks it back to Sigurdsson, who’s got space for a shot, only to place a careful low side-footer too close to Pope.
5 min: Williams heads the corner away. Defour puts it back in the area, but Keane heads it out for a throw on the left.
4 min: Burnley mount their first attack, Vlasic allowing Ward to run unhindered down the left to send a lovely cross into the six yard-box, forcing Baines to shovel the ball behind for a corner.
3 min: Oumar Niasse, who may well be even better than Kylian Mbappe, has an early sighter, a shot hit with little backlift from 20 yards. It’s powerful, but it’s straight at Pope.
2 min: The good news is that Goodison Park is slightly louder than it was on Thursday.
Peep! Everton, kicking from left to right, get the game underway. They go on the attack straight away, but Baines’s deep cross is well watched by Pope in the Burnley goal.
Ronald Koeman speaks! “The team is in a different situation than maybe expected. They have changed the style of playing for today. The way our opponent will approach the game today, two strikers in front. Niasse gives us more aggression. Maybe he is the player who is not struggling at the moment and it gives some freshness to the team. We played on Thursday. It is difficult to have the same line-up because we need fresh legs. I spoke with Wayne about this yesterday. He took this really good. Okay, he is not happy, everyone wants to start, but it is about the whole squad. Michael Keane is ready. He trained yesterday. He is okay to play and start and it is a big boost.”
Everton make five changes from the side that drew with Apollon Limassol. Cuco Martina replaces Jonjoe Kenny at right-back and Michael Keane is fit to return in place of Mason Holgate against his old side, while further forward Ronald Koeman has introduced some youthful mobility in an attempt to give his team more vibrancy. Nikola Vlasic replaces Davy Klaassen after scoring his first Everton goal against Apollon, while Wayne Rooney and Sandro Ramirez have dropped to the bench. Oumar Niasse, ineligible in the Europa League (well in, Ron), and Dominic Calvert-Lewin start up front instead.
Burnley are unchanged from last week’s goalless draw with Huddersfield. Expect them to focus primarily on being tough to break down and to look to counterattack as the game wears on.
Everton: Pickford; Martina, Keane, Williams, Baines; Vlasic, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Sigurdsson; Calvert-Lewin, Niasse. Subs: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Davies, Klaassen, Lookman, Rooney, Sandro.
Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward; Arfield, Cork, Hendrick, Defour, Brady; Wood. Subs: Lindegaard, Vokes, Barnes, Gudmundsson, Westwood, Bardsley, Long.
Referee: Jon Moss.
Hello. Sometimes a manager can come up with so many convoluted ideas that he ends up looking like he doesn’t have any at all. Ronald Koeman, for instance, reckoned that Everton were too scared to play in their limp draw with 10-man Apollon Limassol at an eerily quiet Goodison Park on Thursday night. To those watching, however, it simply looked like Everton don’t have a way of playing – unless ponderous sideways football with no genuine width and as many No10s crammed into the side as possible counts as a way of playing.
Into the third month of the season we go and still it remains unclear what Koeman wants Everton to do. He’s been given a lot of money to construct a team so slow it could be a Canadian kid who’s been put in the remedial class in his new school and the pressure will grow if they fail to win this one against Burnley. This, presumably, wasn’t what Koeman had in mind after the summer splurge. This, however, is what Evertonians are seeing at the moment. It’s difficult to know which have been more disappointing, results or performances, while it doesn’t exactly reflect well on Koeman’s judgement that it was down to the discarded Oumar Niasse to drag Everton out of the bottom three with a heroic substitute appearance against Bournemouth last weekend.
While Koeman searches for the right balance, Burnley are reaping the benefits of the absence of any high-falutin’ ideas. There’s no talk of a philosophy, a project, a process at Turf Moor. But Sean Dyche’s instructions are understood and implemented by his players and we know what to expect from Burnley at Goodison Park this afternoon. A no-frills, ego-free approach has them in eighth place. Everton, two points behind Burnley, are 16th. It might not be that exciting, it might not be revolutionary, but it is a reminder that simplicity is underrated.