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The Three Candidates to Replace André Gomes in Midfield Ranked

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Most of us are still coming to terms with the horrific collision that has cost André Gomes his season. Whether it was a red card or not is neither here nor there; this is a young man, in the prime of his life, who will have to rebuild his career after suffering the kind of injury that requires extensive rehabilitation to get them back to where they once were, physically speaking. The good news is that the Portuguese ace’s surgery was a success, and after thanking fans he will now start a year-long process of recovery and rehab.

Gomes’ injury has also caused a major headache in midfield for Marco Silva. Alongside Fabian Delph, he has been an integral part of the starting eleven, and without him, there is a gaping chasm in the middle of the park.

More pertinently, there’s not a high-quality queue of replacements forming. The manager will surely break open the cheque book in the January transfer window to procure a new midfielder, but in the meantime, he will have to make do with the options at his disposal. So who is the best replacement in midfield for Gomes? Here we rank the three main contenders:

#1 – Tom Davies

Having explosively burst onto the scene as one of the most exciting youngsters to come through the academy in years, the lack of progress in Tom Davies’ career has perplexed many a Toffees fan.

Since his breakthrough campaign in 2016/17, the 21-year-old has not been able to secure a regular starting berth in midfield, and has consequently fallen down the pecking order. But the injuries to Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin – and the loss of Idrissa Gueye – means that the time is right for Davies to step up to the plate.

The system that Silva operates demands energy and vitality in midfield, and for us that’s where Davies has the edge over the rather more prosaic Morgan Schneiderlin. Of course, he needs to improve his output. He is yet to make a single key pass in his three starts this term, and a pass success rate of 80.8% is low for a player tasked with distributing the ball simply to Sigurdsson and co.

But defensively he is sound, making 1.8 tackles per 90 minutes and 1.2 interceptions, and that is crucial in a side fighting for their lives. Like it or not, the latest Premier League relegation betting odds have us only slightly higher than finishing in the top six. As such, Davies’ all-action style gets the nod from us.

#2 – Morgan Schneiderlin

It would be fair to say that Schneiderlin is not universally loved at Goodison Park. He is an excellent player from a technical perspective, that is not in question, but there are other components to being an elite-level midfielder and the Frenchman seems to be lacking in some of them.

The 29-year-old makes 0.3 key passes per 90 minutes and boasts a pass success rate of a handsome 88.5%, and he certainly can hold his own defensively as 1.7 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game attests.

But with Sigurdsson a rather immobile presence at number ten who lacks pace, we really need a driving number eight who can go beyond him and get into dangerous areas. That is not Schneiderlin’s game and explains why he would be better suited with Davies alongside him, rather than instead of him.

#3 – Beni Baningime

One almighty curveball would be to throw this raw 21-year-old into the mix. Beni Baningime looked to have all the talent in the world when he made his first-team debut back in the 2017/18 campaign, but unfortunately he seems to have lost his way since.

The Congolese midfielder has barely featured in the first-team picture since, and in a loan spell at Wigan in the second half of last season – designed to get his career back on track – Baningime made just one solitary appearance for the Latics.

He has been drawing rave reviews for his performances in the Under-23s, with manager David Unsworth commenting that “I think he’s getting back to the levels he was at.”

For now, those levels are perhaps not being involved in the thick end of a Premier League dogfight, and for that reason, we’re hoping that Davies gets the chance to prove himself for the next few months until the transfer window slides open once more.

Will Everton Land Brazilian Scoring Ace in January?

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After the turmoil last season when Ronald Koeman was sacked and Sam Allardyce was appointed until the end of the campaign, along with a record year of transfer spending, Everton managed to finish 8th in the Premier League.

Although spending was a little more conservative by comparison ahead of the 2018-19 season starting, following the arrival of Marco Silva as manager, in addition to several important additions to the team, expectations at Everton were undoubtedly for the team to keep improving and push amongst the leading teams in the Premier League.

Beyond the top five teams and the gap in points distancing them from everyone else, the latest outright football betting odds for the Premier League top six would suggest that Everton are a serious contender, aiming to jostle their way there and secure a spot in the Europa League, at the very least.

Image Source: @Everton via Twitter

Nevertheless, while a couple of wins in the coming games could push the Toffees into such a position, a series of defeats could just as easily see the team plunge into the bottom half of the table. Such is the fierceness of competition amongst the Premier League chasing pack.

On the whole, Marco Silva appears to be pleased with his Everton squad, content there’s enough strength and depth in all areas to meet his requirements. However, that doesn’t shake the sensation that Everton could be set to make a couple of signings in January.

While the scoring record of Richarlison has been praiseworthy since his arrival, netting 8 goals in 15 Premier League appearances ahead of the traditionally hectic festive period of fixtures, few fans would argue that the team could do with another proven goal-getter to help resolve tight games.

Image Source: @OfficialFPL via Twitter

This has led to speculation that Everton are already paving the way to sign Brazilian striker Gabriel Barbosa – or ‘Gabigol’, as he’s aptly known – amidst reports he is already applying for a work permit and has strong ambitions of playing in the Premier League.

Despite failing to make an impression at Inter Milan, who are apparently ready to sell the 22-year-old, he has continued to shine back at Santos on loan in Brazil, scoring 27 goals in 53 appearances in all competitions.

Given that his loan spell at Santos ends in January, numerous clubs in both South America and Europe have been on alert. Italian transfer gossip site Calciomercato.com claim Gabigol will be available, after Inter Milan’s sporting director confirmed there’s no place in their side for him.

Image Source: @CmdotCom_en via Twitter

Should the speculation that Everton are pursuing his signature hold any water, it remains to be seen whether they would splash out on a transfer signing, or perhaps take the slightly less risky option of loaning the Brazilian with an option to buy at the end of the season.

Such a move would certainly suit all concerned in any negotiations, while Marco Silva would seem to be the right man to get Gabigol scoring regularly in European football, having been so prolific in South America. The player too could view such a move as being highly beneficial for developing his game.

After all, the Portuguese coach has achieved great results working with Richarlison, who was relatively unknown before his time at Watford, and subsequent arrival at Goodison Park. His impact in the Premier League is one that Gabigol would certainly relish emulating.

20 goals realistic for Richarlison?

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When Richarlison first came to Everton from Watford, there was a lot of discussion about the fee, and even claims from Paul Merson that the transfer had “spoiled the window”. Many neutrals, not just Evertonians, treated this statement with contempt, having witnessed transfers – such as that involving Paul Pogba to Manchester United in 2016 – being completed for far more exorbitant sums.

Though the Brazilian is only a few games into his Everton career, Merson’s words appear cheap. With three goals to his name in as many appearances, the Toffees fans are already beginning to forget about the exact price that brought him to Merseyside. Thus far, he has mixed up his skill with a terrific work rate in both attack and defence, particularly in his blistering debut in the season opener at Wolves.

The ‘good’ will win out

His moment of madness – in a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth – aside, the Brazilian has excited the Goodison crowd, and when he returns from that suspension, he will be expected to hit the ground running once again. His performances have earned him a first call-up to the national team, and with Richarlison now also commanding newly-shortened odds of 100/1 in Premier League betting markets for the top scorer of 2018/19, nobody can deny that it is a deserved reward.

Richarlison’s form underlines the belief held by some that certain players can only resonate with a certain manager. It seems like much more than a coincidence, when one considers how quickly his form dipped after Watford dispensed of Marco Silva’s services in the winter of 2017/18. With Richarlison well on course to at least double his tally of five goals in forty-one games for Watford, the question remains as to whether he can do what a certain Egyptian did on the other side of Stanley Park last season.

In the Premier League era, the record season tally for a designated wide player at Everton is sixteen. Andrei Kanchelskis struck that immense tally in 1995/96, as Everton finished sixth – which stood as the club’s best finish for nine years thereafter. The sixth-place finish was sealed in the penultimate game of that season, which proved to be Kanchelskis’ best performance in the royal… grey:

Digne/Richarlison key to the magic figure

Perhaps the man who comes closest to emulating the Russian is Steven Pienaar, who terrorised defences in his prime. Much of Pienaar’s ability to threaten defences goal-side was down to Leighton Baines also being at his peak. If Richarlison is to thrust Mo Salah back into obscurity, Marco Silva could certainly do worse than to focus on making the Lucas Digne/Richarlison partnership the most non-negotiable element of the starting XI.

In terms of getting twenty league goals, though, that is something which is going to be very hard to achieve. Even the great Eden Hazard has been unable able to do it for Chelsea, So too have the likes of Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, even during their peak years around the new millennium, when United went practically unopposed to the Premier League title.

For this season, fifteen Richarlison goals would be a great – and far more realistic – achievement. The money that Everton spent on him already looks like a wise investment. His work in defence and with his teammates has earned him a lot of love, as has his interaction with the fans. There is little doubt there will be plenty more assists and goals to come as well

Richarlison Form Will Hold Key for Everton

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Eyebrows were raised when Everton paid £40m to sign Richarlison from Watford during the summer transfer window. However, the Brazilian has hit the ground running at the Toffees, scoring three goals in his opening two matches of his Everton career. Marco Silva has enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season in his new role and his faith in the 21-year-old has been rewarded.

Silva signed Richarlison for Watford last season, although the Brazilian played under his manager for only six months before the Portuguese left Vicarage Road. However, Silva identified the winger as one of the players needed to improve Everton’s fortunes in the final third following his arrival on Merseyside. He has already proven his dynamic ability in and around the box, with his three goals that have helped the Toffees claim four points from a possible six.

Everton were made to rue a slow start to the season last term. Ronald Koeman spent heavily in the transfer market, but failed to conjure positive results in the Premier League and Europa League. Sam Allardyce was brought in to rescue the Toffees from the brief threat of relegation, although he did not win many supporters over with his style of play. Silva has the opportunity to succeed where his predecessors did not in guiding Everton to a top-four place to justify their significant outlays in the transfer market since Farhad Moshiri became the majority shareholder.

The club are backed at 14/1 in the Premier League betting odds to qualify for the Champions League. Everton’s performances under Silva in the opening two matches of the season have not been flawless, but with Richarlison they have a proven match-winner. His pace and movement were too much for Wolves to handle in the opening match of the term at Molineux. The 21-year-old displayed his clinical edge in the final third to score twice when his team needed production after being reduced to 10 men after the dismissal of Phil Jagielka.

Players that can beat a defender with sheer pace and skill are in great demand. As a result, Everton did have to part with £40m to secure the Brazilian’s signature. His two goals against Wolves proved that he has all the attributes to be a world-class operator on the flank. Richarlison maintained his standard of performance against Southampton, giving Cedric Soares a difficult afternoon down the wing. Richarlison’s nous allowed him to nip ahead of his man to score his team’s decisive second goal that was the difference between the two sides at Goodison Park.

The 21-year-old had a bright start to his career at Watford before tailing off towards the end of the term. He was not the player he was when Silva was managed when Javi Gracia arrived. Consistency at the highest level is the true hallmark of what separates the truly elite players from the rest of the pack. Richarlison has provided the spark and additional quality in brief spells, but Everton will need him at the peak of his powers throughout the term to qualify for the Champions League.

Everton can strike gold under Silva

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Everton have spent close to £100m on players this summer, which meant there was an expectant feel at Molineux when the players ran out for the late kickoff on Saturday evening. It didn’t go quite to plan as an 80th-minute equalizer from Raul Jimenez denied Everton their first three points of the season, but there were positive signs nevertheless.

All in all, it was a very impressive point given the fact Everton played the majority of the game with ten men after Phil Jagielka was given his marching orders when a desperate lunge to win the ball back saw him go in late on Diogo Jota. The subsequent free-kick was taken from the wrong place and the Premier League will soon find out that you don’t give Ruben Neves any advantage whatsoever from a set-piece after he found the top bin with a delightful effort.

Molineux will be a tough place to go for away teams this year so despite it seeming like two points dropped, coming away with one with ten men was a sterling effort. The time feels right for Everton to kick on and barge into the top six and under Silva, that could well become a reality.

The former Hull and Watford manager tends to prefer his players to get forward and play offensively but ultimately puts being well organized and structured above anything else. There’s a fine line as manager of Everton when it comes to getting results but also pleasing the crowds.

The Goodison faithful understand that both can be a tough ask when assembling a squad on a limited budget but now that the purse strings are open and there has been an influx of very good players arrive at Goodison Park, there is more of an emphasis on playing expansive football.

With Silva in charge after having been chosen as the man to be Sam Allardyce’s successor, Everton have the perfect man to begin the revolution and put the foundations in place for the Toffees to start competing at the right end of the table every year. The 2018/2019 season has the potential to see a shift in power and with Arsenal looking weaker than ever, Everton have a chance to knock down the door of the top six.

Manchester City and Liverpool are being touted as favourites to win the league but Everton’s red neighbours may find that Manchester United are more suited to posing a stronger challenge to City. The odds on Man Utd to win league 2019 may be as far out as 20/1 on the Betfair exchange but they could be the team the Toffees and the rest of the league have to keep pace with.

As long as Everton can turn Goodison Park into a fortress and become hard to beat away from home then the Toffees could put together one of their best seasons in a long while.

Marco Silva has brought in players that can make that happen and looking at it on paper, Everton have one of the best squads in the league. There is an important blend of hardworking players and skillful technicians at Silva’s disposal now and with this abundance of riches, they should find a rich vein of form from the off.

Everton Must Find Consistency to Secure Top-Half Finish

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At the start of the season, a top-half finish looked a long way off for Everton Football Club, but slow and steady progress has put them in a position where it now looks likely. They are ninth at the moment, but if they want to secure a top-half finish then they must find a way to be more consistent during the remainder of the season.

We have seen both the good and bad of Everton in recent weeks, and the frustrating part of that is that we know they are capable of playing well. The 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace was a great win, and a chance to turn the corner, but that was flanked by two below-par efforts, including the embarrassing performance put in against Arsenal. The Toffees lost that game 5-1, and probably goes down as one of the worst performances over the past couple of seasons.

More performances like the one at Arsenal, and Everton will find themselves dropping back into the bottom half of the table. However, they are in a positive position right now, and more performances like the one against Crystal Palace would solidify their position. There is no doubting that the Toffees have the ability to finish in the top half, but consistency on the field is required to make that a reality. The bookmakers think Everton can do it, the latest Premier League betting has them 4/9 to finish in the top half.

One thing Everton have in their favour for finishing in the top half is the run-in they have. The only two top six clubs still to play are Manchester City and Liverpool, giving Everton a slightly easier run-in than what most other clubs have. Those two tough games will be played at Goodison Park, giving Everton a better chance of getting something out of them.

If the team are looking for a way to improve over the coming weeks then goal scoring is an area they are really lacking in. Since the turn of the year, they have scored eight goals in eight games, which is not good enough. Add to that the fact they have been kept off the scoresheet in four of those eight games, and it is clear that there is work still to do.

Losing Romelu Lukaku last summer was obviously a big blow to the club this summer, but they did spend money to replace him. What Everton did was add a lot of creativity, and hope that would give them a chance of scoring goals, instead of buying an out and out goal scorer to replace the goals they would miss from Lukaku. That appears to be coming back to haunt them now, and whatever happens between now and the end of the season, Everton are likely to be in the market for a goal scorer this summer.

After a poor start, Everton appear to be getting back on track, but a consistent finish is required if they are to cement their place in the top half this season.

Why Everton Simply Must Put an End to the Anfield Curse

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There was a collective sigh amongst the blue half of Merseyside as Everton drew Liverpool away in the FA Cup third round on Monday.

Having already crashed out of the League Cup and Europa League, not to mention the bleak start to the Premier League campaign, many believe that the FA Cup represented Everton’s final hope of for a successful season. After all, simply ending the 22-year wait for a trophy, if nothing else, would be a huge relief to Evertonians looking to build towards a new generation of success at Goodison Park.

Source: Everton Football Club via Facebook

With 63 potential opponents to choose from, the draw could have thrown up surprise package, Bristol City, who are 7/2 in the Championship betting to make to the Premier League, a floundering League Two side like Barnet or one of the remaining non-league sides like Slough, Hereford or Flyde – but no. It just had to be that lot.

Indeed, getting a Premier League side in itself is a bit of an unlucky draw. But to have to travel across the park to a place you haven’t won since the turn of the millennium is just rotten luck. We are, of course, writing this ahead of Everton’s trip to Anfield on Sunday, December 10, but even after huge improvements with wins against West Ham and Huddersfield, beating the neighbours right now would probably earn Big Sam eternal love among Blues – especially after Liverpool’s devastating 5-1 demolition job away at Brighton.

Another annoyance with the draw is that it comes so early in January, giving Everton precious little time to get the two or three recruitments they so desperately need: a striker, a centre-back and a left back.

But boohoo. It’s happened. And Everton need a plan. It also gives Walsh and co even more incentive – as if it was needed – to have at least the essential transfer business done and dusted as soon as the window opens on January 1.

A conservative approach could see Allardyce park the bus and look to grab a replay at Goodison – something the red side really won’t want after the hectic Christmas schedule and European football to think about.

On the other hand, the Anfield hoodoo simply needs to end. And what better way to do that than exposing your enemy’s brittle defence on the way to claiming silverware?

Source: The Royal Blue Mersey via Facebook

Since Kevin Campbell last earned Everton victory at Anfield, the two sides have met in front of the Kop on 19 occasions; ten of which have ended seen the Reds take the bragging rights. Even more depressingly, since the year 2000, Everton have scored just nine goals at Anfield, conceding 32.

This must stop.

The Everton squad are still suffering from a small club mindset imposed by the struggles of the 90s and Moyes’ glass ceiling approach. Two things need to happen for to start the next successful chapter of the Everton story: a win at Anfield and a major trophy gracing the Goodison trophy cabinet.

Whether it takes Sam’s sports psychologists or just a bit of luck, Everton need to go out and take what they want: a win at Anfield.

Should Everton be prioritising the League Cup and FA Cup?

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There was plenty of optimism surrounding Everton over the course of the summer, with many asking the question whether Ronald Koeman’s side could break into the Premier League’s top-six after a multi-million pound spending spree saw a host a talent arrive at Goodison Park.

Wayne Rooney’s return to his boyhood club was special in its own way, but Everton fans were overjoyed to see their club spending big on some top talent, with the likes of Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane arriving for around the £30m mark, with Gylfi Sigurdsson also costing the Toffees a reported £45m late in the summer window.

A number of new arrivals meant that expectations have significantly risen on Merseyside, with Evertonians hoping that Koeman now had the squad to break into the Premier League’s elite and compete for the major honours at the top of the English game.

However, the Toffees have endured a difficult start to the 2017/18 campaign, with Koeman’s side showing no real signs of bettering last season’s seventh placed finish in the league. Everton are clearly missing the goals of Romelu Lukaku, who left Goodison for Manchester United, with Rooney and co failing to fill the goalscoring void left by the big Belgian.

Whilst it is ridiculous to rule Everton out of a place in the top-six at this stage of the season, should Koeman now be placing more focus into winning a trophy during the 2017/18 campaign? Everton will be competing across four fronts this season, but should focus on two domestic trophies – the League Cup and FA Cup.

Everton’s League Cup campaign began recently, with Koeman’s side breezing through the third-round of the competition, making short work of a disappointing Sunderland side, who have more pressing issues in the Championship. A goalscoring brace from Dominic Calvert-Lewin combined with a Oumar Niasse goal handed the Toffees a 3-0 victory and moved them comfortably into the fourth-round.

Koeman’s side was significantly weakened from the usual suspects who line up in the Premier League when they faced Sunderland, and Everton’s supporters will hope to see a stronger side selected for the fourth-round in October, after their side were dealt a difficult tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea did not take the third-round lightly, with Antonio Conte naming a strong starting XI, who dispatched Nottingham Forest with ease, beating their Championship opponents 5-1. Everton will still look to use some of their fringe players in the competition when they travel to London in late October, but Koeman may be tempted to play some more senior figures of his squad, if he is serious about ending Everton’s trophy drought, which stretches all the way back to their 1995 FA Cup triumph over Manchester United.

Everton are priced as 20/1 outsiders with Ladbrokes to lift the League Cup in 2018 following the fourth-round draw, with Oddschecker offering a series of free bet offers for customers looking to place a bet on such an unlikely wager.

Of course, Everton’s hopes of a successful season do not rest on the League Cup run they go on from now, but that particular competition offers Koeman’s side chance probably their most realistic chance of silverware at the beginning of the campaign, and it will certainly a surprise if the Dutchman does not select a strong team to take Chelsea on at the next stage.

Too much emphasis in modern football goes on the success of qualifying for the Champions League, and at Everton that has undoubtedly been the case, with a lot of focus on breaking into England’s elite.

Last season we saw Tottenham Hotspur challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title, but ultimately fall short and finish the season with just guaranteed Champions League football, whilst Manchester United and Jose Mourinho took a different approach.

United finished the season in sixth, but picked up three trophies along the way – the Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League, the latter that secured their qualification for the Champions League this season.

Winning the Europa League would be a big ask for Everton, but success in either of England’s domestic cup competitions is realistic, and as others have shown before them, it helps everybody associated with a club look back on a year with fond memories.

Undoubtedly, Everton’s priority after a big summer was to break into the Premier League’s elite, and that should be admired. However, a slow start to the season has left that in jeopardy and Koeman’s main focus must now change to ending the club’s long wait for a trophy, first of all by focusing on their League Cup clash with Chelsea, before targeting success in the FA Cup.

Where Will Everton’s Goals Come From This Season?

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It’s not been the start to the season that many Everton fans anticipated. Ronald Koeman’s side find themselves in the relegation zone after five matches and have netted just twice. The Toffees invested heavily in the summer but still appear light in the striking department and many fans have been left wondering who will fill the void left by the departed Romelu Lukaku.

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It’s been a while since Everton last found the net. A 1-1 draw against Hajduk Split was the last time the Toffees were able to celebrate as Gylfi Sigurdsson netted a memorable goal from distance to book Everton’s place in this season’s UEFA Europa League. The Icelandic midfielder scored nine times for Swansea last season and is likely to be a threat from set-pieces this campaign but he will need some support in the final third.

Fellow new recruit Wayne Rooney has netted both of the clubs two Premier League goals so far but the ageing striker hasn’t hit double figures since the 2014-15 season and his influence on the team may diminish as the season progresses.

Koeman snapped up Malaga striker Sandro Ramirez in the summer and the Dutchman has urged fans to be patient with the 22-year-old who netted 14 times in the Spanish top flight last season. Ramirez showed a natural finishing ability after breaking into the Malaga’s starting eleven and has plenty of pace too. Some fans believe that he hasn’t been given a fair crack of the whip.

He played a disappointing 45 minutes against Spurs and was given a further 21 against Manchester United but he may find fortune against weaker clubs as he continues to find his feet at this level. He has been working hard in training but the fans expect an instant impact from the £5million signing and so far they’ve been left underwhelmed.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin netted just once last season and the 20-year-old will need time to adapt but regular game time will surely help the pacey forward. The Toffees have been better with Calvert-Lewin in the side with the Sheffield-born striker playing 90 minutes against Stoke and Manchester City. Everton came away with points from both of those games but have failed to kick on since.

Fans were hoping to see their side break into the top six this season and there was plenty of pre-season optimism on Merseyside at the beginning of August. Everton have drifted out to 7/1 for a top-six finish in the Premier League betting markets and, with easier-looking games against Burnley and Brighton to come, the Toffees should be able to add to their four points. They’ve played four of last season’s top six already and Everton should not be written off just yet.

Replacing Romelu Lukaku’s 25 goals was always going to be difficult and Everton are still adapting to life without the powerful Belgian. Ross Barkley was the club’s second top scorer last year but the young midfielder has been sidelined so far. Firepower is in short supply at the moment and it’s an issue which must be addressed in January however in the meantime Dominic Calvert-Lewin must be given regular game time whilst Sandro Ramirez is likely to slowly get up to speed over the next couple of months and should eventually get off the mark.

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