Everton are missing a host of key players for this Sunday’s trip to face Newcastle.
First choice full backs Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman are out; the former through suspension, the latter through injury.
James Rodriguez started at Southampton after a topsy-turvy week of injury news, but Carlo Ancelotti has ruled him out of this Sunday’s clash.
Richarlison is also out thanks to his Merseyside derby red card and Everton must end their dismal record without him since he arrived in 2018.
Last weekend, Everton failed to score without the Brazilian in a 2-0 loss at St Mary’s, with Alex Iwobi and Bernard both getting 45 to deputise but failing to replace his spark and goal threat.
Richarlison missed only two league games last season, and both were drawn.
The first was against West Ham – a 1-1 draw – and the other was actually against Newcastle.
Everton were 2-0 up going into stoppage time of the sides’ most recent meeting, at Goodison Park, but let in two late goals to draw 2-2. That league win without Richarlison eludes them still.
In 2018-19, he missed three games – taking his total league absences to six.
There was a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield, a 2-2 with Tottenham on the final day of the season, and a 3-1 home loss to West Ham.
So Everton have only lost two of those six matches Richarlison has missed – so there’s no need for stark panic.
But it does hint at a slight overreliance on the Brazilian, and underlines Ancelotti’s need to find a way to get victories without him.
That puts scrutiny on Everton’s backup options, as well as the Italian’s ability to formulate an alternative gameplan.
Essentially, he is missing his top picks in all the wide areas and that will require a Plan B to get the result at Newcastle.
Everton could do with a win this weekend. To get back on track after that first loss of the season, to banish the ghosts of that Newcastle collapse last season and to prove they can win without Richarlison.
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