Forward axed in Koeman 3-5-2: Everton best possible XI to face Man United
COMMENT By Danny Wright
Ronald Koeman has to bring Enner Valencia into his starting line-up if he is to field his best possible team against Manchester United.
The Everton squad is running thin at the moment with long-term injuries to Seamus Coleman, Ramiro Funes Mori and Yannick Bolasie.
Morgan Schneiderlin, Aaron Lennon and James McCarthy are also likely to miss the game through injury so it makes it very difficult for the Dutchman to field his full-strength side.
The loss at Liverpool on Saturday proved that a change up front is needed if Everton want to pick up their first win at Old Trafford since 2013.
That means axing 20-year-old Dominic Calvert-Lewin from the team and handing the second striker role to a more experienced performer.
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Valencia hasn’t started for Everton in the league since December but now would be the perfect time to bring him back into the team as Man United are currently struggling to field their best defence.
The 27-year-old must start alongside Romelu Lukaku to make a front two that are likely to get a goal against a team that were held to a goalless draw against West Brom on Saturday.
The West Ham loanee came off the bench to get a goal and an assist against Hull before the international break and Koeman needs to give him a chance in the starting XI if he is to get anything against United.
Joel Robles should keep his place in goal with Phil Jagielka, Ashley Williams and Matthew Pennington in front of him as the club’s only fit centre-backs that have much first team experience.
Leighton Baines and Mason Holgate should be the two wide options but Valencia’s versatility means that he can drift out to either wide position to support the wing-backs.
Idrissa Gueye and Tom Davies must keep their places in the centre of midfield as Ross Barkley drops back to play a more reserved playmaker role between the two attackers.
Everton will be able to move up two places in the Premier League standings if results go their way this week.
That means that could sit above both Manchester United and Arsenal as they look to assert themselves in a European spot for next season.
In other Everton news, a Liverpool defender has slammed this 23-year-old after the Merseyside derby.