Everton predicted 4-2-3-1 v Middlesbrough: Attacking midfielder axed
By Alex Taylor
Manager Ronald Koeman is expected to make one change to his Everton side as they prepare to welcome Middlesbrough to Goodison Park on Saturday.
Creative midfielder Kevin Mirallas is expected to come in for the off-form Ross Barkley, who was hauled off at half-time in the Toffees 3-0 win over Sunderland at the start of the week.
Mirallas is set to be flanked by new signing Yannick Bolasie on the right-hand side of Koeman’s attack.
The powerful winger recently joined Everton for £25million from Crystal Palace and demonstrated his threat against Sunderland by setting up Romelu Lukaku’s second goal with a pinpoint cross on the run.
Gerard Deulofeu could occupy the space on the opposite touch-line. The former Barcelona star has provided 18 assists in 65 appearances for the Merseyside outfit and will prove a constant menace to Antonio Barragán this weekend.
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The three attacking midfielders will fill in behind lead striker Lukaku, who ended a barren run for his club with an 11-minute hat-trick on Monday night.
Behind the front four, Koeman is likely to employ the defensive shields of Gareth Barry and Idrissia Gueye.
The pair have only just begun their new partnership in central midfield but with the experience and passing ability of Barry fused with Gueye’s energy and tackling strengths, it could be a crucial combination for the Toffees this season.
Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka are set to start together at the core of the Everton back line again on Saturday.
The former Swansea captain is yet to put a foot wrong since his summer transfer and is developing a strong relationship with his new centre-back partner.
The pair will be flanked by regular full-backs Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman.
Baines’ strong defensive work and set-piece ability means he will start the Premier League clash in front of new number one keeper Maarten Stekelenburg in goal.
In other Everton team news, Koeman has revealed that Romelu Lukaku will need support from his team-mates