Everton: Who plays in the midfield?

HALEWOOD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30: Tom Davies during the Everton FC training session at USM Finch Farm on January 30, 2017 in Halewood, England. (Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)
HALEWOOD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30: Tom Davies during the Everton FC training session at USM Finch Farm on January 30, 2017 in Halewood, England. (Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images) /

With Idrissa Gueye’s imminent return and availability combined with Tom Davies emergence and the purchase of Morgan Schneiderlin, suddenly Everton have a surplus of central midfielders.  Who takes those spots in Ronald Koeman’s midfield?

With Everton’s primary formation according to whoscored.com hosting just two central midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 the position has suddenly become a strength for the club.

In the first half of the season and before departing for the African Cup of Nations, Gueye was by far the most consistent player on the roster.  Even more so than Romelu Lukaku, Gueye put in a good shift in every match.

Management thought a replacement was needed for Gareth Barry who shouldn’t be starting week in and week out and James McCarthy who was out with persistent minor injuries.  In came Schneiderlin during the transfer window and with him an excitement of the power of a suddenly very competent midfield.

Then before the Schneiderlin transfer was officially done and with Gueye still gone on international duty, Tom Davies made himself into a star.  This stat probably is just a coincidence, but I feel as if it needs to be stated.  In his time on the field, Everton has a goal difference of +13 with thirteen goals and none conceded.  For more on the wonderful play of Davies, check out this article.


Well because Everton doesn’t play more than two players at the position, at least to this point, an adjustment needs to be made or someone will be left out.

Here is my suggestion to solving the problem and what might be the best Everton lineup.

With a three man midfield, Everton would solve the problem of all three of these players needed to be on the field.  Ronald Koeman is a creative enough manager to give this a try so we might be seeing it sooner rather than later.

With Gueye left alone to shield the backline and live in the space between midfield and backline, Everton could snuff out the area where many opposition attacks come from.  That space is where some of the best creators in the Premier League operate and by now everyone knows just how good Gueye can be in marking out just about anyone.

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With Davies and Schneiderlin in front of Gueye, Everton might not have much going forward you’d say.  To that I would argue, both of those players are capable of shouldering half of the attacking role needed.  In this particular formation that central attacking force from the midfield wouldn’t be as pivotal as both Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas are both more inside forwards.  They both spend time cutting in looking to distribute or shoot.  Right now with the injuries and ineffective wing options, that is what Everton has to go with.

Another hesitation you might be raising is where does the width in attack come from.  Again that is a simple answer and it is because the midfield three will be capable of assisting the backline so effectively, Coleman and Baines can sweep up on either wing.  These two are so good in that role that Koeman has gone with them as wingbacks with Barkley and Mirallas in the same inside forward role before.  If Tottenham didn’t have the combination of Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, Everton might have the best attacking pair of fullbacks.

Next: Sunderland building Everton B team

The primary job of a manager is to provide a lineup to get his best players on the field.  With the three man midfield of Gueye, Davies, and Schneiderlin, Everton would be doing just that.