Everton supporters have been drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side get thumped 5-1 by Arsenal in the Premier League last time out, thus suffering an 11th league defeat of the campaign.
Sam Allardyce’s men went into their clash with the North London giants off the back of beating Leicester City 2-1 in their preceding outing, which was their first league success of 2018. Yet the Toffees were unable to back that up on Saturday as a hat-trick from Aaron Ramsey as well as strikes from Laurent Koscielny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inflicted a heavy defeat on the Merseyside outfit, who subsequently slipped to just seven points clear of the division’s relegation zone.
Thus, there have been many frustrated and angry Evertonians in the Tavern in the last few days, several of whom have already forgotten last weekend’s horror show at the Emirates Stadium, and are instead fully focused on their side’s crucial home clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday.
And many of our resident Toffees fans have been discussing who Allardyce should look to start against Roy Hodgson’s side this weekend, with several believing that young defender Mason Holgate should return to the starting eleven.
The 21-year-old was left on the bench at Arsenal last weekend as Allardyce resorted to a back three of Michael Keane, Ashley Williams, and new signing Eliaquim Mangala – a backline that produced a woeful display to suggest that things will surely change for the visit of Palace on Saturday.
And Holgate has certainly proven his worth at centre-back this term, starting all five of Allardyce’s opening five Premier League matches, in which time the Toffees won four, drew the other and kept three clean sheets to suggest that the England Under-21 international was doing something right.
His exclusion from the last two starting elevens against Leicester City and Arsenal has baffled some of our resident Evertonians, as Holgate has arguably been the club’s most consistent centre-back this season, even if he has himself committed a few defensive errors.
A combination of the 21-year-old and loanee Mangala could reap the rewards for Allardyce’s men on Saturday, as the latter could go to battle with Palace frontman Christian Benteke in the aerial duels, which would allow Holgate to use his pace and defensive awareness to read the second balls and nullify the Belgium international’s strengths.
Ultimately, things simply have to change at the back following last week’s debacle at the Emirates Stadium. Yes, Arsenal were very good going forward, but Everton hardly covered themselves in glory defensively, especially during the first half.
And given Holgate’s consistent performances at the heart of their backline in the early stages of Allardyce’s tenure, the £6.3 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) should be reinstated to the starting eleven for the visit of Palace on Saturday.
Everton fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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