Everton travel to Burnley this weekend in a must-win game. Following three consecutive defeats, the pressure continues to build on Marco Silva, with a growing number of fans now losing belief in the manager. Make sure to check out the Toffee TV YouTube channel for more Everton news: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B_FpC2N_k8

Last weekend saw Everton put in an improved display during a 3-1 defeat against Manchester City. Despite the pleasing performance, it was evident that Everton benefitted from the openness of the game, and were able to create more because of the opponent’s leaving space available during their attacks.

This campaign so far has highlighted Everton’s lack of creativity and ability to break sides down, particularly against more defensive sides, such as Sheffield United. Burnley are masters of the ‘low-block’ setup, and their style of play could be all wrong for the current Everton side.

Burnley set up with a compact 4-4-2 formation, full of big, physical players, and are difficult to break down. The strike partnership of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes both offer a physical presence and goals in abundance.

If Everton are again unable to create centrally, and revert to simply crossing in to the box, Burnley centre-backs Ben Mee and James Tarkowski will find it easy to defend aerial balls. We need to see pace, movement, and creativity in Everton’s midfield if they are going to create anything during this game.

In terms of conceding goals, Burnley have let in nine this Premier League season, including one penalty and one own goal. Two of the goals came from counter attacks, however it’s likely that Everton will not have the opportunity to counter attack much, because of dominating possession. Burnley have conceded just four goals in open-play in the league so far this season (the joint second least in the league), and so Everton need to be even better creatively in this game.

Although the Burnley counter-attack may be less of a worry for Everton, due to the lack of pace in Burnley’s frontline, defending set-pieces will be a concern. Everton have struggled to defend set-pieces this season, conceding four (the joint most in the league so far). Burnley’s physicality could be problematic in this area.

As well as their physical presence, Burnley have been effective in open-play, scoring nine goals in open play in the league so far (the fourth most in the league).

Despite current form and both sides’ style of play pointing to a Burnley win this weekend, this fixture last season saw Everton earn a convincing 5-1 victory. Evertonians will be hoping for a similar result on Saturday.

Suggested Line-up:

Everton need to start with mobile midfield players who can penetrate the Burnley low-block with movement and pace. This has been absent so far this season, but will needed more than ever against a defensively solid and compact Burnley side. Hopefully Gomes will return from injury, and if not, Davies should start alongside Delph and Iwobi in a central-midfield three. Despite Coleman’s improved performance at the weekend, Sidibe would still offer more creativity.

Score Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Everton

Based on previous results and performances, this could end up being the final straw for many Everton fans and their opinion on Marco Silva. Burnley could be far too compact for an Everton side, lacking in creativity, to break down, and a loss seems probable for this struggling Everton team. However I’m being positive, and predicting a draw. This is a huge game for Silva, and is definitely a must-win.

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BILLY MINSHALL

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