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Everton line-ups as Allan decision made and Alex Iwobi role changes for Watford

By Joe Thomas & Chris Beesley

'Changes tempting but Everton cannot be complacent'

Joe Thomas: It would be tempting to change things. A win would be so vital and with Watford already relegated and facing an injury crisis I can see the argument for being more aggressive - especially with an early goal likely to really hit them psychologically.

I don’t buy into the argument that, suddenly released from a relegation battle, this side will dramatically improve - particularly in the wake of Ben Foster’s comments about some of his team-mates’ mentality at the weekend. But I also don’t think Everton can get complacent. The prize for a win is so valuable that this is a time to maintain consistency, stick to this side’s strengths and have faith in the Blues’ ability to extend the worst losing home run in the Premier League.

Michael Keane comes in for the injured Yerry Mina, but otherwise I am sticking to the same line-up as Leicester City, hoping Fabian Delph can continue to provide composure in the middle for long enough for Everton to take control of the game.

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I would put Alex Iwobi in the centre, though. I don’t think he’ll be required to do so much defensive work as against Leicester and Chelsea and he could provide a link between midfield and attack that has been missing in both of those games, setting free Demarai Gray, Richarlison and Anthony Gordon.

Watford are down because they’ve been unable to do the simple things well. If Everton are sensible, they should be able to exploit the Hornets' own vulnerabilities without too much risk.

My team (4-3-3): Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Mykolenko; Delph, Iwobi, Doucoure; Gordon, Gray, Richarlison.

'Allan back as Iwobi moves forward'

Chris Beesley: Following back-to-back victories, I don't think Frank Lampard should tinker with his Everton line-up too much at Watford tonight but after unchanged teams against Chelsea and Leicester City, there will be at least one change at Vicarage Road.

Yerry Mina of course misses out through injury after hobbling off at the King Power Stadium and like he did coming off the bench in the East Midlands, Michael Keane takes his place.

While Keane slots in like for like in the heart of defence, I would adopt a change in formation to play a more expansive style against the already-relegated Hornets so that means returning to a flat back four after deploying a five-man defence of late.

This means Alex Iwobi moves forward into midfield and given that the games are now coming thick and fast in the last fortnight of the season, I'd give Fabian Delph a midweek breather and bring Allan back in.

My team (4-3-3): Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Mykolenko; Allan, Doucoure, Iwobi; Gordon, Gray, Richarlison.

'Bar from the enforced change, keep it as it is'

Paul Wheelock: Truth be told, few of us could have seen the back-to-back wins against Chelsea and Leicester City coming, even though performances have been much improved since that horrible FA Cup exit at Crystal Palace. But backed by a support that has been truly awe-inspiring, both home and away, the Blues have now given themselves every chance of beating relegation. In fact, whisper it quietly, win tonight, and safety could be secured by Sunday. But like Frank Lampard has stressed, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The focus has to be on beating a Watford side who have lost their last 11 at home. Given that dreadful run of form, and given the Hornets have serious injury problems, you would expect Lampard to be more expansive than he was in the wins over Chelsea and Leicester. But even if that is the case, there is no need to change the formation that has served the Blues so well in the past two matches.

So that means Alex Iwobi and Vitalli Mykolenko operating as wing-backs with Seamus Coleman, Mason Holgate and Michael Keane - in for the injured Yerry Mina - as the centre-backs. A 3-5-2 / 5-3-2 formation may seem a negative way to set up against newly relegated opponents, but it can easily become a 3-4-3, with Fabian Delph and Abdoulaye Doucoure continuing their partnership in the centre of the park, and Demarai Gray, Anthony Gordon and birthday boy Richarlison given licence to roam and raid up front.

But whatever personnel and line-up Lampard goes with, if Everton fight the way they have been, their quality should shine through this evening.

My team (3-4-3): Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane; Iwobi, Doucoure, Delph, Mykolenko; Gordon, Richarlison, Gray.

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Dive Deeper:
Everton make one change for Watford but formation remains unclear
Everton starting line-up and full team news for Watford Premier League clash
Frank Lampard faces Dominic Calvert-Lewin conundrum as Everton wait on injuries
Everton face Brentford in the Premier League this weekend and Frank Lampard could make some changes to his line-up
Everton extend anxiety at Watford but Frank Lampard truth cannot be denied
Everton match verdict from Joe Thomas after a frustrating 0-0 stalemate against Watford at Vicarage Road
Everton edge a point closer to safety after Watford end losing home run
In a game low on chances, Ben Foster’s late save from Vitalii Mykolenko ensured Watford drew 0-0 with Everton
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Everton manager Frank Lampard outlines Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey injury timescales
Everton manager Frank Lampard has been speaking on the fitness of his players including the injury timescales of Yerry Mina…
Demarai Gray sends Everton 'complacency' warning after Jordan Pickford admission
Demarai Gray has been speaking ahead of Everton's Premier League clash against Watford
Get all your news in one place