Ancelotti should stick with Swede for Everton

Everton's Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen looks on during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Everton at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on November 1, 2020. (Photo by Michael Regan / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Everton's Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen looks on during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Everton at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on November 1, 2020. (Photo by Michael Regan / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /
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One of the many selection decisions that Carlo Ancelotti has to make before Everton take on Manchester United tomorrow, is who to pick in goal.

The Everton boss made a surprise decision to select on-loan keeper Robin Olsen instead of Jordan Pickford for the Toffees last match away at Newcastle United.

Despite conceding two goals, neither of which were his fault and the Blues losing 2-1 in that match, Olsen had a fine, error-free game and impressed observers with his calmness and decisiveness under pressure.

The Swedish stopper also pulled off several excellent saves that kept the score down, in particular he made a crucial save just after Newcastle had taken a one nil lead. Given how poor the Toffees were, had it gone in it would have surely killed off the match as a contest much earlier.

On the basis of that performance, I think he should get the nod again tomorrow against United, although Ancelotti has said Pickford will be back between the sticks on Saturday.

Pickford’s form has been a major issue for such a long time now that it seems almost axiomatic that whenever he plays, he will combine some fine saves with erratic decision-making and potentially decisive errors.

The recent Merseyside derby was the perfect microcosm of this combination. After making a desperate and  highly reckless challenge on Virgi Van Dijk, he later made a string of excellent reflex saves as Everton battled to stay in the game.

Olsen seems to have the shot-stopping ability of Pickford but with a greater degree of consistently and reliability. That is exactly the right combination for a keeper to help the Blues to sustain their good start to the season and it’s critical to a successful side long-term.

Another factor that should make Ancelotti think again about putting Pickford back in, is Olsen’s willingness come out and take control in his area, something that the England keeper rarely does.

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One of the main problems that the Toffees have defensively, is the lack of leadership and dominance at the back. Often there seems to be no one able and willing to take control and direct the other players more effectively.

That individual doesn’t have to be the keeper, but often a goalkeeper is ideal to do that as he is obviously looking at everything in front of him.

Pickford doesn’t seem to be a very vocal or a natural leader organising the defenders in front of him and coming for and claiming balls from set-pieces.

At any rate, Olsen seems much more willing to do that and so might help to provide more consistency and certainly for the defenders in front of him.

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Of course, Olsen has only played one match for Everton and there’s no guarantee that he will be able to replicate this form going forward. However, I do he is a  better all-round bet and a less erratic keeper than Pickford in goal and deserves another chance tomorrow.