Doucoure could start against Villa as Everton boss faces other selection decisions

Toffees manager Sean Dyche has a few selection decisions to make as his side prepare to take on Aston Villa this afternoon.
Burnley FC v Everton FC - Premier League
Burnley FC v Everton FC - Premier League / Stewart Kendall/Allstar/GettyImages

The most significant news today is that it is very likely that Abdoulaye Doucoure will be available for selection after his recovery from the hamstring injury that has sidelined him recently.

Doucoure's absence has coincided with a run of five games without a win for Everton that made for a sour end to 2023. It is critical for the team to start picking up points again soon.

Dyche has certainly missed his experienced midfielder who is also the team's leading scorer this season with six goals to his name.

After looking like he might be on the way out of Goodison Park after being snubbed by Frank Lampard, Dyche's arrival revived his Toffees career.

The Mali international plays a key role in his current manager's tactics and formation operating as an advanced attacking midfielder or number ten deep lying forward.

It is a system that has worked particularly well away from home where Doucoure has scored most of his goals both in this campaign and last season under Dyche.

So, assuming Doucoure does return, that at least will give Dyche some more hope his side can spring an upset today against a team flying high and enjoying an excellent season.

The other major injury issue was Dwight McNeil's and although he has apparently made a remakably quick recovery, he will not be ready to play today.

That of course gives Arnaut Danjuma a great chance to stake a claim to a regular place in Everton's team today.

Danjuma has been frustrated by his lack of opportunities under Dyche and this led to fevered stories that he was looking for a way out of the club this month.

Dyche has denied this will happen and so hopefully Danjuma can produce his best later today and give Dyche some food for thought when McNeil returns.

The other major selection issue is who plays at right-back. My own preference is for Nathan Patterson to play there in the long run, but i think the manager will go with his club captain Seamus Coleman.