Everton could ease McNeil blow by unleashing “prolific” gem in new role

Everton head into their Premier League clash against Aston Villa on the back of a four-game winless streak and Sean Dyche will be under pressure to secure a result against the surprise team of this season.

Indeed, the Toffees have already defeated the Midlands outfit this term, prevailing in an EFL Cup clash earlier this season, yet that won’t count for much at Goodison Park today.


Unai Emery’s men are flying at the moment, but a positive performance by Everton could secure them a crucial three points in the league.

Everton team news vs Aston Villa

Everton could be missing several first-team players for the clash against Villa this afternoon, with the likes of Dwight McNeil, Ashley Young and Abdoulaye Doucoure all absent from training pictures that were taken in midweek.

Young has missed the previous five matches due to suffering a muscle injury, but it will be the absence of McNeil which could be the biggest blow for Dyche.


The winger suffered an ankle injury against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup clash last week, eventually being stretchered off, and it looks as though he won’t play any part against Villa.

With Arnaut Danjuma keen on joining Lyon this month and ending his loan spell at Goodison Park, Dyche may face a selection headache on the wing.


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Could he perhaps use one of his centre-forwards out wide in order to potentially plug the void that McNeil leaves due to his injury? If so, Beto may be an option for the former Burnley boss.

Beto’s season in numbers

The 25-year-old arrived at Everton last summer from Udinese for a transfer fee in the region of £26m following a decent spell in Serie A.

He netted 21 league goals for the Italian side in the previous two seasons and was dubbed “prolific” by talent scout Jacek Kulig during his spell in Italy.

He has yet to hit the ground running – goal-wise at least – at Everton, however, finding the back of the net just three times across 20 matches for the club, although he has started only five times all season.


Against Palace, Beto came on as a substitute for Danjuma and showed some flashes of ability.

During his ten-minute cameo, the forward took ten touches, made one key pass, and created one big chance, and he looked keen to cause some damage to the Palace backline.

Beto also succeeded with his only cross, won 100% of his ground duels and made one tackle, showing that he is also strong in the tackle and never shies away from a one-on-one battle with an opposition defender.

Dominic Calvert Lewin will be available as his red card against Palace was overturned, but Dyche should be utilising the talents of Beto out wide in place of the injured McNeil.

Beto’s last outing vs Crystal Palace


Minutes played


Big chances created


Key passes


Ground duels won




Via Sofascore

It may not be his favoured position, but it will give him some much-needed game time and the chance to impress from the very first whistle, ahead of the aforementioned Danjuma, who has desperately underwhelmed this season with just two goals and no assists to his name in all competitions.

Villa will be tough to break down, yet with Beto starting, he could take advantage of a rare appearance in the starting XI and showcase his true talents.

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