Marco Silva’s Goodison Park bow sees the Toffees welcome La Liga giants Valencia in the final game of an uninspiring pre-season.
It all kicked off with a 22-0 rout of Austrian part-timers ATV Irdning and that is about as good as it got in terms of results. A 1-1 draw with Bury followed, then a shootout loss at the hands of LOSC Lille and a 1-0 loss to Porto the next day in the Algarve Cup.
Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers downed the Blues 3-0 at Ewood Park, then in Everton’s penultimate match, against Stade Rennes, the French side ran out 4-1 winners.
Despite a poor set of results, it is more about Silva analysing his squad and helping the players gain much needed match sharpness before the big kick-off on August 11.
Valencia could prove to be Silva’s toughest test so far, Los Che finished fourth in the top division of Spanish football last term, securing Champions League football for the upcoming season.
They warmed up for Goodison with a 1-1 mid week draw with Leicester.
The Spaniards have a number of stars in their squad, boasting the likes of Spanish international forward Rodrigo, midfield powerhouse Geoffrey Kondogbia, Argentinian defender Ezequiel Garay as well as ex Arsenal duo Gabriel Paulista and Francis Coquelin.
Simone Zaza flopped at West Ham during a six-month loan spell in the Premier League, but the Italian has come into his own since he made the move to Spain, netting 19 goals in his 18-months at the club. Zaza could prove a handful for Everton’s lacklustre centre halves if he is selected on Saturday afternoon.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Theo Walcott and Yannick Bolasie are yet to feature under Silva and it is still unclear whether the trio will play before the start of the season. Ademola Lookman has been missing since his first half hat-trick against Irdning and with his future still up in the air he is also doubtful.
Jordan Pickford wasn’t scheduled to return to Everton until Monday but the ‘keeper has instead elected to cut short his holiday and return on Friday hoping to get some game time against Valencia.
It seems Silva has exiled Nikola Vlasic and Cuco Martina, while Kevin Mirallas appears to be heading for Fiorentina so don’t expect any of them to get a runout at the weekend. Ashley Williams, Stoke bound, may have played his last game for the club.