We play host to Everton at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday, our first action on home soil since that game against Manchester United a fortnight ago.

Our visitors, under Frank Lampard, got off the mark last time out with a point at home to Nottingham Forest following a pair of defeats to open the season.

The opposition


It was a tough 21/22 campaign for Everton and early indications are that this season may not be much easier. 

The Toffees were involved in the relegation scrap right down to the final week last term and have only one point to show from their opening three games this time round. Following defeats to Chelsea and Aston Villa, Frank Lampard’s side needed an 88th-minute Demarai Gray goal to take a point off Nottingham Forest last weekend. 

Injuries and transfer speculation have provided an unwelcome distraction for Frank Lampard in the early weeks of the season. Defensive pair Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina both went down with serious issues in Everton’s season opener, leading to a loan move for Wolves’ Conor Coady. He has come in alongside another new arrival, former Bee James Tarkowski, at centre-back. 

Richarlison’s big-money move to Tottenham Hotspur helped to allay some FFP fears, and allowed the signings of Dwight McNeill and Amadou Onana, but further departures, most likely that of young-winger Anthony Gordon, may be required for before next Wednesday’s transfer deadline. 

Everton have only scored two league goals this campaign but it’s not for a lack of trying. Only Manchester City, Newcastle United and Tottenham have registered more shots on target than the Toffees so far. 

The gameplan

Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds said in Hot off the Press: “I expect Lampard will stick with his 3-4-3 formation, which ought to allow Jordan Pickford an additional option at restarts. It sounds a very specific talking point, but it proved crucial in that 4-0 thrashing for United so how well Everton beat the press will have a significant bearing on the result”

Team news

Kristoffer Ajer played an hour of a Brentford B game on Friday as he steps up his comeback from a hamstring injury. Sergi Canós remains a couple of weeks away while Ethan Pinnock (knee) is also out. Mikkel Damsgaard is not ready to start but Mads Roerslev and Keane Lewis-Potter have both overcome issues following our midweek win over Colchester United. 

For Everton, Tom Davies is likely to shake off a groin issue to feature but Dominic Calvert-Lewin (knee), Ben Godfrey (fibula), Abdoulaye Doucoure (hamstring), Andre Gomes, Yerry Mina (both ankle) and Andros Townsend (ACL) all remain out. There’ll also be no Dele Alli after he departed on loan to Besiktas on Thursday.

The manager


Frank Lampard was synonymous with Chelsea as a player and now, in management, he’s trying to make his mark with another team in blue.

Lampard, who began his playing career with West Ham United, retired as Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer, 147 of which came in the Premier League. He won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League with Chelsea, while he was named the Premier League Player of the Season in 2004/05.

He earned 106 England caps, scoring 29 goals, before finishing his career in England with Manchester City and then, finally, New York City. 

His first managerial position came with Derby County, whom he led to the Play-Off final in his only season with the club, before he returned to Stamford Bridge, replacing Maurizio Sarri in July 2019. 

Against the backdrop of a transfer embargo, Lampard guided the Blues to a fourth-placed finish and the FA Cup final, earning a nomination for the 2019/20 Barclays Manager of the Season award.

Despite a solid start to the 2020/21 campaign, Chelsea's form dipped during the festive period and Lampard's tenure ended on 25 January 2021 with the club in ninth position. After a year away from management, Lampard succeeded Rafa Benitez at Goodison Park, successfully leading Everton to safety with a game to spare. 

Opposition view

Everton Manager Frank Lampard said of the Bees: “They are just a good team. They are well coached and well drilled. It is a fantastic stadium; it suits the Club with a fantastic atmosphere. They have a style of play they’ve been working on for years and that’s why you get this stability in the Club. It’s a real tough match for us. They’ve shown in their opening games what they are all about.”

Match officials

John Brooks

Referee: John Brooks 

Assistants: Gary Beswick and Adam Nunn 

Fourth official: David Webb

VAR: Lee Mason 

Assistant VAR: Natalie Aspinall

Tomorrow's game will be John Brooks' 11th in charge of the Bees, with us only tasting defeat in one of the previous ten of those fixtures.

The Leicestershire and Rutland official started in the Leicestershire local leagues in the mid-2000s before moving up the ranks. He ran the line at Wembley for the 2014 Sky Bet Championship Play-Off final, the same year he began refereeing in the National League. Two years later, in August 2016, Brooks took charge of his first EFL games.

Brooks was promoted to the Select Group One of Premier League referees in the summer of 2021, taking charge of his first Premier League match between Wolves and Burnley last December.

Everton 22/23

27 fouls – 14th in Premier League

7 yellow cards – 6th in Premier League

0 red cards – joint-fewest in Premier League