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Everton Further Depleted by Baines Injury

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 30: Leighton Baines of Everton looks on during the pre season friendly between Birmingham City and Everton at St Andrews on July 30, 2011 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 30: Leighton Baines of Everton looks on during the pre season friendly between Birmingham City and Everton at St Andrews on July 30, 2011 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
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Everton were only able to register a first-team squad of 18 (out of a possible 25) players. Their financial crisis has seen them sell their best midfielder, Mikel Arteta; their starting striker, Jermaine Beckford; and sell or loan bit-part (but experienced Premier League campaigners) Yakubu and Yobo.  Now comes the news that Leighton Baines is out of the England squad with a hamstring injury and Victor Anichebe (who would stand to inherit Beckford's place) doubtful with a groin injury.

This could put immediate pressure on new arrivals Royston Drenthe at left back (rather than his expected left midfield), and Denis Stracqualarsi at striker.  As I mentioned below, Aston Villa @ Everton is probably a stay-away fantasy match. However, it might be worth an investment in the respective club's defences as a drab stalemate seems a likely option.