For the first time since October Everton scored the first goal in a Premier League match since they did against Watford at Goodison Park. The issue was this time they conceded the equaliser to Newcastle only a minute later. Against Watford, they also lost 5-2 in the end and suffered another big defeat to what is now a definite relegation rival and subsequent relegation battle ahead.
In fact, Everton have lost to all the teams below them except Burnley so far, they still have them to play away. Defeats to Watford, Newcastle and Norwich have certainly meant that Everton are not too good to go down.
How can Frank Lampard tactically try to ensure that Everton does not suffer relegation for the first time since the early 1950s?
After conceding 10 goals in those three defeats to relegation rivals you cannot trust the defence at all, this means Lampard must go gung-ho in his approach to try to get points and quickly.
If results don’t go Lampard’s way, Everton could be involved in a relegation scrap
Everton’s fixture list, bar Manchester City later this month, is relatively good until they get to April when fixtures get really tough. Upcoming games against Leeds and Southampton is where Lampard must test the water to see how he can change Everton’s results.
There has not been many draws this season either, Everton have won games late and often if losing away don’t get back in the game. This has been the case certainly since November anyway. Late goals have rescued draws at Manchester United and Chelsea which makes it even more bewildering to Evertonians how they’ve collapsed conceding goals in quick succession to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Watford and Norwich.
These teams Everton should be competing with and with respect be beating with the first eleven available. One blatant issue with all these games is the defence. Therefore Lampard must go with a back four in these two games coming up.
His hand might be forced anyway as injuries over the last week to Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina mean defensive resources are stretched. We await also to see if Vitaliy Mykolenko will be available after a Covid test issue.
Lampard has to find a way to get a midfield three into his formation, Allan and Andre Gomes, not for the first time this season, were overrun in midfield by Newcastle on Tuesday night. Donny van de Beek will probably be that third midfielder.
On top of that, he has to operate three upfront and get Dominic Calvert-Lewin back in the side. No doubt the first half compulsory substitutions for the injuries to Demarai Gray and Mina meant Lampard could not utilise his bench as he would have wanted to on Tuesday night.
If Gray is ruled out then surely getting Richarlison and Anthony Gordon next to Calvert-Lewin will be the option to go with. Leeds especially leave gaps between the lines and full back positions and having keen runners will mean stretching this while hoping they provide decent service for Calvert-Lewin. This also worked well in a game the Toffees should have won at Elland Road back in the second game of the season.
Dele Alli will miss out with this side and his performance on Tuesday hardly would have given Lampard any confidence that he will get back to his best anytime soon. Having said that it was not the best of circumstances to come in and in the second half Everton lost their shape and the passing was woeful.
Everton have not kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since beating Norwich at home in September, and that is only the second after the only away win at Brighton in the third game of the season.
Therefore Lampard must go with an out-and-out attack to outscore the opposition, clearly, we will concede goals especially with the injuries disrupting the starting lineup so much. As we’ve seen with Leeds and Southampton this week where they both scored three goals each, we will need as much firepower as possible out on the pitch to get any positive results in the coming weeks.
Will Frank Lampard’s Everton secure wins against Leeds United?