Yesterday at Fulham Everton ultimately came away with a goalless draw, which again showcased the lack of attacking flair in the team and how much it is undermining the team’s ability get points.
Everton will have to wait for a few months yet before the January transfer window opens and they can look to add more attacking talent to the squad.
I very much hope this is what happens, but in the meantime what can manager Frank Lampard do to improve the attack before then?
I’ve previously written that one option is to consider a change in formation to something like a 4-4-2 now that Dominic Cavert-Lewin is fit again, utilising the attacking outlet of Nathan Patterson now returned from injury as well as giving Dwight McNeil more of a role in the side.
Patterson came on at Craven Cottage and while Seamus Coleman had done a good job filling in for him in the last few games, the young Scot will offer a great deal more in attack than the veteran Irishman can do these days.
As for McNeil, while he hasn’t made a huge impact since signing in the summer, he has scored a few goals and his strengths include his solid defensive work and especially the ability to put in good quality balls from wide areas, which is what Calvert-Lewin usually thrives on.
In addition, neither of the other two wide attackers Demarai Gray or Anthony Gordon have impressed much recently and Gordon in particular had another really poor game yesterday.
To be honest I would have been very tempted to sell him if Chelsea had genuinly put on the table the sort of money being quoted in the summer.
I really hoped he would have kicked on this season but instead the former youth team product seems to be suffering that second season syndrome, which affects so many young players.
Anyway, with both those players struggling perhaps it’s time for a change to be made in the starting wide players.
The other change this formation would bring is playing Neal Maupay from the start alongside Calvert-Lewin.
The Frenchman hasn’t featured much in the last few games for Everton being largely restricted to substitute apperances, including the slightly farcical moment he was coming on at Newcastle but put on the wrong colour socks!
Maupay doesn’t seem to suit being a substitute. I think he would be better starting matches rather than coming on and having to adjust to the game or play in a wide role,which I don’t think is his best position. He would be more effective playing in a central striking position.
The other change would be putting Alex Iwobi wider on the right in front of Patterson as he’s been the Blues’ most creative player this season with five assists and has done well in that position in the past.
In practice he could always slot back into the middle to help out defensively too making it a flexible formation rather than a rigid 4-4-2.
So, the team I would consider starting with in the next game against Leicester City could be: Pickford, Coady, Tarkowski, Patterson, Mykolenko, Gueye, Onana, Iwobi, McNeil, Maupay, Calvert-Lewin.
I’m not at all certain this change would make a massive difference to the attacking threat offered by the side, I think the reality is that the only way to really improve the goal threat on offer is to bring in fresh talent in January.
But, perhaps it would help in the short term. In truth there’s not a lot of other options available to Lampard before then so he needs to be really creative in his thinking to try and find a way to ensure his team can score more goals.