DCL injury doubt for Sean Dyche’s second Everton game
Everton were deserved winners on Saturday lunchtime against Arsenal in Sean Dyche’s first match as manager, but one of their key performers is an injury doubt again.
Just as we were beginning to think that there were chinks of light in the all-consuming gloom that has surrounded Everton for so long, news emerges that Dominic Calvert-Lewin could miss next Monday’s derby at Anfield.
Calvert-Lewin’s almost constant injuries have been a very tiresome part of the multiple problems that have plagued the Blues’ for the past few seasons.
It is a little baffling why he has developed into such a brittle footballer but it’s becoming a major headache that like clockwork happens again and again.
It is an open question as to how many potential points the Toffees’ have lost over the last two campaigns in particular, because they haven’t had the ex-England centre-forward up front for so much of that time.
His long absences through injury have almost certainly contributed significantly to the dismisal of the last two managers at the club, Rafa Benitez and Frank Lampard.
Although many Evertonians won’t obviously regret Benitez’s sacking the truth is he was winning games before Calvert-Lewin got hurt.
And, his successor Lampard had many supporters on his side and could surely have delivered better results with Calvert-Lewin in his teams.
That was perhaps especially true early on in the season when he was doing a mix and match with his other forwards to very limited success and his Toffees’ team was chronically goal-shy.
It was Calvert-Lewin’s recent return to the team from his pre-season injury that helped Lampard’s Blues’ side emphatically beat Crystal Palace 3-0 at Goodison Park back in October.
That result seemed to herald the latest new-look Everton and represented yet another possible turning point after so much struggle and inconsistency.
As it turned out, once again that wasn’t the case as it was the last game the Toffees’ won under Lampard and indeed at all, before Saturday’s victory over Arsenal.
While Calvert-Lewin is not an out-and-out goalscorer and still misses too many good chances, nevertheless his pace, power, willingness to run the channels effectively and ability in the air make him a solid focal point and a genuine threat to opposition defences.
At his best he is a real handful for any defence, as he showed on Saturday. If Everton could perhaps find a way to pair him with a natural goalscorer, they might at last have a very good attack.
At any rate the Sheffield-born striker’s strengths certainly match Dyche’s footballing approach very well.
The new manager took a chance playing him from the start against Arsenal but it proved a sound decision getting his reign off to the best possible start.
So, this news that he is once again a major doubt due to yet more fitness problems is potentially a real blow and will mean Dyche’s plans are significantly compromised after just one game.
It is just so predictably like Everton that after a bright fresh start, once again the old problems re-surface to potentially undermine any progress made.
With Calvert-Lewin so injury-prone, it is ridiculous that the Blues’ still have to rely on such a physically frail player without any suitable replacement.
And of course, we all know where the ultimate blame for this situation lies.