Everton slumped to a first home defeat under Sean Dyche yesterday as Aston Villa secured a 2-0 win to end the new manager’s Goodison Park honeymoon.
Although they lost on Saturday, the Blues’ could and should have won the match. They had enough chances to score at least one or possibly two goals.
The fact Everton didn’t, is of course the starkly obvious problem that Dyche has to somehow solve.
Without his one genuine Premier League quality centre-forward in Dominic Calvert-Lewin, goals are proving extremely hard to come by.
The manager once again went with Neal Maupay operating on his own up front as he had against Leeds last weekend.
Unfortunately, unlike the previous two home games when a defender came to the rescue of the Toffees’ anemic attack, that didn’t happen yesterday.
I think it was always asking a lot to expect the same formula to work for the third straight week and Dyche got his tactics wrong yesterday by not providing Maupay with any direct support.
Understandably perhaps, he stuck to his 4-5-1, which had worked so well at home previously. However, it didn’t come off yesterday and I think that he perhaps should have started with Ellis Simms maybe alongside Maupay.
Doing so would have also meant disrupting his midfield three, something the manager was obviously reluctant to try as it would potentially have weakened the grip on the midfield and lessened the protection for his back four.
That defence though had several moments of madness which cost Everton the two goals they conceded. There is a strong case for also reviewing who starts there when the Blues’ face Arsenal at the Emirates.
But, going back to the attack, I have previously written about how Dyche might try and generate some forward threat by thinking creatively and re-shuffling his team.
It would be a bit left-field to try something like moving one of the midfielders forward to provide the height and physical presence that is lacking without DCL, but then desperate times require desperate measures.
Anyway, whatever he is thinking of doing, it’s clear that neither Maupay or Simms can play on their own and both need support alongside them, if they are to start.
Whether that support is the other striker, someone like Demarai Gray or possibly a midfielder playing further forward, Dyche may need to consider making significant tactical adjustments to find the goals without which I don’t believe Everton can survive.