Everton travel to league leaders with goalscoring crisis to resolve

Everton (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images) /

Sean Dyche faces Arsenal again on Wednesday night just a few weeks after his reign as Everton manager began with a 1-0 win over the Premier League leaders.

That victory was earned at a bouncing Goodison Park as the Blues’ made the best possible start to the latest new era under Dyche.

Everton have since then lost 2-0 at Liverpool, beat Leeds United by the same scoreline as Arsenal and then last Saturday fell to another two goal defeat by Aston Villa, to end Dyche’s 100% record at home.

On Wednesday, they face an Arsenal team that has recovered from a mini-slump that included the loss on Merseyside, and have now won their last two games to restore lead at the summit of the Premier League table.

This would be a demanding fixture for any team travelling to the Emirates Stadium. For a Toffees’ side that simply cannot score goals and has a truly terrible away record against these opponents, it is an almost certain write-off.

However, if their home form can’t be relied upon, the problem Everton have is they are going to start needing points from matches on their travels, something that has been a problem for as long as most of us can remember.

And of course, the Blues’ have a crisis in attack with a chronic lack of goals and options undermining any other improvements or good work being done.

So, as Dyche contemplates what side he is going to pick to face a team with the second best defensive and goalscoring record in the Premier League, he has to find a way to blunt their attack and offer some sort of threat too.

It is a daunting task, especially as once again he has to do without Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

The only real weakness Arsenal have is their ability to defend set-pieces and this was of course how Everton scored their winner at Goodison.

The Blues’ worked very hard that day and played with tremendous energy closing the visitors down, stopping them playing and unsettling them superbly well.

But, I very much doubt the match is going to pan out that way on Wednesday night. And, although the lack of goal threat is the most serious problem Dyche is wrestling with, the Toffees’ defence is also a cause for concern.

Conor Coady’s form in particular has been an increasing issue over the last few months and was highlighted again by his error on Saturday.

And, neither he or James Tarkowski have much pace, something that could well be seriously exposed by Arsenal’s fleet-footed young attack.

Perhaps, the manager should consider bringing in Yerry Mina and/or Ben Godfrey try and nulify that pace and movement.

Dyche is also still without his young Scottish full-back Nathan Patterson, who as well as offering more width and creativity going forward, also proved himself earlier in the season when up against quick and tricky wingers.

Can Everton possibly get something from this game? Given their abysmal away form and record at these opponents, I doubt it and I think it will be a comprehensive defeat in North London on Wednesday.

Maybe Dyche can surprise us and come up with a tactical plan to stifle the home team and get something from the game. But, I’m not holding out much hope.

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