Sean Dyche must return to past Everton tactics before it’s too late

Everton (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) /

Everton slumped to a terrible 3-1 defeat at Goodison Park against Fulham last weekend, leaving their relegation fight in serious trouble.

One, if not the most important factor in that loss, was the team selection and tactics that manager Sean Dyche decided on before the match.

On Saturday, the Everton boss again went with a 4-4-2 formation for the second straight game and started Neal Maupay alongside Demarai Gray up front.

It was a strange decision and it manifestly didn’t work with Maupay providing nothing in support of an equally annoymous Gray.

To be fair to the former Brighton forward, he wasn’t well served by the long-ball approach adopted by the team with the ball punted long to players not equipped to make anything of that tactic.

If Dyche had started with Ellis Simms, then this could have been a bit more productive a way to play, given his physical qualities.

At the very least, Simms should have come on before the game was effectively lost after Fulham scored their second goal.

However, the real problem was that Dyche has gone away from the template and platform that had generally worked so well for the time he has been in charge, before the trip to Manchester United two weeks ago.

To give the manager some slack, he has been unlucky with the Abdoulaye Doucoure red card against Spurs’ and then the late absence of Amadou Onana before the Fulham game, sabotaging his five-man midfield, as well as Seamus Coleman’s injury.

That has dealt a big blow to his previous tactics. Doucoure and Onana had been instramental alongside Idrissa Gueye in making that approach work. While Coleman has rolled back the years and been at his inspirational best recently.

Having said that, I thought Dyche could and should have still stuck with his previous formation playing James Garner and Tom Davies, or Alex Iwobi, in support of Gueye in the middle.

The team would almost certainly not have been as effective without those two absentees, but it would have provided more solidity and better protection for a defence that again let Blues’ supporters down badly.

For the last few weeks Dyche has continued to pick Michael Keane alongside James Tarkowski in a re-uniting of the two centre-backs he had for much of his time at Burnley.

As Evertonians know only too way Keane has been plagued by errors and individual mistakes for several seasons and his head seems to go whenever something goes wrong and he cannot recover.

In addition, the full-backs each had terrible games against Fulham. Ben Godfrey was moved from left-back to right-back as I suspected, with Vitalii Mykolenko coming into the team again.

Both failed to perform well and were exposed badly on Saturday. I wanted to see Nathan Patterson start at right-back in Coleman’s absence and I think he must get the nod for the next game.

Perhaps it’s time to look again at the other defensive selections too. For example, Yerry Mina or Conor Coady should be considered for one of the centre-back positions.

It was a massive mistake to tinker when and how he did and after that dreadful performance and defeat, it may have serious repercussions for the outcome of Everton’s campaign.

I think Dyche must return to his tried and tested tactics and formation to give Everton a chance to gain enough points to avoid the drop.

At least he only has one more match before Doucoure is available again after his suspension.

The games are running out fast though. There are just seven matches left for the Blues’ to salvage their Premier League status.

And, the Toffees’ have a tough run-in now starting with a trip to South London against a revitalised Crystal Palace, this coming weekend.

Will Dyche return to his previous approach and if so, will it still work and, is there enough time to turn this situation around again?

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