Dyche and Everton need re-think as goals dry up

The Blues struggled again in front of goal as they were beaten by Luton Town in yesterday's FA Cup fourth round tie at Goodison Park.

Everton v Crystal Palace - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
Everton v Crystal Palace - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

While Everton didn't cope well with the visitors threat from set-pieces - just as they hadn't in the league match back in September - once again the biggest problem was up front.

Despite having two centre-forwards playing together yesterday, the Toffees found it hard to create anything and neither scored with the only goal coming via Jack Harrison in the second half.

Neither Beto and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have scored in 2024 and in fact the last goal either player managed was Beto's only Premier League strike against Newcastle United that put the seal on a 3-0 win back in early December.

As for Calvert-Lewin his current drought in front of goal has lasted since the 29th October when he got the winner at West Ham United.

Where he goes from here is difficult to say as the longer this lack of goals continues the harder it is to see him ever breaking out of it.

Manager Sean Dyche tried pairing the two against Luton as he attempted to overcome the lack of goal threat in his side, particularly given the absence of two midfielders who have filled the goal-scoring gap to such an extent.

This approach also led to an excessive long-ball strategy that meant the team were constantly losing possession cheaply and couldn't ever get a grip on the game.

Both Abdoulaye Doucoure and Andre Gomes, the man who replaced him in the side recently, were unavailable to Dyche and this double injury blow severly hampered Everton.

Doucoure's absence is especially problematic as he is the club's leading scorer while Gomes had chipped in with two more since returning to the team after over a year away.

Dyche must be keeping all his fingers and toes crossed that Doucoure can make his usual quick recovery from the latest hamstring problem he has, while Gomes is hopefully not to seriously hurt either after picking up a training ground injury.

In truth the Blues boss has precious little alternative options to boost his flagging attack with only youngster Youssef Chermiti available up front. He came on yesterday but couldn't make an impact.

The other option is to try and make more of Arnaut Danjuma. But again the Dutchman was left on the bench at Goodison and doesn't seem to have the confidence of his manager. Where this leaves him and his future is still uncertain.

Perhaps he can try some sort of tactical switch particularly if Doucoure is out for a while.

Moving to a back three (with either Ben Godfrey or Seamus Coleman joining James Tarkowski and Jarrad Branthwaite) enabling Dwight McNeil and Nathan Patterson to play as wing-backs while Danjuma and Harrison operate either side of Calvert-Lewin or Beto up front, might work.

There are still a few days left in the January transfer window so perhaps Everton might be able to find a forward on loan for the rest of the season, but that seems unlikely to happen.

Without more goals from somewhere it looks like a tough ask for the Toffees to avoid being sucked right into another nail-biting relegation battle over the next few months.