Everton arguably face free hit at champions Manchester City tomorrow

The Toffees aren't expected to get anything from the match at the Etihad Stadium so perhaps they should just look at it as a chance to have a go and see.
Everton FC v Manchester City - Premier League
Everton FC v Manchester City - Premier League / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

In truth though, I don't think Sean Dyche will approach it that way and will of course no doubt be trying to do all he can to ensure his Everton team give everything and maybe come back with a point.

But perhaps there is something to be said for taking a more longer-term, if still obviously professional attitude, with the realisation that there will be other more important games the Blues will have to win later on.

I remember writing something similar last season before the Toffees travelled to Brighton in May, and against all the odds and expectations they produced one of the performances of that or any recent campaign to win 5-1 at the Amex Stadium.

It was three vital points as well as a real confidence boost that went a long way to help ensure safety in the end.

Now I am not saying that City are Brighton - they are a better side and arguably still the top team in Europe - but the point is, totally unexpected results do occasionally happen in football.

And while Everton's recent record against the champions is miserable, they did secure an unlikely draw at the Etihad just over a year ago when Demarai Gray fired home the equaliser in a 1-1 game.

A similarly robust and determined performance is the least that will be expected tomorrow lunchtime (the Blues are again playing early) and who knows it might just pay off.

But to do so the Toffees team will have to do without their manager being there on the touchline as Dyche must serve a ban for receiving three yellow cards including one against Spurs last weekend.

Remarkably, the Everton Women's team manager Brian Sorensen is also banned from the touchline for their match at Nottingham Forest twenty-four hours later!

Anyway, returning to tomorrow's game at City the Blues will have do without top scorer Abdoulaye Doucure yet again as well as fellow midfielder Andre Gomes and forward Arnaut Danjuma.

On the positive side, Amadou Onana might make it and Dyche could really do with the Belgian international back.

So once more Dyche's small squad will have to do without key players and the manager will need to mix and match again.

While trying to prevent City from scoring is the most important issue, Everton's lack of goals recently has as we all know been a huge problem.

Although at least more than one goal was scored last Saturday for the first time in a game since the 2-0 win against Chelsea on the 10th of December.

That of course will be exactly two months ago tomorrow and in that time neither of Dyche's first choice strikers, Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Beto, have found the net.

Calvert-Lewin thought he had finally ended his long drought when his shot headed into the Spurs net only for it to be touched by Jack Harrison who was then awarded the goal.

Harrison scored when these two teams last met at Goodison Park last year and Everton were in that match until another controversial penalty award swung the game in the visitor's favour.

I have previously suggested that given his squad's limitations, perhaps Dyche needs to consider changing his tactics and formation to overcome the lack of midfield options and goals.

However, I very much doubt he will consider doing that tomorrow and will most likely instead continue with his tried and tested 4-4-1-1 system.

It has often worked well on the team's travels although a trip to East Manchester where the hosts haven't lost in 33 consecutive games, is very unlikely to bring another of those away victories.