Everton need Doucoure back to his best starting with Chelsea tonight

The 31-year-old midfielder has been speaking to the media about what has happened to him over the last two seasons at Goodison Park.
Everton FC v Burnley FC - Premier League
Everton FC v Burnley FC - Premier League / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Doucoure was going over the ups and downs of his recent Everton career, particularly the problems with Frank Lampard that saw him left out of the team and then the impact of Sean Dyche replacing him in January last year.

Dyche's arrival certainly saved the Mali international from a possible exit from the Toffees, and he excelled in the new manager's 4-4-1-1 formation.

The former Watford player went straight back into the side and never looked back notching some critical goals in the second half of the season.

In his comments he mentioned the Brighton game away at the Amex Stadium last last season that produced arguably the most improbable result of almost any team in that entire campaign as Everton triumphed 5-1. Doucoure got two of the goals.

No one expected that outcome, least of all Evertonians, and it was the match that made me think just maybe this team can pull it off again and survive.

Of course they did and the player signed by Carlo Ancelotti in 2020, also fondly remembers that winning goal against Bournemouth on the final day of last season that enabled the Blues to cling on by their fingernails to Premier League status yet again.

That strike will ensure he goes down in Everton folklore and in future years it will be recalled alongside such equally unlikely goals as Barry Horne's screamer against Wimbledon in exactly the same scenario thirty years ago.

But Doucoure doesn't want to be remembered just for that goal, and I wrote after the euphoria of another great escape last year that I didn't think I could go through it all again and yet here we are facing another relegation scrap this season.

Obviously, this campaign has been the most ridiculously chaotic and controversial in this or any other Premier League club's history.

All the points deductions and the almost forgotten ongoing wait to hear if 777 Partner's takeover will or won't be allowed to go ahead, have created unprecedented uncertainty for everyone at the club as well as supporters.

And yet despite all that the team did at one point seem as though they were able to put it all aside and still deliver decent results.

Although they started poorly, several important away wins came and then in the aftermath of November's first ten-point deduction Everton produced a string of excellent performances and wins.

A key part of that was the form of Doucoure as he basically continued where he had left off last season.

Then in the final win of that sequence of four victories in December at Burnley, he picked up a hamstring injury.

Another one followed as soon as he had returned and since finally overcoming that Doucoure has been a shadow of the player we saw earlier.

Everton's results have also been extremely poor and a run of thirteen matches without a league win was only finally ended with the return fixture against the Clarets last weekend.

In a normal campaign that sort of run would be enough to get Dyche or anyone else fired. But given the limbo-like scenario at Goodison Park that hasn't happened.

Meanwhile, the manager has continued with his favoured formation in spite of the fact that I among so many others have been calling for him to be more attack-minded as the desperate search for goals goes on.

Tonight I would expect him to continue to line up in this way and if I'm right then Doucoure who plays such a critical role in that system, has to find some form.

This evening's game at Stamford Bridge would be the ideal time for him to do so.