Everton season is in danger as injuries pile up

Blues boss Sean Dyche has an extensive and growing injury list as he faces a succession of tough Premier League matches starting with Fulham tomorrow night.
Everton v Fulham - Carabao Cup Quarter Final
Everton v Fulham - Carabao Cup Quarter Final / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Last weekend's defeat to Luton Town at Goodison Park was the team's fifth in their last eight games and leaves Everton with only one win since the 16th of December last year.

But more than a poor run of results is the catalogue of injuries which are piling up leaving Dyche with an ever-decreasing number of players to pick.

His latest absentee was Andre Gomes who picked up what is now confirmed to be a calf muscle injury in training last week ruling him out of Saturday's match.

Gomes is unavailable tomorrow evening along with Abdoulaye Doucoure, Seamus Coleman and with Ashely Young only just back fit again.

Meanwhile Idrissa Gueye is still away with Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations and less significantly Dele Alli is still out long-term.

On the face of it this number of injuries doesn't appear to be too serious and would be reflected in a number of Premier League club's situations.

But the Blues have a very small squad compared to most clubs and so injuries makea much greater difference to Dyche than many of his rivals.

Now he faces a run of important Premier League games without the heart of his midfield and with his captain and most experienced player still not fully fit again after a long spell out.

The first of these matches is a trip to West London to play Fulham one of many teams who have turned the Toffees over at home this season.

That was on the opening day when Everton had enough chances to win by four or five goals but couldn't take any of them and then inevitably were caught by a sucker punch late on.

Failure to take chances has been a recurring feature of this campaign and after a run of four games in November and December when the Blues scored eight times they have since only managed five goals in the next eight matches.

And during that time the Toffees have not managed more than a single goal in any of these games.

This has coincided with the absence of Doucoure in particular, as he was then and still is, the team's leading scorer with six.

Neither Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is in probably the worst blank spells of his career, or summer signing Beto have netted since mid-December and both of them look unlikely to break their goal drought anytime soon.

So, how is Dyche going to conjure up some goals in this side tomorrow night?

I've argued that as he doesn't seem at all convinced by Arnaut Danjuma (who may be on his way out of the club in a few days time) it might well be time to consider a change of tactics and formation.

Switching to something like a 5-2-3 formation could help by pushing Dwight McNeil and Jack Harrison further forward in direct support of whoever lines up as the first-choice centre-forward, Calvert-Lewin or Beto.

The team's main striker has often lacked enough support and this is especially the case without Doucoure or Gomes providing that link between midfield and attack.

Maybe giving him closer and more direct support from two players who can and should score more, might help the team get the much-needed additional goals.

Such a change would also make sense as Dyche only has two first-choice midfielders available anyway at the moment.

Opponents Fulham (who have also defeated Everton in the Carabao Cup too) have been quite inconsistent this season and are currently on a run of four games without a win, including three defeats - which of course means they will beat the Blues tomorrow!

But having defeated the Blues twice already, they will be confident of making it a hat-trick at Craven Cottage.

This next few weeks will be testing and Dyche will no doubt be hoping he soon has a full strength squad to pick from or the Toffees season could be in real danger of falling apart.