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Dyche risks alienating Everton fans in calling out 'internet warriors'

The manager is riding high into the international break after a 3-0 home win against Bournemouth

Everton FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Everton finally put it all together to beat an inferior opponent at Goodison Park on their way to a confident 3-0 win over AFC Bournemouth. Too many times in this young season the Blues have flattered to deceive, doing just about everything but actually putting the ball in the net. Four consecutive league defeats at home, a new low for this once-proud football club, pretty much told the tale. Every one of those quartet of losses was by a solitary goal, and apart from the Arsenal result, the Toffees arguably deserved at least something in the other three games.

Lest the run of three wins in four games hoodwink you though, Everton still sit just above the relegation zone and with the fixtures about to take a turn for the more difficult, sterner tests await the Blues. Also, just over a week ago the Toffees were busy re-enacting some of the finest bumbling done by the Three Stooges as they attempted to defend setpieces against Premier League new boys Luton Town. The Hatters have not enjoyed their time in the top flight so far, but ensured they held on to the three points at Goodison that Sean Dyche’s side so kindly gifted them.

Dyche’s future is always a topic up for debate, even more so whenever the Blues lose. The manager certainly has felt some heat over the first few weeks of the new campaign as Everton have squandered the opportunity to rack up some points against favorable opposition. Which is why his outburst against some of the club’s fans in the aftermath of the win against the Cherries is even more puzzling.

“I think the fans have seen signs, and the fans that I speak to, we are not talking about the internet warriors; we are talking about fans who have been here for years.

“They say to me, ‘We can see the signs’ it is just frustrating because we see it and it has been here for a couple of years. We have got to change the story.

“I told them we have got to change the story. That is our responsibility, but them performances start to change the story. We have got to continue to do that.

“But I think the die-hard Evertonians are aware of that; they know about good performances. Most that speak to me go ‘We get it, we can see the performances’ but we have got to win because they want to win.”

If anything, Dyche in his limited time on Merseyside would be very short-sighted if he refused to acknowledge that the fans were actually right on a number of things. Yerry Mina was the best defender we had and even when he was fit Dyche steadfastly refused to play him until he had to, and then the big Colombian’s performances spoke for him. It’s no understatement to say that without Mina’s contributions on both sides of the pitch, we would have been hosting Bristol City not Bournemouth last weekend.

And then there’s the whole love affair with Michael Keane. We get it, he’s Dyche’s trusty soldier who he knows very well. Much has been made of how it’s players who impress in training who regularly make his matchday squad, but he’s shown that to be true. Arnaut Danjuma is still trying to get in a word edgewise with the gaffer.

Dyche’s aversion to making substitutions is an interesting one too. Granted five subs he continues to grind the starting XI he has into the ground over and over again even when he has a deeper squad than he has been granted in many years.

When he finally couldn’t ignore the shouts to start Jarrad Branthwaite and threw in the youngster, the Toffees immediately looked more solid in the back, having just been eviscerated away by a pacey Aston Villa side with Keane playing a big part in the defensive fiasco.

James Garner is another case in point. The young midfielder has proven his versatility filling in out wide on the right, but has shown his true class when playing in the middle. When Dyche finally let him start in midfield against Villa in the Carabao Cup, Garner was on the scoresheet after fifteen minutes. That embarrassing loss against Luton forced Dyche’s hand to change up his favored midfield trio of Idrissa Gueye, Amadou Onana and Abdoulaye Doucoure, and Garner did even better, scoring in just half the time.

Everton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

So, who exactly is his rant aimed at? The match-going fans have been as vocal as any on the internet about the lackadaisical performances in some of the games. The nervousness around Goodison is palpable whenever the opposition stack the Everton box at setpieces, and that isn’t coming from keyboard-rattling Blues in far-flung parts of the earth.

The internet is where most of any football club’s fans interact and get information about the club. Indeed, most of the protests about how the club has been run have been generated and propagated in the ‘internet’ that Dyche seems so worried about.

By his own admission, results are what matter not the underlying analytics. The two can differ over the short term, but in the long run the on-pitch product and the points table do not vary greatly from what analytics tells us about the team.

Going back to his comments, Dyche is right — Everton have played better to start the season than the results and their position in the rankings say. But we also have to take into consideration that we have had a much softer schedule than many of the teams around us, with the Blues having played only one of the traditional top six, and indeed only two of their first seven opponents even sit in the top half of the table.

Tougher challenges await the Toffees on the other side of the international break, starting with the Anfield leg of the Merseyside Derby. Of the four league games Everton will play between then and the next international break in mid-November, all four sit ninth or better in the table and three of those fixtures will be on the road where the Blues have traditionally struggled against better teams.

Going into the next international break, Everton could well be out of the Carabao Cup and have picked up four straight defeats. If that happens, Dyche will have bigger problems than worrying about what the ‘internet warriors’ have to say about his Blues.

Everton Upcoming Schedule -

Sat Oct 21st - Premier League Matchday 9 - Liverpool vs Everton
Sun Oct 29th - Premier League Matchday 10 - West Ham United vs Everton
Wed Nov 1st - Carabao Cup Fourth Round - Everton vs Burnley
Sat Nov 4th - Premier League Matchday 11 - Everton vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Sat Nov 11th - Premier League Matchday 12 - Crystal Palace vs Everton