And the Blues’ weakness is as clear as day: there’s nobody who can put the ball in the back of the net. Our starting XI for the past two games has scored a grand total of 15 league goals since the start of 2022 (for any team).
So, having essentially gone with the same team in his opening four games (aside from Simms starting against Liverpool), is it time for Sean Dyche to mix things up a bit against Arsenal?
No news here.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin remains out. Garner and Patterson are nearing returns, but will play with the under-21s this week instead.
Townsend the only other absentee.
EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS VILLA
Goalkeepers: Pickford, Begovic, Lonergan,
Defenders: Keane, Mina, Godfrey, Tarkowski, Holgate, Coady, Mykolenko, Coleman,
Patterson (INJURED), Vinagre, Welch
Midfielders: Doucoure, Iwobi, Davies, Onana, Gueye, Garner (DOUBT), Price
Townsend (INJURED), McNeil, Mills
Calvert-Lewin (INJURED) , Maupay, Simms
Tactics and Formation
The 4-1-4-1 deployed by Dyche has seen the Blues put in solid performances for the most part and while we haven’t scored – there have been enough chances created. The lack of goals is down to personnel rather than the system.
Unfortunately, Everton don’t have many options up top. The only players that could really come in are Demarai Gray and Ellis Simms.
Indeed, Gray seems to have been the biggest loser since the change of management, going from starting in all but one game this season to appearing for just 49 minutes across four games for Dyche so far.
Dyche has indicated that he sees Gray as a potential striker too, meaning he could even come in for Maupay up top. However, if he is to play, that’s most likely to come as a replacement for Iwobi on the right. Iwobi’s enterprise will be missed, but Gray certainly offers more of a goal threat.
The only other likely attacking change is Ellis Simms coming in for Neal Maupay. Simms' previous start came against Liverpool at Anfield, so it would seem harsh for his next chance to come away at Arsenal rather than at home to a lesser side. I’d lean towards Maupay keeping his place here.
There are also plenty of possibilities to change it up at centre-back, with Mina, Godfrey, Holgate and Keane waiting for a chance – with Coady having looked a little bit suspect in recent games. Could be a chance for Mina to show what he can do, although Coady does offer a better range of passing from deep.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Seamus Coleman – 9/10
Vitaliy Mykolenko - 10/10
James Tarkowski – 9/10
Conor Coady – 8/10
Amadou Onana – 9/10
Idrissa Gana Gueye – 9/10
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 8/10
Demarai Gray – 6/10
Dwight McNeil – 9/10
Neal Maupay – 7/10