March 22, 2023

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Sean Dyche has been with Everton for a month now. First small results

Shortly before Lampard’s sacking, former Everton player Don Hutchison tweeted a lot of likes: “I honestly don’t understand what else Frank Lampard could have done. ” The position that Lampard was not to blame for anything was generally quite popular, especially in England: a similar idea was spoken a little earlier by, for example, the club’s legendary goalkeeper Neville Southall, and in general such rhetoric was not rare in the media. From the fact that at Everton there were huge problems in the management, it was often concluded that only they were to blame, and not the coaching staff and players. But this is definitely not the case: Frank Lampard was disastrously bad at his job and with what he was responsible for at the club – to put it very primitively, for playing football.

From a strategic point of view, Sean Dyche is still hardly an ideal candidate for the position of head coach of Everton, but to answer the question “What else could Lampard do?” he managed quite clearly and quickly. Yes, at least this: to make the team at least a little organized and explain to the players, no matter what quality they are, what he wants to see from them on the football field. Everton have definitely made progress as a game. Yes, maybe not gigantic, but definitely enough to find much more positive even in the lost matches to Liverpool and especially Aston Villa than in almost any game of this season under Lampard.

A sad conclusion from a seemingly positive thesis about the emerging progress: if the club’s management could understand that it was time to remove Lampard after defeats from direct competitors (Bournemouth and Leicester) in November before the World Cup, and did not wait for defeats from Wolverhampton, Southampton and West Ham, then almost certainly the position of Everton in the struggle for survival would now look much more confident. When the class of players is approximately equally modest, then the order that Dyche gave to the team usually decides and did it quickly. Now we will have to score points in matches with opponents from the top half of the standings (in the next seven rounds we have only one game with a team that, like us, settled in the second half and can be considered our competitor).

In general, we waited. Unfortunately, even the progress made under Dyche in the organization of the game is no longer a guarantee of a successful solution to the problem of maintaining residence in the Premier League. The current Everton still does not look like a team ready to arrange a scoring extravaganza. Even with the best implementation of chances, it is quite difficult to count on confident wins by several goals, which leads us to a situation where not only and not so much system quality comes to the fore, but the team’s ability to avoid a large number of individual mistakes. Unfortunately, in the current roster of players who can be trusted in the long run, you can count on the fingers of one hand, and this in turn makes it extremely difficult for Dyche to implement even more system improvements that will help mask this problem.

Interestingly, improvements in the construction of the game brightly highlighted the incompatibility of the players acquired in the summer, which was discussed a lot before. Conor Cody clearly feels uncomfortable in the back four, which periodically leads to errors in choosing a position. Idrissa Gueye and Abdoulaye Dukouré are both poor at passing, which makes it difficult for the team to control the ball even in simple situations and advance it through short passes. In addition, none of the three players in the center of the field can be called a really high-quality attacking player, which also greatly limits the possibility of building attacks. Neil Mope, even if we ignore his general finishing problems, which were also known even before the acquisition, is also a player who should rather play the role of a “false nine” than play the role of a “spearhead”. This, in turn, is completely incompatible with the extreme midfielders, whose best qualities are the ability to carry the ball and pass into the penalty area, and the players of the midfield described above, who are unable to support the attack at a sufficient level. Of the outfield players, it seems only James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil (not surprisingly, both have already played for Dyche at Burnley), Alex Iwobi, who is obviously going for the title of the best player of the season at Everton, and Sheamus feel completely comfortable now. Coleman.

All these problems lead to a situation where even a completely coherent system game often looks unbalanced and is well described by the folklore expression “who is in the woods, who is in the woods.” Let’s see how Dyche handles all this legacy from now on. We repeat: even despite the emerging progress, it will definitely not be easy.