The Hard Tackle analyses the ongoing crisis at Everton, the system from Sean Dyche, and if he can really pull off a miracle of this stature.
Everton are at an all-time low. The Merseyside club are struggling in every possible way. Sean Dyche has the job of saving a sinking ship. But does he have it in him to pull off the unthinkable?
One thing is for certain if the former Burnley manager manages to save Everton from here: he will go down in their history as the ultimate savior. The Toffees are currently 19th in the league with just 15 points out of their 20 matches.
While there might be a lot of chaos elsewhere in the Premier League, nothing comes close to what is taking place at Everton. In brief, they are in the relegation zone, the fans have turned their back on the team, top officials have been threatened, players have been confronted, the manager has been sacked, and there is a new face in Sean Dyche who is set to take charge.
The Chaos at Everton
The relegation-threatened club have had a tough time over the past two seasons. Once again, they look to survive relegation. But this time around, the situation is a bit more complicated. Goodison Park has never been this unhappy, or if one is allowed to say, this toxic as it is at present.
After their defeat against Southampton earlier this month Everton saw a new low. It led to a breakdown in the relationship between the fans and the club. Things that have happened over the past month have rocked English football. Everton board members Bill Kenwright, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Grant Ingles, and Graeme Sharp were asked not to attend the game. There was a real and credible threat to their safety and security.
As per the reports Barrett-Baxendale was physically assaulted after their 4-1 loss to Brighton on January 3. Kenwright has been subject to death threats. Players were confronted by angry fans outside the stadium as they tried to leave in their cars. A sit-in protest took place inside Goodison. These are not ideal situations for any football club and things need to change.
Yerry Mina, the Everton defender, was filmed speaking to the fans. Meanwhile, a video showcased Anthony Gordon, who recently joined Newcastle United, be at receiving end of harsh comments. The home-grown player was subject to harsh chants before he left in the winter window.
Everton fans talking to their CB Yerry Mina after they lie 19th in Premier League… pic.twitter.com/DUhQSLrXMc
— george (@StokeyyG2) January 14, 2023
However, the sit-in protest was conducted peacefully. And, the Merseyside Police issued a statement confirming that no threats or incidents involving Everton board members were reported. But the Merseyside sources insist they did take place and staff members also needed security. The fact that there is a different version of the story from the board and it is doubted by the fans gives it a different perspective.
Money gone down the drain at Everton
Since 2016, Everton have been the sixth-biggest spender in the Premier League. The Merseyside club have spent over £700 million in past 7 years. A fortune has been spent off the pitch, but they have not been able to make progress on it.
They will soon move into a new stadium with a 53,000 capacity on the banks of River Mersey. But as things stand, they might have to move into the new stadium while playing in the Championship. They have signed numerous players and changed quite a few managers. But things have not worked out for the club.
The fans believe that the Blues have not made any progress. Rather, they have moved significantly backward under the new owner Farhad Moshiri. Earlier in the month, a group of Everton fans published an open letter to their British-Iranian owner. They urged him to replace the entire board to reignite the club that has a rich history in the English top flight.
Moshiri responded with a letter addressed to the Everton Fans’ Forum which was published on the club’s website. In the letter, he showed his faith in former manager Frank Lampard, who has since been sacked, and Kevin Thelwell, the director of football, and his board of directors.
Since the 2016 transfer window, Everton have signed quite a few talented ballers from across the globe. They have acquired the services of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yannick Bolasie, Richarlison, Moise Kean, and James Rodríguez just to name a few. While a few of them are no longer at the club, only a few of their signings over the past seven years have actually worked on the pitch.
🎙️ Simon Jordan: “Moshiri has made enough awful decisions, it's about time he made the right one." pic.twitter.com/W5xybk1IfE
— TheMightyBlues (@MightyBluesYT) January 23, 2023
The fact that they have had seven different managers during the past seven years has not helped their cause either. Everton need stability, and they need it as soon as possible. Having stability is a big challenge when you battle relegation and have no money left to improve your squad.
In their last accounts published last March, they posted a loss of more than £120 million ($148 million). In the last three years, their total losses stand at a staggering £370 million ($456 million). It is way above Premier League’s Financial Fair Play threshold, and they might soon come under the scanner.
The club’s situation was such that they were forced to sell their best player last summer. They sold Richarlison, the club’s biggest star to Tottenham to keep their finances afloat.
How will Sean Dyche’s system fare at Everton?
Sean Dyche prefers to use the 4-4-2 formation. During the majority of his time at Burnley, he relied on the system with two forwards and a widespread midfield of four players. While it might not be a go-to formation in the modern game, it does work for him.
The formation provides balance across the pitch, it allows the team to have an attacking threat with two strikers up top. And, when it comes to defence, one can line up with two lines of four and cover the entire width of the pitch.
Everton manager Sean Dyche says he is fully aware of the challenge of steering the side away from relegation. pic.twitter.com/TWXdOUPmn1
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 2, 2023
When it comes to Dyche’s 4-4-2, he uses it as a 4-5-1, where the second striker drops into the midfield. He drops down and tries to initiate the attack. Dyche prefers having a creative forward as the second striker. The newly-appointed manager loves to field an out-and-out number nine who can be a constant threat in the opposition box.
The wide players play a key role in his system, they have to put in a shift in defense. He prefers having the wide players drop back and help out his defense. Demarai Gray and Dwight McNeil are set to feature for him in the wide roles at Everton. One thing is for sure the two will have to adapt to his style and increase their defensive work rate.
Andros Townsend is the other option that he can use out wide. Having not signed any player in January, they are likely to suffer in the wide areas. And, the departure of Anthony Gordon to Newcastle has not helped him either.
4-4-2 might look like a straightforward formation. But nothing actually is that straightforward in the world of football. The same goes with the 4-4-2, a formation that changes and adapts according to the opposition’s game plan and the team’s performance.
The fact the formation is a rather simple one and Dyche’s system is all about keeping it simple, an increased work rate might actually help the Everton cause. It has given him solidity and structure back in the day at Burnley, and the same is expected here.
Under Frank Lampard, Everton were struggling to find the right formation. They constantly chopped and changed the system which did make life difficult for the players. Dyche is likely to stick to the 4-4-2 which can help the players settle down and try to live up to his expectations.
Can Sean Dyche save the sinking ship that is Everton?
After the sacking of Frank Lampard, who somehow managed to save them from relegation last time around, Sean Dyche has been asked to take over the managers role at Goodison Park. Over the course of January, Everton did not sign a single player.
The departure of Anthony Gordon left a void in the attack, and they wanted to cover it up by signing around two forwards. But, the board haven’t been able to land the players that Sean Dyche asked for. Actually, they have not managed a single signing.
While Dyche has a decent record in the Premier League, one cannot expect him to pull off such a task without any reinforcement. His system is a simple one, and the players are likely to settle in quickly. But, they were in need of a few additions.
The former Burnley manager wanted an attacker who could play out wide and a number nine. But, he has nothing on the table and will have to work with the players that were there in the squad even before he arrived.
Dyche wanted to sign the Coventry City striker Viktor Gyokeres and Southampton forward Che Adams. Unfortunately, despite their attempts, they could not manage to land either of them. The Merseyside club also tried to acquire the service of Conor Gallagher from Chelsea to bolster their midfield. But even that did not go according to plan.
The transfer window is now shut and they are still in desperate need of a striker. And Everton are eyeing an out-of-window move for Andre Ayew, who is currently a free agent. The 33-year-old recently left the Qatari side Al-Sadd. It will be interesting to see if they can make it happen.
The fact that they have not added reinforcement and have handed over a squad that is low on confidence to Sean Dyche will not help their cause. It is highly unlikely that he can save them from here. But Dyche is a man who will give it his all.
The only way the Merseyside club can avoid relegation is if they pull off a few wins in his initial matches and have the backing of the fans. Without the fans, they will not be able to get the job done here. And a club that has not been relegated from the English top flight for almost 70 years might finally drown.
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