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Talking Tactics

How Dyche's direct approach can guide Everton to safety

Adrian Clarke 1 Feb 2023

Adrian Clarke on how new Toffees manager can bring the best out of Calvert-Lewin and shore up defence

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points that can be decisive in Matchweek 22.

Sean Dyche (EVE)

Accustomed to fighting for safety from his decade in charge at Burnley, Sean Dyche feels like the right fit for Everton in their hour of need.

The Toffees sit in 19th place, with only 15 points earned from 20 matches.

In five of the last six Premier League campaigns 35 points have kept teams out of the bottom three, so reaching that figure will be the minimum target he sets his players.

Dyche's PL record
P W D L Win ratio Pts/match
258 72 68 118 27.9% 1.1

Interestingly, if Dyche can replicate his points-per-match record at Turf Moor of 1.1 with the Everton side he has inherited, they will just about reach that 35-point mark.

Matching his top-flight win ratio would give the Toffees victories in five of their remaining 18 fixtures.

This might be enough to avoid Everton's first relegation from the Premier League but it would be a close call.

With Dyche at the helm it is highly likely that Everton will play in a 4-4-2, or a version of 4-5-1.

During his time at Burnley he only deviated away from those systems three times in 258 matches.

Dyche's preferred formations
Formation Times used
4-4-2 180
4-4-1-1 64
4-5-1 7
4-2-3-1 3
5-3-2 2
4-1-4-1 1
5-4-1 1

In his last campaign at Turf Moor he set his side up in a 4-4-2 in 29 of 30 matches, using 4-5-1 in the other contest.

Implementing a new shape

Under Frank Lampard, Everton did not start a single fixture using 4-4-2 this season.

He alternated between a back three and his favoured 4-3-3, so Everton's players will have to quickly adjust to a new outlook.

Formations used under Lampard
Formations Times used
4-3-3 10
3-4-3 3
4-2-3-1 2
5-3-2 2
3-4-2-1 2
5-4-1 1

In a 4-4-2 there is scope for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to partner Neal Maupay, or Ellis Simms, who was recalled from Sunderland and impressed during his loan there.

While if a 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 is preferred, Alex Iwobi could be used behind the lone striker.

Demarai Gray and Dwight McNeil, who is reunited with Dyche having worked together at Burnley, would be favourites to occupy the wide areas.

Sean Dyche Everton training
Sean Dyche puts his Everton squad through their paces in training this week

Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana look well-suited to provide a solid base in Dyche's midfield, which always has to be athletic and combative.

There is however a difficult choice for the new Toffees manager when it comes to his preferred centre-back partnership.

If he does revert to a back four, James Tarkowski is the front runner to start, leaving a straight choice between Yerry Mina and Conor Coady.

Going direct

With the third-lowest Expected Goals from open play of 13.2, Everton have struggled to carve out quality chances this season.

Too many of their attacks have been laboured, and it was not always easy to identify a consistent style of play.

See: Can Dyche recreate the Burnley magic at Everton?

Any tactical ambiguity that existed during Lampard's spell in charge should quickly disappear.

Under Dyche they will become more direct, and less possession-focused.

Until now they have moved the ball towards the opposition goal at a slow pace, averaging only 1.2 metres per second.

At Burnley in 2020/21, Dyche's team averaged a direct speed of 1.6 metres/second, the second-quickest tally in the division.

The ball will travel in a vertical direction much more incisively under their new manager.

Slowest direct speed 22/23
Club metres/second
Man City 1.0
Everton 1.2
Brighton 1.2
Chelsea 1.2
Southampton 1.3

In 2021/22 Burnley launched 68.9 long passes per 90 minutes, the most in the division by far, therefore, Calvert-Lewin looks set to be a pivotal figure, where he will be asked to hold the ball up and run the channels.

TV Info

Mikel Arteta's table-toppers must ready themselves for a physical test and a contest where they will be asked to defend longer balls and crosses on a regular basis.

Also in this series

Part 1: How Ouattara can add creative flair to Cherries
Part 2: Why Guardiola is reshaping his defence without Cancelo
Part 3: How Fernandez will unlock Chelsea's attacking potential
Part 5: McKennie can form a perfect pairing with Adams

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