Joe Thomas - Same tactics that earned a point at City
Is it possible for a team without any signings to be a ‘new look’ side? I’m fascinated to see where Sean Dyche goes with his first line up.
His preferred model is 4-4-2 - a system we did not see a great deal under Frank Lampard. I’d still be tempted to use the tactics that earned Everton a point at Manchester City and saw them compete with their city rivals in that entertaining cup match at the start of the year.
That would mean three centre backs, with Yerry Mina joining James Tarkowski and Conor Coady in Ben Godfrey’s presumed absence. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dyche move Alex Iwobi out wide but he’s in the middle three for me, alongside Amadou Onana and Abdoulaye Doucoure. Idrissa Gueye’s form has dropped recently hence my introduction of Doucoure.
Then Demarai Gray starts off Dominic Calvert-Lewin up top. I’m making another change and having Dwight McNeil as my left wing back, ahead of Vitalii Mykolenko . McNeil works hard and may offer more attacking threat. Seamus Coleman starts on the other side and Jordan Pickford picks himself.
My team (5-3-2): Pickford, Mina, Tarkowski, Coady; McNeil, Coleman; Iwobi, Doucoure, Onana; Gray, Calvert-Lewin
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Chris Beesley - Strike partnership to finally get chance
Yet another new era descends upon Everton today with Sean Dyche becoming the eighth Blues boss since Farhad Moshiri took control of the club in 2016 and the man tasked with ensuring the club do not spend their final season at Goodison Park outside of the Premier League.
The former Burnley manager is going to have to use all his battling qualities to try and ensure this Everton side avoids the drop and we all know now of course that it will be with the same squad that has accumulated just 15 points from 20 games so far, minus Anthony Gordon.
Dyche might try and spring a tactical surprise to disrupt Mikel Arteta’s Premier League leaders but presuming that he goes with his tried and trusted 4-4-2, it will be intriguing to see who goes where. Going forward, Ben Godfrey, potentially at left-back, and Michael Keane who earned his £25million move to Everton in 2017 off the back of his form for Dyche’s Clarets might both force their way back into the defence but as the new gaffer hinted in his pre-match press conference, they’re probably not fit enough yet.
Therefore the biggest call is probably whoever plays up front so after struggling for most of the season alternating between each other, I’m putting Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Neal Maupay together as a classic big man/small man partnership. Three into two in midfield doesn’t go either so while Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana retain their places in the engine room, Alex Iwobi moves out wide.
My team (4-4-2): Pickford; Coleman, Mykolenko, Coady, Tarkowski; Iwobi, Gueye, Onana, Gray; Maupay, Calvert-Lewin
Matt Jones - Dyche can use Ancelotti defensive blueprint
Predicting the line-up for a new manager's first game should be a challenge. But with one less player in the Everton squad - somehow - after a shambolic January window, it feels like a straightforward task to predetermine what Sean Dyche will do with the team.
Fitness permitting, he will be forced to make some calls in attack. Dominic Calvert-Lewin will lead the line, potentially with Demarai Gray in a support role up top.
Dwight McNeil - who needs to make big improvements - and Alex Iwobi could fill the other wide berths, with the latter's work-rate likely to appeal to the new boss out wide. Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gueye feel like the obvious midfield choices.
In defence there is more room for changes of personnel. James Tarkowski and Yerry Mina feels like an ideal Dyche defensive duo, while Ben Godfrey could slot in at left-back instead of the underperforming Vitalii Mykolenko.
Mason Holgate may also be given a chance at right-back, giving the defensive line a much more robust feel - Carlo Ancelotti deployed a similar tactic with some success during his second season in charge.
The new boss will be hopeful of this plan working from the off, as there is nothing of substance on the bench he can turn to from an attacking standpoint to swing the game in Everton's favour.
My team (4-4-1-1): Pickford; Holgate, Mina, Tarkowski, Godfrey; Iwobi, Onana, Gueye, McNeil; Gray; Calvert-Lewin
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