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Friday, September 29, 2023

Dyche must bench his ‘wasteful’ £80k-p/w dud at Goodison

Everton once again failed in their pursuit of a first Premier League win on Sunday, leaving Sean Dyche scratching his head over how to get his team to perform.

The former Burnley manager has endured a torrid tenure at Goodison Park, given all the turmoil he inherited, and actually admitted before the match that “last season was by far the hardest of my football life.”

However, given they are winless after five league games now, having claimed just a sole point against a poor Sheffield United side, that could be a notion set to change as they are staring down the barrel of yet another relegation dogfight.

The 52-year-old boss will have to make some tough decisions if he is to perform another miracle to secure their survival, and after Sunday’s weak defeat at home to Arsenal, he has been given plenty of food for thought.

One particular standout from that clash was Idrissa Gueye, who caught the eye for all the wrong reasons as he remained characteristically profligate in possession, but seemed to lose his trademark tirelessness and work ethic that underpins his value to a team.

How did Idrissa Gueye play vs Arsenal?

Gueye’s 6.9 Sofascore rating was an understandably underwhelming figure, which perhaps underplays just how poor the Senegal international was.

Mustering just 31 touches, it was never expected that the hosts would enjoy much of the ball. However, when they did have it, they looked panicked and awkward, with the 33-year-old’s 72% pass accuracy in the engine room hardly aiding their efforts.

Although two interceptions mark a standard for him nowadays, Gueye was dribbled past once, and would only win 50% of the duels he competed in, via Sofascore. Evidently, he was bullied by Arsenal’s new mega-money signing in Declan Rice.

Although it would be a reluctant decision, former writer Ell Bretland suggested that perhaps his time in the starting side is up after that performance:

“Honestly, I love Idrissa Gana Gueye. He’s been amazing for Everton, a supreme tackler, massive influence and brilliant at what he does. But we just can’t afford for him to be so wasteful on the ball. He loses possession so often. It’s having an adverse effect in my opinion.”


The former PSG star was outfought in the midfield, and perhaps it could be time for Dyche to look elsewhere in an effort to not only reignite a side lacking energy but inject some much-needed creativity too.

Who should replace Idrissa Gueye?

After all, central midfield marks one of the areas of real depth that Everton boast, with James Garner likely tearing his hair out having to witness that performance from the bench.

The Manchester United academy graduate had started all of their previous league matches before last week, but with the return of Dwight McNeil, was pushed aside given no room could be made in his favoured midfield role.

However, it is worth noting that from right midfield, the 22-year-old Garner had maintained a 7.00 average rating, buoyed by his 80% pass accuracy, one key pass, 1.6 tackles and 3.8 ball recoveries per game, via Sofascore.

Everton midfielder James Garner

With the quality to actually create from deep, but sharing the tenacity that would make him an instant favourite at Goodison Park, there would be little risk involved by dropping Gueye in favour of Garner.

Especially when Amadou Onana could so easily shift over and ease that defensive burden, with the Belgium international posting 1.8 tackles and 4.4 ball recoveries per game in the league too.

Something has to change, and if it means dropping the ageing £80k-per-week stalwart in favour of a youthful creator with far more attacking impetus, then that is a decision Dyche must make. It is at least worth experimenting whilst the season is still young, before the pressure inevitably heats up as they near what is likely to be another relegation battle.

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