The game is full of opinions and after Chelsea there are plenty. If only we knew what the right tactics should be for the remaining 6 games.

My opinion, for what it's worth:

We need to ensure we don't get beat by Nottingham Forest and we must get through the derby without getting hammered. I want to beat Forest but a draw will be something and give us some kind of platform going into the derby. Keeping it very tight in these 2 games is vital for me.
With injuries now to Patterson (unbelievable), Coleman and Branthwaite, the defence will presumably be Godfrey, Tarkowski, Keane and Mykolenko.

I do not want to see Young wide right (admittedly he played one lovely pass the other night to Seamus whose low ball in to Beto should have been 1-0 to us). I would prefer Harrison. And on the other flank, I think it will be McNeil. Danjuma cannot be match fit but he needs some game time so bring him on for the last 10 minutes if need be, or start him ahead of either Harrison or McNeil, tell him to go for it and then bring him off when he tires.

I am hoping Gueye is back to feature against Forest. He needs to play with Garner to protect the defence properly with Gomes or Doucouré as the attacking midfielder.

This is where my, perhaps controversial, ideas kick in. I want Gomes in there for his passing, so in the absence of Patterson, and because I do not want Young wide right, I would consider playing Doucouré wide right. I hate playing players out of position but if we play Doucouré slightly out of position, we still get the benefit of his energy, possible runs (cutting in), and goal threat; I think he will help out defensively a bit too. I would prefer this to playing Garner there too.

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My other possibly controversial point is I don't want Onana in there. The game passes him by. Teams overrun us in midfield when he plays and that is the last thing we want right now. The midfield needs hard-working runners in there who will work hard, harry, cover and close down the opposition space and, if Gueye isn't fit, I would have no reservations in playing Lewis Warrington.

I would tell Warrington to just keep harrying the opposition players, keep closing down space for them to play in, and when you get the ball, keep it simple, let Gomes do the more adventurous passing. Lewis is an Evertonian, is old enough, is energetic, and is exactly what the team needs right now.

There is not enough guile in midfield and there is not enough energy that stops the opposition from getting a grip on the game. We need players in there who will put in a shift with hard graft and more passing ability.

Having a young lad harrying and chasing opposition players and closing down space is worth more to the team right now than Onana doing the odd pass but allowing the opposition to just run past him.

The midfield of Garner, Onana and Doucouré does not work and Monday showed conclusively why. Compounded by Young playing on the right of it. How the manager can't see it, I just don't know.

It is no use saying you want two up top if they are never going to get any service. It will just weaken an already weak midfield.

The defence has started to look vulnerable culminating in the Chelsea collapse and it is all to do with the midfield not protecting it.

And I will say it again: Onyango and Okoronkwo should now be on the bench. Okoronkwo would give the team something different up front if brought on for the last 10 to 15 minutes.

The team has to be solid but needs a cutting edge. Beto could come good, he has been a mixture of unlucky and too clumsy when chances have come his way. His goal against Chelsea was taken brilliantly, but it was very poor to be caught offside the way he was, but it did show yet again that he has potential to cause problems.
My only conclusion about Pickford's horrific error is pressure. Whether you like Dyche or not, and I'm not his biggest fan, the pressure has got to him and the players for sure. What the Premier League has masterminded and the Government seem to be sitting back and allowing to happen is a fucking disgrace. 5 months of torment for the manager, players and supporters over a bit of an overspend is a scandal. The biggest scandal ever in English football actually. We need a new league.

But back to the Forest game, Dyche needs to get the team solid again. I hope to God he has not lost the players because they now need to dig deep and play with more fight than ever before. And having an Evertonian in there fighting for his boyhood team is just what we need.
My view, as it always is, is a strong hard hard-working midfield is the way forward.
Of course, as I've said before, the ref and the VAR can just destroy any chance we have of winning in this horrendously badly managed and corrupt Premier League. But the team must try and play through all of these handicaps and get us some wins. Good Luck to all the team! 

Reader Comments (15)

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Peter Hodgson
1 Posted 19/04/2024 at 14:53:15
There is some merit in playing Warrington in the sort of role you describe. I wonder if Dyche will be brave enough? Probably not.
Michael Kenrick
2 Posted 19/04/2024 at 15:00:26
Sorry, Jim, but I'm pretty sure there is no chance we will be seeing Francis Okoronkwo anywhere near this squad.

He was out of action for a couple of months in the winter, came back, and played in two or three U21s games before disappearing again. I have a note somewhere that it was hamstring this time.

His last appearance was 6 weeks ago so, unless I'm a Dutchman, I'm pretty sure
he'll be sitting this one out.

Michael Kenrick
3 Posted 19/04/2024 at 15:02:18
Good that you call out Beto's goal that wasn't...

Now tell me this: who was it who swung in that brilliant cross from the right that he converted?

John Raftery
4 Posted 19/04/2024 at 16:21:02
Michael (3) How dare you contradict the prevailing wisdom! The player concerned is one of the few with the composure to deliver an accurate cross.
Danny O’Neill
5 Posted 19/04/2024 at 16:28:53
I've called for a year or so for him to me more involved involved with the first team squad.

I'm not suggesting he is a first team starter, but he's worth half an hour.

Great football brain and range of passing.

Stephen Vincent
6 Posted 19/04/2024 at 16:47:07
Its a yes from me. Its a shame that Stan Mills is still out on loan.

I think that Onyango and McKenzie Hunt should be in the mix. On current form they couldn't possibly be worse than our projected back line for Sunday. Unless of course we decided to recall Mason Holgate!!!

David Currie
7 Posted 19/04/2024 at 17:13:27

I also think a draw against Forest would be a good result: 0-0 as it is hard to see us scoring.

We need to be solid and hard to beat for the remaining games. 3 draws and one win and hope that is enough. Hope I'm wrong but don't think we are good enough to beat Forest, Brenford and Luton on our current form, so don't lose.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 19/04/2024 at 17:25:32
Michael and John 3-4, who did make that brilliant centre that Beto scored from? Garner?
James Flynn
9 Posted 19/04/2024 at 19:39:41
Warrington is slower than Tom Davies and his passing range is less than Davies's too.

We do not want young Lewis next to Gomes. Or playing.

He'll have a fine League One career.

Alan J Thompson
10 Posted 20/04/2024 at 07:24:10
Jim, you seem to have a few players coming on for the last 10 minutes plus extra time, not unlike Mr Dyche.

Will Warrington, or any other junior for that matter, get a spot on the bench? I suppose you have to ask the question, "Does he play in goal"?

If I were Mr Dyche, I'd spend an afternoon with the players watching several of Forest's worst and best games and discuss what ideas everyone has including opinions on his own ideas. Is it ever too late?

A week in hospital and there's rumour afoot that Mr Dyche might consider changing formation and favourites.

Robert Tressell
11 Posted 20/04/2024 at 12:25:52
Most of the young players mentioned here are going to struggle to get careers even at Championship level. Some may not even make it at all.

In Warrington's only start at Championship level in his entire career, he was substituted at half-time in a game Plymouth lost 4-1 away to Bristol City.

As he comes back from injury, Warrington has only played 4 times for our U-21s. The comeback was, by coincidence, against Forest at home on 19 February. We lost 1-2. His last match was against Palace U-21s. We drew 0-0.

It doesn't seem particularly logical to throw him into a position as holding midfielder where he will be required to address the very serious threat of Morgan Gibbs-White.

But he can't be any worse than [insert least favourite player here], I hear people say...

Well he can actually. In the same way that, say, Jamie McDonnell of Forest's U-21s is probably quite a lot worse than, say, Ryan Yates.

The fact that we're even having this discussion highlights how terrible the squad, and particularly squad depth, is.

Forest played a central trio of Yates, Danilo and Gibbs-White in their 2-2 draw with Wolves and had experienced quality on the bench in Sangare (Ivory Coast international, over 200 top flight games in France and Netherlands) and Dominguez (Argentine international, over 100 appearances in Serie A).

Despite their difficult predicament, they will not be turning to the youth team either.

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 20/04/2024 at 12:48:59
I agree on Stanley Mills, Stephen.

Robert, one of the best quotes from Howard's Way is Colin Harvey telling Howard Kendall to go and have a look at a Liverpool reserve player.

I don't need to mention the name.

You just never know until you try.

Robert Tressell
13 Posted 20/04/2024 at 13:26:40
That's a nice romantic notion, Danny. I don't doubt that there are some cracking players at other academies who would grace our first team - Micah Hamilton at Man City for example, or maybe Shola Shoretire of Man Utd. I'd be delighted to sign them as we once did with Sheedy.

But just "believing" is not really enough, unfortunately.

Stanley Mills, btw, is not on loan. He's back at the academy after Oxford cancelled his loan due to injury.

John Raftery
14 Posted 20/04/2024 at 16:01:35
Dave (8) It was from a fellow called Young who many say is absolutely useless because he is too old.
Jonathan Oppenheimer
15 Posted 23/04/2024 at 02:40:09
It's fun to come to some of these articles and comments after they've aged a week or two, and reflect on how prescient or confounding they prove to be.

I have not yet had the time to watch more than the highlights from the Forest match, but I think we can all agree that the composure and ball-playing ability of Ashley Young is now clearly outweighed by his 38-year-old legs. And two long-range strikes mean we actually are capable of scoring from open play!

Of course I'm not criticizing anyone here, just appreciating why we all love sports, because of its unpredictability and ability to keep making us believe in the impossible and kindly debate every last detail.

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