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How Everton could line up against Arsenal in Sean Dyche’s first game in charge

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Sean Dyche will take charge of his first game as Everton manager on Saturday when his struggling side travel to London to face Premier League leaders Arsenal.


The Toffees have been dragged into another relegation scrap and opted to part ways with previous boss Frank Lampard, who had led them to safety in the 2021/22 season.

Dyche arrives at Goodison Park with an established style of play and ethos, having spent many campaigns in the top flight with Burnley. The Clarets became a bogey side for a number of Premier League teams and Dyche will be aiming to channel that into this current Everton lineup.

Assignments don’t get much tougher than battling the top ranked team in the division, but here’s the side Dyche may field with the hope of claiming three precious points at the Emirates.

GK: Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford

Pickford needs to start leading Everton’s defence / Visionhaus/GettyImages

England number one Jordan Pickford made some remarkable saves towards the back end of the 2021/22 season to earn Everton some precious points and he’ll need to do similar in the coming months.

Pickford has only three clean sheets in the Premier League this campaign but will hope that number can rise quickly with the arrival of defensive master Dyche.

RB: Seamus Coleman

Seamus Coleman

Coleman is a veteran in Everton’s defence / Julian Finney/GettyImages

His days as a marauding and attacking full back are firmly behind him, but there’s no doubt Toffees captain Seamus Coleman has the steel required to play in a Dyche defence.

The Republic of Ireland international has been an incredible servant to the Goodison Park faithful since arriving in 2009 and his stature would only grow if he can help the club avoid relegation.

CB: James Tarkowski

James Tarkowski

Tarkowski is working with Dyche again / Lewis Storey/GettyImages

Tarkowski alongside his teammates has been responsible for some horror-show defending at the back but he will almost certainly improve following the arrival of his old manager.

The 30-year-old made two England appearances in 2018 but hasn’t featured since owing to Burnley and Everton’s more recent struggles.

CB: Conor Coady

Conor Coady

Coady has been a regular at the back / Julian Finney/GettyImages

There may well come a time when Michael Keane is fit and Dyche elects to partner him alongside Tarkowski, a tried and tested partnership at Burnley.

However, Keane is still edging his way back to full fitness and Coady has the leadership skills required to lead Everton out of the mess they find themselves in.

LB: Vitalii Mykolenko

Vitalii Mykolenko

Vitalii Mykolenko is Everton’s starting left-back / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

An ever-present for Everton this season, Vitalii Mykolenko has put in some decent shifts at left-back despite results invariably going against the Toffees.

His natural understudy Ruben Vinagre has only been afforded 24 minutes of actions this season, meaning this is likely one of Dyche’s more straightforward selections.

RM: Alex Iwobi

Alex Iwobi

Iwobi could move out wide under Dyche / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Alex Iwobi largely featured in a central role for Lampard, causing defences problems with his direct running. However, Dyche may elect to utlise his industry out wide on the wing.

The 26-year-old leads Everton’s assist rankings with five so far this season – the only player in the squad to have more than one – but more end product is undoubtedly needed.

CM: Idrissa Gana Gueye

Idrissa Gueye

Gueye needs to up his game / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

Idrissa Gana Gueye hasn’t quite been the same destructive force at Everton this season as he was before his move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2019.

However, the Senegal international remains one of their more dependable central midfielders, even if he did have a complete meltdown in the heavy home defeat to Brighton.

CM: Amadou Onana

Amadou Onana

Onana celebrates his goal against Southampton / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Amadou Onana’s impressive performances at Lille in France earned him a £33m move to Everton in 2022. It’s only his first season on Merseyside but he’s been thrown into the deep end of a relegation battle.

The Belgium international scored his first Toffees goal in the recent 2-1 defeat to Southampton and will be a key player in the middle of Everton’s midfield for months to come.

LM: Dwight McNeil

West Ham United v Everton FC - Premier League

McNeil needs to contribute more / Vince Mignott/MB Media/GettyImages

Winger Dwight McNeil is another to have played under Dyche at Burnley, though his breakthrough came towards the end of his tenure with the Clarets.

His two goals make McNeil Everton’s second top scorer in the league this season behind Demarai Gray and Anthony Gordon. Gordon has since moved on to Newcastle.

ST: Demarai Gray

Demarai Gray

Gray has three league goals this season / Vince Mignott/MB Media/GettyImages

With Gordon’s exit, Demarai Gray is Everton’s leading league goalscorer this season, but three strikes is hardly enough to get excited about.

The former Birmingham prospect has enjoyed streaky runs of form in recent years but rarely anything truly sustained. That needs to change if he is to be a leading figure in Everton’s escape from the drop.

ST: Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Calvert-Lewin needs to stay fit / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

The last time Dominic Calvert-Lewin was properly fit and firing, some people were talking about a potential title challenge from Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton.

A fair bit has changed since then – where once stood a suave Italian now hosts a burly Kettering native – but if Calvert-Lewin can receive decent service from Everton’s wide players, who should be able to score the goals needed to give his side a chance of safety.

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