Nottingham Forest vs Everton

04/03/2023 119comments  |  Jump to last
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Demarai Gray will likely have to settle for a place on the bench again with Sean Dyche trying to find the "right balance" to his side in the absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Everton travel to the City Ground for the first time in 25 years to face Nottingham Forest in a match that has taken on uncomfortable importance in the context of the bid to survive in the Premier League this season.

The Blues travel to the East Midlands having lost their last two games to Aston Villa and Arsenal and are once again sitting in the bottom three thanks to a chronic lack of goals that has them as the lowest scorers in the top five divisions of English football.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin appears to be close to making a much-anticipated return to action but the trip to Forest may come too soon for him as he works his way back from a troublesome hamstring injury.

Sean Dyche was non-committal in his press conference at Finch Farm yesterday, telling Sky Sports’s Vinny O’Connor, “we’ll see” when asked whether the 25-year-old will be involved this weekend but it is expected that he will sit this one out, with a place on the bench perhaps the best that Evertonians can hope for.

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If so, it will leave Dyche with the same options from which to try and find solutions to the crippling attacking deficiencies that he inherited from Frank Lampard in January and he continues to express his confidence that things will turn for Neal Maupay.

The former Brighton forward has scored just one goal in 20 games since moving north last summer but Dyche says he is happy with Maupay’s workrate and that in terms of metrics like “distance covered, more efforts on goal, more chances, more crosses,” Everton have made “factual progress” since he came on board as boss five games ago.

“Neal is doing the right things at the minute,” Dyche said. “He keeps getting in the box and finding chances, and it’s not easy just to find chances in the Premier League. They will go in.

“We want other players to do the same. We want wide players driving in on the back post because we’re flashing crosses across the six-yard area and not quite dominating the back post. They are basics but they still have to be done. We are trying to mix our game and affect the game in as many different ways as we can.”

Dyche admitted that Demarai Gray “adds something different” to the team but his suggestion that it’s about trying to find the “right balance” to the side was an indication, perhaps, that he doesn’t see the club’s top scorer this season being named in the starting XI on Sunday.

The manager also brushed off talk that Alex Iwobi is unhappy at Everton now under the new regime and could make a loan move to Fenerbahçe before Sunday’s Super Lig transfer deadline. The Nigerian is expected to be in a team that will likely be unchanged from the one that started at Arsenal in midweek even though Seamus Coleman has been playing with a slight knee issue and Idrissa Gueye was hooked at half-time for his dreadful error that led to the Gunners’ second goal.

Forest had a rocky start to life back in the top flight as Steve Cooper grappled with integrating a dizzying number of new signings into his squad and there was talk at one stage in the autumn that he might lose his job.

The Tricky Trees now sit four points but five places above Everton coming into the weekend’s fixtures thanks to a home record that is the ninth best in the division. They’ve only been beaten three times on home turf all season, haven’t lost at the City Ground since mid-September and in their last game in front of their own supporters they held champions Manchester City to a 1-1 draw.

That outlines the task facing Everton who will face a team without Willy Boly, Scott McKenna, Taiwo Awoniyi, Moussa Niakhate,, Serge Aurier, Dean Henderson and, perhaps, Renan Lodi and Ryan Yates, but one boasting the aerial threat of Chris Wood, the midfield creativity of Morgan Gibbs-White and the speed in transition of Brennan Johnson.

If Everton can get amongst them early and grab an early goal, it would allow them to then settle into the kind of compact and hard-to-break-down shape that they employed against Arsenal and Leeds in Dyche’s first two home games.

Certainly, a goal for one of the forward players like Maupay or McNeil would provide a big shot in the arm for them personally but Dyche will take goals however they come at the moment — via a set-piece, a deflection, an own goal — because while he wouldn’t admit as much in his presser, this has something of a “cup final” edge to it for Everton who could move back out the bottom three with a win but will likely see Forest disappear over the horizon for good this season with a defeat.

Kick-off: 2pm, Sunday 5 March 2023
Referee: John Brooks
VAR: Paul Tierney
Last Time: Nottingham Forest 0 - 2 Everton (September 1998)

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Gueye, Onana, Doucouré, Iwobi, McNeil, Maupay


Reader Comments (119)

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Michael McFarlane
1 Posted 04/03/2023 at 06:22:21
Sounds like Dyche is not for turning. A tough away game, with super high stakes. I'd like to see Dyche freshen it up.

Replace Iwobi with Gray. Iwobi is not a winger. Wingers take men on, cross it, and press and tackle. He doesn't. If he plays, he has to be central where he did well last year.

Replace Doucouré with Iwobi or Davies. Both are better on the ball.

Mina is our best centre-back imo – pair him with Tarkowski.

Godfrey will need a run of games to find his best form again but that process needs to continue. He brings pace and tenacity in spades which we need. Bring him in for Mykolenko – when the lad goes forward, I have to watch through my hands.

Simms in for Maupey – he can't hit a barn door at 5 paces. Plus Dyche's style (and he's not for turning) is not for him.

We can beat these – COYB!!!

Jim Bennings
2 Posted 04/03/2023 at 07:07:22
I can't figure why Dyche thinks Maupay up top on his own is working.

"Neal is doing the right things at the moment."

But he's not scoring, Sean, and he's had numerous opportunities where he should have scored.

Why not change the formation and go two strikers with Gray on one flank, McNeil opposite, and then two central midfielders?

It's not like we ever really win the midfield duel in away games anyway, is it?

He's got to start getting more pace in the team, that includes in defence because the whole back four are too deep, too slow.

Tomorrow is huge, can't be put into context that there are only 13 games left and some of them are unwinnable for this Everton side such as Man Utd away.

Tomorrow and Brentford next week, another teak-tough game, but we've got to take a bare minimum of 4 points from these… we've got to.

We've got to find a way of scoring goals, if that means being a bit braver then do it man, you won't get any argument from the fans, we are all sick of seeing shithouse Everton just crumble with no attacking threat.

Go for it.

Darren Hind
3 Posted 04/03/2023 at 07:11:33
I think wholesale changes are needed at some point, Michael, but I'm not sure this is the time to do it.

We have little to lose by trying something or someone different up front but I think Dyche will feel he has made his point to some of the players he hauled off last week.

Derek Knox
4 Posted 04/03/2023 at 07:11:42
Michael, I think a few are getting a bit fed up with this sticking with the same set-up which isn't really working, expecting it to be different. I know I am, and the trait of leaving subs too late to have any impact, when we know time is running out too.

I'm still behind Dyche, but I wish he would do his experimentation at Finch Farm and not in important games. It wasn't his fault either inheriting a shit show and mis-matched players.

I still do not see this desire to play Davies, he looks the part, appears to be willing, but is truly awful in my honest opinion – mind you, the others around him are not a lot better but he can't pass to a Blue shirt if more than 5 yards. Enough said – I will have Dazza out of his cage defending the undefendable.

Hope John (Snr) is okay, Michael.

Jerome Shields
5 Posted 04/03/2023 at 07:14:24
Lyndon, there is an emphasis in your preview on the need for forward play and goals. At best there is one goal per game out of what Everton have presently got.

The emphasis needs to be on less goals at the other end and reducing the space between midfield and the final third, where all the damage is being done particularly in the first quarter of the second half.

Errors also have to be reduced. Gueye was the obvious error in the last game, but both Keane and Tarkowski have habitual errors in them. Dyche is right that Everton have improved making 'factual progress'.

But above all a draw needs to enter the vocab over the coming months, instead of collapse, because there will be many twists and turns in the end of season run in and every point will count.

Garry Martin
6 Posted 04/03/2023 at 07:28:12
Everton are now the "lowest scorers in the top five divisions of English football"…

Wow, I didn't know that, what a sad state of affairs at EFC.

Andy Meighan
7 Posted 04/03/2023 at 07:40:02
Unchanged = defeat.

I find his comments about Maupay is insulting us as fans, the lad isn't going to suddenly start banging them in for fun. He's played 4 games under Dyche and hasn't looked like scoring.

Anyone with half a brain cell would bring Gray or Simms in instead of Maupay. Not this fella by all accounts. Lowest scorers in the entire 4 divisions. Embarrassing totally and utterly embarrassing.

Jerome Shields
8 Posted 04/03/2023 at 07:43:43
'Factual Progress.'

'That is not to say there have been no positive signs in Dyche's opening month at the helm. Everton fully deserved their victory over Arsenal at Goodison. They battled to another three points against Leeds. At home, they have so far found a blueprint that at least keeps them competitive in games.

Against Leeds and Villa, they pressed high and dictated most of the play on their terms. Passes per defensive action (PPDA) counts how many passes a team allows the opposition to make before attempting to win the ball back and is a proxy for pressing intensity. The lower the number the better. In the win over Leeds, Everton's PPDA was 11. It was nine against Villa, versus a season average around 16. They are forcing chances through their work off the ball.

Everton made a season-high 44 passes into the box against Villa, 10 more than their next best this term. In that game, they regained the ball seven times in the final third, their second-best total of the season.”

The Athletic.

Thanks Steve Brown.

For 40 minutes against Arsenal, the above stats were boosted.

Also, the usual unfulfilled optimism in Calvert-Lewin as a savour is misplaced. The forward line may slightly improve with his introduction, being an additional forward option, but saving the season is beyond his capability and such unrealistic expectation are not helpful to his recovery. He is simply not that good.

Neil Lawson
9 Posted 04/03/2023 at 07:56:33
Lowest scorers. Wow. At least something we are best at.
Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:03:19
I think it's a bold shout coming out with the term 'factual progress', and I just hope that we pick up at least a point tomorrow, which given our appalling away record, would actually be a decent return.

It's absolutely crucial we don't lose tomorrow, and although a clean sheet would be brilliant, having to keep a clean sheet, just to gain one point, is obviously where our tipping point, has got to change.

Mal van Schaick
11 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:06:05
We can only be positive and get the result that we obviously need.

Dyche is trying to rally the players. If we play as we did in the home game versus Arsenal, we will get the 3 points, and who knows, we may get a guest appearance from Calvert-Lewin. We can win this game.

Brent Stephens
12 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:14:11
Dyche seems to have settled quickly on a more or less preferred line-up, that has had mixed results in the small number of games he’s had so far.

There are such widely varying opinions on how the formation and tactics could be improved that there seems no obvious answer, and it would be a case of “let’s try this to see if it works “.

Apart from in attack, I suspect the time to experiment might be in the games we already seem to have written off here - nothing lost but something possibly gained in what we know. For the likes of Forest, the only change I’d make would be to try somebody other than Maupay. And I would be tempted to try two up top. So Simms and Gray.

But who to drop in midfield?! And what formation does that then force us into in midfield?!

John Keating
13 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:15:20
Forest have a really good home record, however, this is a must win game for us. Anything other than 3 points is a massive, if not fatal blow.

Maupay has failed miserably so far and we cannot keep gambling on him to come good. Effort is great but we desperately need goals. He is not scoring or bringing others into play.

If DCL is fit then great, if not then it's time for a total and radical rethink.

The only time we look like scoring is from set pieces causing a bit of havoc in the box.
Maybe a central defender up front with McNeil and Gray either side picking up pieces????
One things for sure what we're going with recently is not working

Eddie Dunn
14 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:19:36
If we get a point, or even three, we can look at the remaining fixtures with a bit of hope.
However I fear that should we lose, even unluckily, we will be so low on morale that the task will be beyond us.
Before Dyche joined the party, this group of players gave us so many false dawns. One decent result would have us all thinking we had turned a corner, only to be brought down to earth with a bump in the following game.
The away game at our old ground was so uninspired after the heroics of beating the league leaders. We have been unable to sustain momentum for several seasons.
This game at Forest is pivotal in keeping us in touch with the rest. Defeat is not an option.
Danny O’Neill
15 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:23:54
25 years since our last trip to the City Ground. That sends a message.

A club that proudly wears two stars above their crest, reflecting their success as being champions of Europe twice. It demonstrate that you never take anything for granted. If we didn't know it already, take heed Everton.

In the past weeks, I've watched Seamus grab us a win with a blinder that came from nowhere. I left Goodison deflated after the Villa home result and then received my inevitable Arsenal away beating, which I took personally.

The wheel has to turn at some point. We can do this.

I'll travel tomorrow with belief. Not blind faith, although that will probably kick in at some point tomorrow, so you'll need to excuse me approaching kick off. Stand up and be counted Everton, because those thousands will be behind you if you show us you care as much as we do.

As a side note, I met with family last night as my sister and her husband are down from Liverpool.

He is a Kopite. They have three sons. Two of them reds, the other is an Everton season ticket holder.

My son and brother, both fanatic Evertonians were telling me I'm delusional and we're going down. They grew up in the Moyes era. I just sat quietly, looking confused. The red supporting brother-in-law leapt to my defence and stood up for Everton. And not in a patronising way.

Aiming to be in Nottingham around midday. See some of you there or in the ground. Those who know me, drop me a message. Let's go and do this.

Jack Convery
16 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:28:22
I would play Simms up front today. Forest have injury problems at centre-backand Simms should be given a chance to have a go at the two, who were in the defence for the 4-0 defeat to WHU.

Play Gray on the right and drop Doucoure and move Iwobo into the middle. Gueye is on a final warning and I expect him to have a good game.


3 points is a must. We must put pressure on Forest by dragging them right into the relegation fight. The ref should have his red card ready for Shelvey.

12 more after today. It's getting too much!! COYBS!!!

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:35:34
Lampard did the same thing with regards to using so few players Brent, and he also seemed reluctant to bring many players on with regards using his subs.

The constant chopping and changing of managers, has put us in this horrendous position, and whilst it would be easy to blame the directors of football, that we have employed, it's clear that having some stability is the only way things are going to change?

I'm surprised we haven't seen Yerry Mina, but another thing working against us, is that some players have been out in the wilderness for that long, that expecting them to just get right up to speed, is another thing that very rarely happens, because the league is just so physically demanding.

The biggest issue is confidence, and you know it's bad when the fans have got such little confidence in the players, but hopefully this will soon change. A lot rests on the shoulders, and hamstrings of Calvert-Lewin, and making sure we don't lose tomorrow.

Robert Tressell
18 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:38:31
John @ 13, it's not so simple as saying that it's not working.

Clearly we're not scoring but we are creating chances and the play is much more organised. We really should have beaten Villa playing as we did, for example.

We could bring in Simms and Gray and be slightly more likely to take our chances. However, we might also be less likely to create the chances and more likely to concede. Very delicate balance.

The fact is we have a very poor squad so none of this is straightforward.

Jim, I'm not sure what the issue with Calvert-Lewin is. He's no Haaland or Lewandowski – but he makes this 4-4-1-1 / 4-5-1 system work because of his physical attributes and work rate. He offers us in one player what Maupay and Simms offer us together. He is a huge miss.

Rob Dolby
19 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:39:22
Drop Maupay play Gray, play Doucouré right-midfield and Iwobi centrally.

Feels a bit like adjusting the deck chairs on the Titanic but I think that's as good as we have.

Sit tight and hit them on the break.

It's going to be a nervy game for both teams. First goal the winner.

Frank Sheppard
20 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:39:23
If Lyndons predicted line-up is correct, then is Sean Dyche sticking to a system that he thinks needs time and will work, or is he persisting with something that clearly won't work?

I would rest Coleman for Godfrey. Drop Gueye, and start Gray. I think we need a different approach, sitting back when you can't score in a brothel is never going to work.

Steve Brown
21 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:42:24
You're welcome, Jerome @ 8, although I don't think I used the words ‘factual progress' when I originally posted the extract.

I think was something along the lines of ‘in case you're feeling suidical..'!

Paul Birmingham
22 Posted 04/03/2023 at 08:51:26
Hopefully tomorrow Everton will be focused and up for a fight, and will earn the right to play.

This may be a slog of a game and fitness levels and desire will be vital.

Who is picked remains to be seen, but the team defends from attack back to the keeper.

Arsenal is history, flushed away and this is a massive game.

A win would be superb and a point is always good. For me, Gray should start as he has goal-scoring capability and can shoot.

Good old memories of Forest, the old-style ground, Everton have nicked a few wins there but not many over the years.

Tomorrow can be start to the rest of this campaign... Everton can win this game, and I believe that if they turn up for 95 minutes they will.


Jim Bennings
23 Posted 04/03/2023 at 09:15:14
I agree that both Gray and Godfrey need the start.

I'm not the biggest advocate of either player, both have lots of faults but the way I see it is we are crying out for some pace.

Gray is the only player likely to score three or four goals between now and the end of the season.

Christopher Timmins
24 Posted 04/03/2023 at 09:31:13
Folks, how could we think of starting Gana? Unfortunately, he is liable to make a major mistake which can prove fatal for our low-scoring side.

We need discipline and concentration from start to finish resulting in a clean sheet.

With so many games still to play it's a must-not-lose game rather than a must-win one.

Jerome Shields
25 Posted 04/03/2023 at 09:55:50
Steve #21,

I think you hit upon the substance of the 'factual progress ' that Dyche is referring to when he talked about the team at Finch Farm, and Lyndon mentions in his article.

Obviously, Dyche looks at all stats provided by the Data Analysts at Finch Farm and uses them as the basis of his coaching. It also explains why some players who are attacked for performance on threads, do in fact produce good stats.

Dyche is working on overall team performance, each player statistically playing their part, according to the stats. He is still trying to find the right balance which will translate the stats into results, as he says.

Actually, that was an outstanding post by you on that thread. I did not quote your opinion, but it was spot on.

Jeff Armstrong
26 Posted 04/03/2023 at 10:00:39
Frank @20,

Godfrey was awful when he replaced Seamus on Wednesday.

Coleman is not the issue, imo. Simms for Maupay and Gray for Gana with Iwobi coming into the middle would mix it up enough for me.

Kunal Desai
27 Posted 04/03/2023 at 10:10:14
I'd personally like to see Mina and Godfrey come in for Coleman and Keane.

Switch Iwobi to the middle. Drop Gana and Maupay for Gray and Simms. Start with your best line up.

This is a huge game and we may need 3 points here if Leeds and West Ham manage to take points today. It also puts added pressure to get those 3 points at home to a Brentford side who are well drilled under Frank and haven't lost in the league since October.

We have to win tomorrow.

Dave Williams
28 Posted 04/03/2023 at 10:25:19
If he is fit, I'd play Patterson in front of Seamus – he gives energy, pace and youthful hunger. I'd give Simms a start if Calvert-Lewin is not fit and maybe Ben Godfrey at left-back if he is showing well in training – again to inject some pace and athleticism:

Coleman Mina Tarkowski Godfrey
Patterson Onana Iwobi Doucouré McNeil

Eddie Dunn
29 Posted 04/03/2023 at 10:34:25
Kunal -there is no way that West Ham will stay down with the other bottom feeders. They have goals in their team and some quality throughout. Leeds though, are a shambles.
Today we have the chance to drag Forest back into the mire. We need as many teams within touching distance as possible, so that three of them are below us at the bitter end.
Tomorrow at the City Ground,will the real Slim Shadies eventually please stand up?
Alan J Thompson
30 Posted 04/03/2023 at 10:36:05
This is a must win game!?! Which ones weren't or are some of us now siding with Mr Moshiri's expectations? And the stats back up Dyche's selections, except the stats on goals and wins but do the stats start again with every new Manager? I would like to think that performance is taken into consideration every now and then but is that called "factual progress"? Yeah, we won a couple but it was a short lived comeback. It really is depressing.
Gavin McGarvey
31 Posted 04/03/2023 at 10:38:35
I'd like to see Dyche tweak things a little bit. There's not a lot of room for manoeuvre personnel wise, but I think it's a mistake to be too inflexible. I can see why he isn't playing Gray but goals are a big problem. Everton are in a tough spot, but there has been a little bit of progress, and we just have to hope that Dyche can find enough small changes to get us a result. COYB.
Tony Everan
32 Posted 04/03/2023 at 11:01:33
First and foremost we have to keep it tight tomorrow, close down faster, give them no space. The home crowd will go quiet. There will be a good few chances for us in this match, we simply have to execute them better.

I think this one is very winnable if we can focus for 90 mins like against Arsenal and Leeds. From the off Forest will be energetic and having a go at us, see that off and we will get a foothold.

4411. Free role for Gray to attack or play off DCL. Garner is tough but also can deliver a very decent cross. McNeill showing good commitment and can cross too. Mina adds quality, and statistically when he plays we win more matches.

Touch and go but Godfrey for Myko who is one dimensional. Godfrey has done ok at LB and has some tenacity and recovery pace, but is very suspect positionally. Coleman has been solid, I’d stick with him at the moment. Gana the biggest concern, I’d be asking for a big response here.

A tough no nonsense team, with a sprinkling of attacking creativity in the shape of Gray . This set up can get us a goal or two. If DCL still isn’t ready , play Simms as a more direct replacement.


Coleman Mina Tarkowski Godfrey

Garner Gana Onana McNeill

>>>>>>>Gray DCL

Also no problem giving the creativity role to Iwobi in place of Gray , though I think Gray is slightly more likely to produce a goal .

Danny Baily
33 Posted 04/03/2023 at 11:22:21
This could be the weekend we get right back into fight to stay up. A great deal hinges on Chelsea beating Leeds. If they do, and we can win, we'll be out of the bottom three and have dragged Forest right into the mix.

Also, if DCL could come back in a get a goal a game a la Super Kev that wouldn't go amiss.

Make or break weekend.

Tony Graham
34 Posted 04/03/2023 at 11:31:50
A goal, a goal my kingdom for a goal!!
Chris Jenkins
35 Posted 04/03/2023 at 12:00:58
Danny O'Neill #15

Brilliant comment-you are absolutely correct particularly your words "we can do this"

It is so important to remain positive about our prospects for turning things around

The wheel will indeed turn

Raymond Fox
36 Posted 04/03/2023 at 12:19:51
I think Dyche is as confused as we are and has decided to stick with the same players every week on the basis it might work eventually!

Without DCL we don't look like scoring unless its from corners and the odd free kick.
Gray does bring some threat with the ball at his feet but Dyche doesn't see him fitting the system it seems.

We badly need some good fortune in front of goal tomorrow and help from our relegation rivals today as well.

Kevin Naylor
37 Posted 04/03/2023 at 12:32:41
If he doesnt change it we'll get beat, better to try something new than picking the same old deadwood and discussing the same failings after each game. Come on Dyche grow a pair and try something different, at least if we have a go and get relagated everyone will accept that. Just doing the same thing week in week out and losing wont endear you to the fans imo.
Phil Sammon
38 Posted 04/03/2023 at 12:41:57
Bahahaha. Gordon, you c**t.
Allan Board
39 Posted 04/03/2023 at 12:56:32
What's this factual progress stuff? So progress on paper then- pity games of football are won and lost on grass pitches with all the emotions that go with it then!
Here's a few real,on the pitch facts- Gana is too mistake ridden for the responsibility of position placed upon him - Docoure is just a crap footballer- our defence is so absent minded they should be tested neurologicaly- and if Dyche can't see we need to play 2 up top we are buggered and won't score enough goals to stay up.
Stop talking bollucks and simplify the game for goodness sake Seany boy.
We need goals,not data- tell DCL he is playing whether he likes it or not and put Simms/Grey next to him. Cut out midfield other than to kick shit out of the opposition and launch it at their goal. No play from the back 4, just launch it and fight for the bits- which means no snowflakes in our team please- if necessary play youth and pray we get Patterson, Garner and Townshend back in this team quick. No time to build statistics- straightforward, direct and contentious play is what's required. Fuck the red or yellow cards,just do it.
Mick Conalty
40 Posted 04/03/2023 at 13:28:01
Kunal #27
Your Ref. Frank @ Brentford
Kenwright to Mosh go and get me Frank that's how we ended up with lovable
Dale Self
41 Posted 04/03/2023 at 14:02:14
Dyche is picking the same 11 to secure some much needed consistency in what they at least try to do with the ball. He is not bringing someone who can’t defend effectively and is focused on getting regular patterns of positioning to create one-twos and minimize risk on turnovers. Iwobi is prescribed to do certain things when he prefers creative input. It wont change until the mistakes stop

It isn’t being rigid or daft. It is basic stuff that umraveled as Rafa and Frank looked for solutions changing lineups and formations just fhe sake.of avoiding the last dusaster. And givibg Frank a scapegoat. I think he is diing the most sensible thing he can with such a frail bunch of footballers

Brian Wilkinson
42 Posted 04/03/2023 at 14:08:28
I would go for it tomorrow put a side out to attack Forest.

I would go with both Maupay and Simms from the start, Bring Grey in on the right and McNeil on the left, I would sacrifice either Guaye or Doucouré and move Iwobi back to a more central position.

Few tweaks here and there and if we get into a position where we have a lead, make the changes then, take one of the forwards off and put either Doucouré, Guaye or Garner on, from the bench.

Neville Wellings
43 Posted 04/03/2023 at 14:15:52
Although there's an understandable groundswell of opinion to drop Gana and or Doucoure for mistakes made no one seems to have noticed the non contribution of Onana. Lolloping up an down the pitch behind the ball not engaging with the play therefore not making mistakes including long stretches of play without touching the ball is part of our teams malaise. Of all our players he has the most potential and its about time we saw some of it.
Robert Tressell
44 Posted 04/03/2023 at 14:19:49
I agree Dale. It is boring and frustrating but I suspect its the right thing to do.

Whilst the present first XI is not exactly setting the world alight, there is every possibility that the alternatives actually make us worse not better.

That said I would like Gray and Simms to get more minutes. Patterson, Garner and Godfrey too should have some part to play yet, too.

David Midgley
45 Posted 04/03/2023 at 14:22:54
It seems as though this team and management are finally drawing the life out the supporters.
I expected far more posts after the Arsenal game .
If you're banging a nail into a wall and you keep missing but keep hitting your thumb
you will destroy it. You might eventually hit the nail.
We need two up front. Maupay on his past record isn't going to score.
Even a cyclops with a runny eye can see that.
Kieran Kinsella
46 Posted 04/03/2023 at 14:50:19

It’s Allardyce 2.0 but as you say it’s probably the best way of utilizing the team we have

Sam Hoare
47 Posted 04/03/2023 at 14:58:03
Dale@41 I tend to agree. The performances have been better than the results (bar Liverpool and second half arsenal). Continuity is helpful bar the odd tweak and I’m not sure we have anyone who would make a big difference. Gray may get the odd goal but he’s not a reliable worker and Dyches system would be let down by weakest link. And Simms is very raw and struggle to hold up the ball.

Perhaps one of them might come in but I think too much change may do more harm than good.

The one for me is probably Mina, our best defender when fit and a real threat from set pieces.

Paul Kossoff
48 Posted 04/03/2023 at 15:12:23
Bournemouth scored after nine seconds.
Graham Hammond
49 Posted 04/03/2023 at 15:28:29
I think Dyche needs to watch our first four games of the season if he hasn't already, in my opinion, Alex Iwobi was our best player on every single occasion! A complete waste of a player as a wing-back or when pushed out wide, no excuses really Sean, it isn't as if Gana or Doucoure, or Onana have been ripping up trees either, none of them are as good as Alex in the centre. Apologies to Mike Price and Christy Ring and others who believe that taking our most creative player out of the starting eleven is the way to go, not for me though. Alex Iwobi is not a wide player, please adjust things, Sean, our survival depends on it! And Yerry Mina has to be in there regardless, our best CB by far. Onana has to seriously step up if he starts tomorrow, a great shout by Neville (#43) and fully agreed.
Ralph Basnett
50 Posted 04/03/2023 at 15:30:13
No fight in any of our players, it’s not just the lack of a forward which Mosh promised us.

They are not bothered because it is win win for a premiership player relegated, especially if their is no relegation clause.

Once we go dow, and we will, the management will assess who they need and ask the one they don’t want to leave.

We will not receive any transfer fees as no one except us buys relegated teams players, see where that got us, and so they will negotiate to be released from their contracts and get a signing on fee from whoever is mental enough to sign them

Then we rebuild with more journeymen who will be shit and get long contracts.

It’s a long road when you go down as we are about to find out.

Nice new stadium though!!!!!

Martin Mason
51 Posted 04/03/2023 at 16:10:16
When SD says ""Neal is doing the right things at the moment." it isn't as daft as it sounds. Neal may be doing what he wants and the rest of them not doing what they should to fit into his vison of what the team should achieve.
Christy Ring
52 Posted 04/03/2023 at 16:22:13
2-0 B’mouth Definitely need to put in a performance tomorrow
Christy Ring
53 Posted 04/03/2023 at 16:22:13
2-0 B’mouth Definitely need to put in a performance tomorrow
Ray Jacques
54 Posted 04/03/2023 at 16:55:54
Forest good at home, we're abysmal away.
Wonder what will happen??
Robert Tressell
55 Posted 04/03/2023 at 16:59:17
Thank god for that Reiss Nelson. Out of contract too in summer. Get on the phone to his agent Thelwell
Kieran Kinsella
56 Posted 04/03/2023 at 17:04:21

Why would Thelwell want Nelson? Surely there’s an older injury prone Arsenal player on a massive contract we could pay a huge fee for?

Frank Sheppard
57 Posted 04/03/2023 at 17:06:47
Statistically the best result we can hope for is 0-0. Against a newly promoted team, how sad.
Christy Ring
58 Posted 04/03/2023 at 17:08:19
Kieran we could always try a swap for Iwobi, they'd jump at the chance!
Richard Lyons
59 Posted 04/03/2023 at 17:12:29
We can go above Leicester into the nosebleed territory of 15th place, if we win 14-0... COYB!
Kieran Kinsella
60 Posted 04/03/2023 at 17:14:46

Maybe we can trick Moyes into buying Iwobi if he doesn’t get the sack

Will Mabon
61 Posted 04/03/2023 at 17:25:06
Kieran, Iwobi won't get the sack.
Charles Brewer
62 Posted 04/03/2023 at 17:25:57
Kieran, I think we prefer crippled/drunken/senile ManU players to Arsenal ones.

I have no expectations of anything positive tomorrow. 2-0 Forest is my expectation without a single shot bothering the home goalie.

I see Richarlison got 6 minutes on the pitch today with Spuds losing. Still at least we didn’t waste the money we got in a footballer.

Ted Donnelly
63 Posted 04/03/2023 at 17:35:53
Just looked at our remaining fixtures and optimistically can only see another 12/13 points which will leave us on 33/34.
Will that be enough cos looking at those around us I've calculated that they could all end up the same if not better.
The only "tactic" left for me is to tell these c**ts to get a fuckin grip and go all dogs of war big time.
Will Mabon
64 Posted 04/03/2023 at 17:48:43
Ted, this might be time for the one game at a time approach...

Charles, accentuating the positive as far as possible - Forest are the next lowest goal scorers after Everton but have conceded 6 more. I know they're better at home but our defence is unlikely to get peppered if we hold it together, as in the earlier part of the Arsenal game.

I can't offer much upfront, but we must be due a good one soon...?

Joe McMahon
65 Posted 04/03/2023 at 18:08:59
Kevin@37, fully agree sir. I've seen a fair but of Burnley over the years and I saw my brother in law last week who is a Claret ST holder. We had a good catch up about Mr Dyche, and both agreed he has to start being more flexible in his approach.

On the whole its the same tactics, and players no matter who is available and whoever is the opposition.

Emery did his homework on Everton, and Cooper Big Teeth will have done also. Big Sean maybe needs to fathom out the opposite team also.

John McFarlane Snr
66 Posted 04/03/2023 at 18:29:57
Hi Derek, thank you for your concern, but Michael only shares the same surname and is not related to me. To answer your question, "I am still clinging onto the hope of attending our first fixture at the Bramley Moore Stadium, [hopefully as a Premier League side.]

I am looking forward to a 12-30pm home game, which could enable a ToffeeWeb get-together, where all things 'Everton' could be debated in a civilized manner.

Ernie Baywood
67 Posted 04/03/2023 at 18:49:00
I fully expect Dyche to stick with his formula. What he seems to be saying in his conferences is that the underlying stats are saying we will pick up some points if we keep doing what we're doing. The luck will even out and with incremental improvements we'll go close to a point a game over a decent given period. That will give us a chance.

I don't see it from the remaining fixtures. You can't argue that any of the next 12 teams we play are weaker than us. There will be big games where we need to go for it. And this is one.

I've been an advocate of giving DCL time
to heal but if there's any chance then he needs to play against Forest's depleted defence. If not then it has to be 2 up front.

Continuing to play the odds away to Forest gives us a big chance of defeat. I think we need to go for it and drag another team back into the mix. They know it's a big game for them... we could do with turning up.

Peter Moore
68 Posted 04/03/2023 at 18:51:39
Ever the optimist, I am hoping DCL makes a surprise return to lead the line. May he stride forth with a mammoth performance and launch us to the promised land of goals and victory. COYBB.
Matthew Williams
69 Posted 04/03/2023 at 19:09:59
If that's our starting line up then am afraid it'll be more away day misery for us.

I would try young Mills on the right wing and play Iwobi in the middle next to Onana,let Gray play a free role behind the Striker as he's still our best chance of actually scoring!

Dyche needs to be much braver and be less cautious,as we desperately need to win our next two games... sadly Blues he won't be and Forest will do us methinks.

2-1 Forest.

Denis Richardson
70 Posted 04/03/2023 at 19:33:20
Loads of games to go but I can't help feeling that the next two will decide our fate. Forest away then Brentford (hopefully without Toney) at home. (Next three after Chelsea, Spurs, Manu!)

Just 6 points separate the bottom 9 clubs, it's crazy. A couple of decent results and any club can pull away. Here's hoping we can start tomorrow with a decent result. Win would be immense but at the very least please do not lose. Even draws very important at this stage, especially away from home against another team near the bottom.

Getting tense. At least 3 of the sides around us lost today.

David McMullen
71 Posted 04/03/2023 at 19:45:26
We have to win tomorrow. Can we have a conventional 442 with lots of centres please? Hoping praying that DCL is fit to play.
Denis Richardson
72 Posted 04/03/2023 at 19:46:04
Ted 63 - I optimistically get 14 points which will do nicely.

That does however include getting something from tomorrows game...

Paul Hewitt
73 Posted 04/03/2023 at 19:48:58
Ted@63. I have us finishing on only 30 points.
Derek Knox
74 Posted 04/03/2023 at 19:54:24
Hi John, glad to know you are as well as a Spring Chicken and still focused on Bramley Moore Stadium opening and another TW Get Together. Apologies too, I always assumed Michael was a relative. I know John (Jnr) is but haven't seen his posts for a while. What a mess we are in, and today's results didn't do us too many favours. Take care John.
Mick Davies
75 Posted 04/03/2023 at 20:19:09
Lowest scorers in the league, and don't play the top scorer from the start! Only Everton that
Alec Gaston
76 Posted 04/03/2023 at 20:24:15
Although like a lot of supporters I feel mentally drained we can still escape this - we weren’t scoring under Lampard either so nothing has changed there, so we have to make Goodison like it was for Newcastle, Chelsea, Man U and Palace last season for the remainder of our home games - hopefully the investment will bring the change at the top we are all demanding - until let’s drag this bunch to safety
Neil Copeland
77 Posted 04/03/2023 at 21:12:23
Our problem is scoring goals. Had we taken our chances against Villa we probably would have won. We may have got something against Arsenal too.

So far under SD we have played reasonably well. To make wholesale changes would be suicide. I would make one change only to the actual eleven by bringing in Gray and play him as a more advanced winger/inside forward type position. I would drop Onana and leave the rest of the team alone.

I think I read that Seamus is suffering from a sore knee which is why he was taken off against Arsenal.

We can do this but we need keep doing the things that have worked so far.


Kieran Kinsella
78 Posted 04/03/2023 at 21:48:03

I agree with bringing in Gray and leaving the rest the same. People are panicked obviously but so far Dyche has a 50 percent win rate. And as you point, to use a Koeman term “productivity” has been much better even in the two games we lost.

Grant Rorrison
79 Posted 04/03/2023 at 21:52:38
Kieran 78. Despite losing 3 out of his first 5 games? Nothing to worry about then!
Neil Copeland
80 Posted 04/03/2023 at 21:58:03

As an overall team we look better at the moment than we did under Frank. The biggest crime perhaps was in not making the change sooner. Had we brought in SD at the start of the World Cup break I think we would have beaten Wolves and Southampton and bet even have another striker to give us some potency.

Can’t turn back the clock unfortunately and have to hope SD finds a way to get us some goals.

Neil Copeland
81 Posted 04/03/2023 at 22:00:42
Grant, a 40 percent win rate is a good return.
Iakovos Iasonidis
82 Posted 04/03/2023 at 23:44:58
Clicking the "last time" section is pure magic.
Last Time: Nottingham Forest 0 - 2 Everton (September 1998)
A real journey down memory lane, I love it! About tommorow 's game..."I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free." Nikos Kazantzakis.
Derek Knox
83 Posted 05/03/2023 at 00:11:09
Lakovos, " Nikos Kazantzakis. " Is he available tomorrow, and I hope is a striker !

Oh Wait a Minute. It says beware of Greeks bearing Gifts ! :-)

Will Mabon
84 Posted 05/03/2023 at 00:12:26
Iakovos, this one got me - first in the "unavailable" players list... Bilic.
Paul Kossoff
85 Posted 04/03/2023 at 00:22:59
Everton are actually third lowest scorers in all 14 leagues in British, Welsh and Irish football. Who takes the blame for that I wonder. Three points today a must. Coyb.
Jerome Shields
86 Posted 04/03/2023 at 04:17:31
John #66,

Good Luck today. Glad to hear from you.

Phil Smith
87 Posted 05/03/2023 at 05:48:52
We need at least 2 away wins if we are to stay up. Lose this and I can't see where the other one will be.
Danny O’Neill
88 Posted 05/03/2023 at 06:44:42
John Senior,

Good to hear from you. Yes, a get together to discuss the passion in our lives is always welcome.

About to take the dog out and then hit the road (well train) to Nottingham.

To quote a Beatles song, Don't let me down, Everton.

Sam Hoare
89 Posted 05/03/2023 at 07:51:26
Forest have only lost 3 out of 12 at home this season and we have only managed 1 away win. So the odds are against us.

I expect we will see a similar setup and lineup and I expect we will create some half chances. But someone has to score them.

First goal scorer will be crucial in what will likely be a low scoring affair and in just hoping that Tarkowski or Obama or Doucoure can scramble one in off a corner. I’ll take the ugliest goal ever so long as we score it first and hold on for 3 points.

Tony Everan
90 Posted 05/03/2023 at 08:58:37
This is where Sean Dyche earns his money. Premier League safety won’t be handed to us on a plate, it has to be earned. The players will have to roll their sleeves up and battle like never before. Dyche is the man to get them to produce the goods. Games like today are prime opportunities to atone for the damaging defeats under Lampard.

I’d be more concerned if our two wins under Dyche were fortunate. I thought the wins were fully deserved and we were organised and systematic about our play. We need more of the same, grind teams down and then it comes down to us taking our chances. And this is it, the sharp end, chances must be taken. No ifs or buts.

Our forwards , midfielders or even defenders, have to cast aside nerves or hesitancy in front of goal, and just go for it. They need to access their inner caveman and bypass any white noise. Just have one single focus for any chance that comes along, and that’s to burst the back of the net with wild eyed relish.


Ernie Baywood
91 Posted 05/03/2023 at 08:59:45
Neil, we've scored 2 in 5 games. One header from a corner and one freakish goal by a right back who was the only player in the final third.

The difference in how we might look isn't particularly significant. The fact is, we're just as ineffective so far under Dyche.

Neil Copeland
92 Posted 05/03/2023 at 09:07:21
Ernie, I don’t think it really matters how we score or who scores it. In the 2 games under Dyche where we scored first, we went on to win the game. Under Frank, we would have lost both games based on the farce against Wolves and Southampton.

Not trying to say we don’t need to start scoring and like today but we look much stronger in defence once we have scored.

Joe Digney
93 Posted 05/03/2023 at 09:12:55
Just fucking win, Everton, for gods' sakes, it's that simple.
Robert Tressell
94 Posted 05/03/2023 at 09:29:52
The problem is not with Sean Dyche but with the squad. Coady and Tarkowski aren't much of an upgrade on Holgate and Keane. Gueye is worse than Allan. Richarlison and Gordon are gone.

Make no mistake our first XI each week is much weaker than last season.

Dyche has definitely improved the organisation, the defending and the creation of chances.

If we had bought say Ouattara and Jackson as Bournemouth did, I'd have no doubt we'd stay up.

However, the fact people are talking about playing Keane up front says it all about what a disadvantage Dyche has.

Personally I don't see he's doing much wrong. Although there are alternatives they aren't "better" they're just a different version of flawed and could very easily be worse.

That said, I could see us putting 3 past Forest today because if you do keep making chances at some point the luck changes and they go in. We could easily have had 3 in each of the games against Arsenal, Leeds and Villa.

Martin Mason
95 Posted 05/03/2023 at 09:33:11
Why does Dyche play Iwobi out wide when it has clearly been demonstrated that he is far better in a central role?
Oh well, just another must win game.
Matt Henderson
96 Posted 05/03/2023 at 09:40:52
Robert at 94 - Exactly!!! Whoever Dyche picks it is just different shades of shite!
Danny O’Neill
97 Posted 05/03/2023 at 09:56:16
About to depart St Pancras. Quite a few Forest supporters on the train, which surprised me. I'm definitely in the minority if not a singleton.
Neil Copeland
98 Posted 05/03/2023 at 10:04:20
Danny, just about to leave the house for Crewe where there are normally a few blues. Safe journey and catch up at the game if we can.
Dean Williams
99 Posted 05/03/2023 at 10:11:42
Must win. Nothing more to say.
Danny O’Neill
100 Posted 05/03/2023 at 10:15:38
You too Neil. We're on our way and hopefully catch up with a few of you there.
Danny Baily
101 Posted 05/03/2023 at 10:37:40
Win today and we're right back in this. Has to be a win. Could be a real turning point.
Terry Downes
102 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:02:18
We go again untill we’re mathematically down ?Lack of a striker will send us down eventually, We had all summer and the widow to recruit one or two but decided we had enough with DCL ? How many teams in the prem rely on one striker ? Dereliction of duty comes to mind from all parties manager upwards.
Christopher Timmins
103 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:05:58
While a win today would be great and 9 points from the first 6 games would be a great return for the new manager, a draw would not be the end of the world given how yesterday's results panned out. What we cannot have is a defeat with a failure to score. Such a scenario would bring unwanted negative momentum into the Brentford game next weekend.

I am sure Danny will be well able to look after himself on the journey to and from Nottingham!

Dale Self
104 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:14:16
So for some of you it is hard to see the improvement from Frank’s team performances? Okay.
Brian Hennessy
105 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:15:16
Seems like an eternity since we won a penalty or had a red card for the opposing team.

So I am predicting a 1-0 win for us with a penalty scored after the Forest keeper gets red carded.

Come to think of it. Who is our penalty taker with DCL not on the pitch?

Kevin Molloy
106 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:17:45
is this Hell?
Mike Connolly
107 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:21:41
Iwobbi the last peno
Tony Abrahams
108 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:29:07
Purgatory Kevin. Hell is the devil telling us that we have had some good times.

Matt Henderson
109 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:38:50
Brian at 105 - I’ve been wondering that for weeks. Shows how poor strikers of the ball we have because I think it would have to be Pickford to take them
Ernie Baywood
110 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:39:25
Not exactly night and day is it, Dale?

We played better and lost against Southampton. Played worse and won against Leeds. The Southampton game came down to a lack of goalscorers and mistakes in defence. ie the exact same issues we're seeing now.

We've not cut out mistakes in defence. And I don't blame the manager for that. He's dealing with what he's got. He's also lacking firepower just as the last man did.

I see differences. But I see much more as being exactly the same. If change doesn't result in more goals scored or fewer conceded then is there any point in it?

The bit that bothers me is that I don't see any effort to address the issue that will send us down if we can't even slightly improve it.

I don't think anyone would argue that Dyche is being bold or brave in attack. I didn't expect him to be those things either so it's no surprise.

It does beg the question though. What was the point?

Dave Abrahams
111 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:39:33
It’s hard for me to imagine Everton getting those six points Dyche’s team gained if Lampard had still been manager, five games he’s been in charge with the same players Frank had but I feel a lot more confident of getting points with Sean as manager than I ever did with Frank. Surely he needs more than five games but obviously the blame lies with the people who assembled this jigsaw of a squad over the last few years rather than Benitez, Lampard or Dyche.

Going back to the summer recruitment when Koeman was manager a journalist who had been around with a few National papers, Paul Hetherington then writing for The Sunday Star and Sunday Express, said to me “ Aren’t Kenwright, Moshiri. Walsh and Koeman speaking to each other, they’ve bought three players for one position” I told him they were all spending one man’s money which he had left in control of his friend Kenwright who didn’t seem to mind how Moshiri’s money was being spent.

At the moment this mess is being tried to be sorted out by Sean Dyche while the man who played a big part in creating the mess has walked away and seemingly done a Pontios Pilot and washed his hands of the whole business.

Jay Harris
112 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:42:15
It’s not just that we didn’t bring a cf in it I’d that we didn’t even sign s hosldcoring midfielder nor winger.
We sold Richy and Gordon so we rely totally on Demarai Gray as the only goal scorer besides DCL.
I don’t know about sack the board we should shoot the board.
Sean Roe
113 Posted 05/03/2023 at 11:55:40
At least we are getting players into the opposition box and players running beyond their back line now, that never happened under Lampard. For that reason alone we will score more goals.

Forest 0 v 1 Everton

Dale Self
114 Posted 05/03/2023 at 12:02:46
Ernie. “Fact is we are jusr as ineffective as under Frank” then “i see differences but…”. Which one are we discussing? Is it more organized? Does he have a better record?
Ray Smith
115 Posted 05/03/2023 at 12:07:24
Dave 111

Oh so true.
I fear that even with a 20% share and positions on the board in the offing, Kenwright won’t be the one shown the door (I pray that I’m 100% wrong).
The only positive in all of this current debacle is Sean Dyche.
Fortunately for us, he is a man of honour and will stick with us through thick and thin given the chance.
He had the Italian dirty tricks brigade at Watford, who stabbed him in the back, then the Burnley debacle where he was hung out to dry (imo) so he’s been there, and has a skin thick enough to deal with the likes of Kenwright and co.
SD is doing the best he can with what he has got, and given that chance will turn it around, but not overnight.
Hoping for a win today, and Brentford at home next weekend. I’d take 4 points from our next 2 games 🤞🤞🤞

Danny O’Neill
116 Posted 05/03/2023 at 12:12:31
Right. We're here. We're going in.

Going radio silence for a few hours. See you on the other side. Blues.

Robert Williams
118 Posted 05/03/2023 at 12:33:25
DB101 - A turning point or a point of no return?
Derek Knox
119 Posted 05/03/2023 at 12:33:46
Best wishes to all travelling today, and good luck to the team, I admire you all in many ways, but often feel that unstinting loyalty of away support is often and too sadly undeserved by those represented in the team. Although since Dyche has been here the signs are, a more organised unit and some sort of game plan, again sadly let down by a lack of goals. Hoping (there's that word again) today we will see a change, we must do or else it is an even steeper and slippier slope to climb.


Kevin Molloy
120 Posted 05/03/2023 at 12:59:02
it's getting that way that we'l soon need wins just to stay bottom. Bournemouth lost yesterday but holy shit, I didn't like how they stood up to that team that blew our house down midweek. And just look at plucky little soton. Thank god for West Ham and Leeds, but who is the other team we can rely on to be dreadful? It might just be Forest. Right about now a mid table team often starts to drop like a stone, we will know more at four. I was thinking last night, that may know an awful lot more about our fate by late afternoon. if we win, you would think we'll be safe, and if we get beat, you would think we're headed into hell. But actually, that's not true. we could pull off a win today, but so what, it's only what wolves and soton did. We are going to be in this tumble dryer for the next fifteen weeks. Every week. just like May 1994. Only this time we re going into games with nobody in the team that likes scoring goals. If SD keeps us up this year, he's going to earn that bonus. I can only imagine the sort of sensational supercar that Mrs Dyche will wake up to in early June, delivered in the night by our loony of an owner.

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