Sheffield United vs Everton

31/08/2023 33comments  |  Jump to last
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Dwight McNeil has resumed full training but might not be risked from the start

With the transfer window now closed, Everton make their second trip away from Goodison Park of the new season when they to Sheffield United for the lunchtime Saturday kick-off.

The Blues come into the game again sitting on the bottom of the Premier League with no points and no goals but some heart will have been taken from new attacking signings Beto and Arnaut Danjuma opening their accounts against Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

Everton recovered from a horrendous first-half display against the side sitting in last place among the EFL's 72 clubs to overturn a 1-0 deficit thanks to Danjuma's late winner and Sean Dyche will be hoping to use it as a small platform on which to build some momentum in the League.

While it looks as though his squad will be weaker coming out of the window as Alex Iwobi and Neal Maupay finalise moves to West London, Dyche has at least been boosted by the news that Dwight McNeil has resumed full training after recovering from an ankle injury.

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The wide man suffered minor ligament damage in the bruising pre-season friendly at Stoke last month and has missed the first four matches of the season but in his press conference at Finch Farm today, Sean Dyche revealed that McNeil has rejoined the rest of the team.

"Dwight's just back on the grass with our training group," the manager said. "He's been on the grass a few days but he's back with our training group today so he's another one we'll have to make a decision on but he's feeling pretty strong."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, meanwhile, is in with a chance of facing his former club despite fracturing his cheekbone almost a fortnight ago at Aston Villa.

The striker was sidelined for the visit of Wolves last weekend as the swelling on his face subsided and he sought an assessment from a London specialist and the good news is that the injury won't require any surgery.

"There was a minor situation on his sinus area," Dyche explained, "and it's delicate, so he's got to be careful. The good news he's managed to train through it to keep fit.

"Regarding this weekend, it's more of a touch-and-go situation. Maybe [he'll have to wear a mask]."

The other big positive for Dyche and Everton, though, is that Beto made a positive impact following his arrival in a £26m deal on Tuesday and his anticpated full debut on Saturday would reduce the pressure on Calvert-Lewin to rush back and risk contact to his face, even with the protection afforded by a mask.

Vitalii Mykolenko came off with a knock against Doncaster and is a doubt, meaning that Ashley Young is likely to keep his place at left back while Jarrad Branthwaite is expected to return to the side along with James Tarkowski after sitting out the cup game.

With a nominal striker in the line-up and assuming McNeil isn't risked from the start, Danjuma should shift to wide left with James Garner on the right and the usual trio in the centre of Idrissa Gueye, Amadou Onana and Abdoulaye Doucouré.

Sheffield United's start to their first season back in the top flight in three years has only been marginally better than Everton's. They were narrowly beaten by Crystal Palace at home on the opening day and lost by a single goal at Nottingham Forest a week later before being edged at Bramall Lane by Champions Manchester City last time out.

Added to that, they went out of the EFL Cup on Wednesday evening with a defeat to League One Lincoln City on penalties so morale in the Blades' camp won't be especially high coming into this.

It's unlikely to be a classic, with two struggling teams slugging it out for their first points of the season but Dyche will no doubt be hoping that with a genuine striker leading the line, his team will have enough.

Kick-off: 12:30pm, Saturday 2 September, 2023
Referee: Andy Madley
VAR: Simon Hooper
Last Time: Sheffield United 0 - 1 Everton, 26 December 2020

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Young, Gueye, Onana, Garner, Danjuma, Doucouré, Beto


Reader Comments (33)

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Dean Williams
1 Posted 31/08/2023 at 17:47:04
Straight in on theft. Deserves his spot back as looked better than anyone else there last season.
Robert Williams
2 Posted 31/08/2023 at 18:20:22
Dean, You reckon we can 'steal' a win eh?
Tony Everan
3 Posted 31/08/2023 at 18:21:22
Our best player the last few months of last season; great news to have him back.

The forward line McNeil, Beto, Harrison is going to cause problems for a lot of defences.

As will Danjuma, Calvert-Lewin, Gnonto or Sulemana …. Some serious strength in depth and options at last.

David McMullen
4 Posted 31/08/2023 at 18:27:34
Everton will be transformed. You Beto believe it.
Neil Lawson
5 Posted 31/08/2023 at 18:43:43
Just a few short months ago, McNeil was being pilloried by many TW contributors.
Billy Shears
6 Posted 31/08/2023 at 18:59:23
More good news, we're shaping up it seems. It could be so different after the International break in terms of personnel involved. But we need to win on Saturday to just get off the bottom of the Premier League.

Now that would be a real booster for everyone at our beloved club.

Sam Hoare
7 Posted 31/08/2023 at 19:11:08
McNeil on left with Harrison on right and then Danjuma playing behind Beto or Calvert-Lewin is a pretty decent front 4 that should suit Dyche down to the ground.

It's the other end that worries me. I think I'd be tempted to loan out Patterson and maybe stick Garner at right-back.

Brian Wilkinson
8 Posted 31/08/2023 at 19:12:16
I would wait until after the international break and would not be rushing the guy straight back in. He's a very important player for us; we cannot afford to take a chance for one game.
Mark Taylor
9 Posted 31/08/2023 at 19:20:19
Now we seem to have a decent back-up, Calvert-Lewin can sit this one out. Much more important is getting McNeil back in, but only if he is 100%.

I've said elsewhere that in our club, players' reputations tend to be enhanced the longer they sit out* but in McNeil's case, he was our best player in the last few months of last season.

* Obviously this does not apply to Gomes, Keane, Gbamin and Maupay.

Mal van Schaick
10 Posted 31/08/2023 at 19:42:40
The decent players that we have got alongside our new signings will start to make a difference and, as others have pointed out, the international break will allow some of the injured to make progress and enable Dyche to work on the training ground with the new signings.

Let's kick off with a win over Sheffield Utd.

John Pickles
11 Posted 31/08/2023 at 19:43:18
I would at least have McNeil and Calvert-Lewin on the bench, in the hope there's no room for Maupay.
Jay Harris
12 Posted 31/08/2023 at 19:51:54
This time last year, I wouldn't have cared one way or the other but, by the end of the season, he was arguably our best player.

Him on one wing, Danjuma on the other, with Beto in the middle. Keep Calvert-Lewin in reserve and keep Maupay in the reserves.

Garner and Young to fill the full-back slots with Onana Gana and Doucouré in midfield.

Tom Bowers
13 Posted 31/08/2023 at 19:59:44
Good to hear McNeil is back training but like Calvert-Lewin, he should be nursed slowly to ensure they are 'fully fit'' before selection.

In both cases, they were showing their best form before injuries although Calvert-Lewin was the season before last.

The late show against lowly Doncaster after a pathetic first half might just be a turning point.

The good finishing of Beto and Danjuma showed there are goals in the team and, if they can get the defensive side of things on a steady footing, then we can be a little more optimistic.

Tony Everan
14 Posted 31/08/2023 at 20:14:00
Sam, Jay, it would a big shame to play Garner at right-back, but right now he's the best option until Seamus returns in October.

I too feel that Patterson has to cut his teeth, a good loan and full-on Championship season will bring him on leaps and bounds. He's raw and still learning the discipline side of the game defensively, I think there is a good player there he just needs time and the right development strategy.

Rob Hooton
15 Posted 31/08/2023 at 21:22:55
McNeil had his doubters (prob myself included) when he first joined but by the end of last season was our most influential player IMO. Having him back will be a great tonic, especially as he might have TWO big strikers to aim for that are strong in the box, instead of none.

If Calvert-Lewin and McNeil are in the squad on Saturday and on the bench, then I hope we don't need to call on them as we've got the game in the bag… what's support without hope lol.

I think Beto should start after his cameo, but it should be a lot tougher than yesterday for him. Having Calvert-Lewin on the bench ready to play might be needed, am sure he'd be up for it going back to his former club.

If McNeil can get a run-out and is ready, then great. If he's not ready, hopefully there's no desire or need to risk him.

Ernie Baywood
16 Posted 31/08/2023 at 21:28:32
McNeil obviously goes back in when fit.

It will be interesting to see how the underperformers do now. It's hard to judge anyone when they have no outlet. Decent players can be made to look poor when they've got nothing to play to. I look at the top of the field now and they will have an option, a focal point.

Look at that ball from Doucouré against Doncaster. With just Maupay up front, we complain that he's simply given the ball away under no pressure. With a pacy presence in Beto, that's a great assist!

Whatever Beto turns out to be, it's pretty clear he'll be an option.

Denis Richardson
17 Posted 31/08/2023 at 23:02:44
As some have noted, its a long long season, please don't rush McNeil or DCL back. DCL certainly doesn't need to be risked as Beto looks decent and (dare I say it) Maupay didn't look out of place playing off a big guy up front.

I wouldn't even have DCL on the bench just to avoid temptation.

Gaute Lie
18 Posted 01/09/2023 at 01:16:34
Good News. May he continune where he left off.

Doubt we will be seeing DCL so fast, and No need when we have two New strikers. Beto looks like a starter.

Has anyone made a bid for Kenwright yet? Heard he was up for sale.

Lester Yip
19 Posted 01/09/2023 at 03:34:34
Definitely start Beto. It's not that we didn't create chances but fail to convert them. And he scored on his debut and before the move. He's in scoring form.
Tony Abrahams
20 Posted 01/09/2023 at 04:25:43
Kenwright has been up for sale since he got here Gaute, but he always talks himself out of moving on because he doesn’t think Everton would survive without his great knowledge, wisdom and charisma🤮 The dirty lying egotistical fraud.

There is one big reason why McNeil has been missed imo, and this is because he works very, very hard. If Everton are to get out of this slump then every player needs to put in the same effort, plus he also gives us some very much needed balance.

A big 18 hrs are left in this transfer window now, so hopefully we can bring in a bit more quality, because when we lose certain players to injury, it really affects the squad.

Jack Convery
21 Posted 01/09/2023 at 10:18:11
Good news. We need him in the left sided position. Beto will be made up.
Peter Hodgson
22 Posted 01/09/2023 at 19:53:14
If we turn out our strongest team it's one we should win at a canter.

Oops. Shouldn't have said that. Sorry.

Jack Convery
23 Posted 01/09/2023 at 20:24:27
Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Garner, Onana, Doucoure, Young, Danjuma and Beto.
Jack Convery
24 Posted 01/09/2023 at 20:52:54
England thrash NZ in T20.
Bill Fairfield
25 Posted 01/09/2023 at 22:10:22
No new editions today,so we’ll just have to get on with it. Hopefully we’ll make a fast start tomorrow for a change. COYB.
Derek Powell
26 Posted 02/09/2023 at 02:34:15
What a sorry looking squad
Joe Digney
27 Posted 02/09/2023 at 02:42:21
3 points today will give everyone a much needed lift going into the international break.

So just fucking win Everton.

1.0 Beto winner.


Sam Bowen
28 Posted 02/09/2023 at 04:10:24
Madness how we’ve played out the Gray situation. From what we can gather, he’s not even trained with the squad yet has he? Could really have done with him for these games. Def time to try Garner at right back, feel a bit sorry for him but needs must.
Paul Ferry
29 Posted 02/09/2023 at 04:29:15
Agree Sam, Dyche needs to try some humble pie and reintegrate Gray and Gray needs to behave. The squad now the window has closed is too thin not to include Gray.

Mark Wynne
30 Posted 02/09/2023 at 08:05:45
I wonder what the bench will look like. We had two keepers there in midweek, which is manager speak for “we don't have enough players for our bench”.

Now the window is over, it's Dyche's job to develop what he has. He can't just fill the bench with keepers and centre-backs and run the eleven on the pitch into the ground. He has to give himself options or he'll be leaving Goodison before November's out.

David Bromwell
31 Posted 02/09/2023 at 08:36:07
I agree with Mark 30 and do hope that we begin to see the Manager softening his previous game plan somewhat. So 3 point game plan for today please. 1 tell Pickford to remain calm, and no need to boot every ball up the pitch. 2 take a lesson from Doncaster and vary the delivery of corners and dead balls. 3 be prepared to use substitutes, rather than running every player into the ground. Hopefully we will get our first win and it will be enjoyable to watch. And just a personal one for Mr Dyche, why not try wearing a track suit on the touch line ? It will be more comfortable and help you relax, it's a game of football after all, not another day in the office !
Frank Sheppard
33 Posted 02/09/2023 at 08:45:32
Very grim reading on the BBC sport website.
They could become only the second team to lose each of their opening four games of a Premier League campaign without scoring, after Crystal Palace in 2017-18.
Everton are winless in their last six Premier League away games against promoted sides (D3, L3), failing to score in four of those matches.
The Toffees have won only three of their last 37 top-flight away matches (D12, L22).
Everton have lost each of the last nine league games that Alex Iwobi hasn't played in.

Time to change all that COYB

Derek Knox
34 Posted 02/09/2023 at 08:46:53
Not getting my hopes built up too much, done that in the past after a win, albeit against Doncaster Rovers. I was very impressed by Beto's involvement but whether he can carry on from that against better opposition, remains to be seen. Not going today, meeting Matt Traynor and Peter Moore in Chester so will watch on some hostelry's TV. Matt and Peter worked together in Singapore and the Philippines way back.


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