17/01/2024 23comments  |  Jump to last

Everton look set to be without the services of Abdoulaye Doucouré for a further spell of games after Sean Dyche reported that the Frenchman has suffered another hamstring injury.

Doucouré missed five games recently, but returned to play the full 90 minutes of last Sunday’s goalless draw with Aston Villa. However, he didn’t train yesterday and was ruled out for tonight’s FA Cup replay against Crystal Palace.

Dyche indicated after the 1-0 replay victory that the 31-year-old had suffered a hamstring injury in his other thigh, but it was too early to tell how severe the problem was.

The manager said that the club's medical staff were hopeful that the injury would settle down quickly, but Doucouré is unlikely to feature in the fourth round tie against Luton Town in 10 days' time.

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It’s a significant blow to Everton, who failed to win any of the matches from which Doucouré was absent, a record that highlights just how important he is to the Toffees' team.

“The lads will still get a few down days now," Dyche said after the game. "We’ve got a couple of injuries as well which is not ideal.

“Seamus [is] hopefully not too long term and Douc maybe a little bit longer. Youngy on the other hand is coming back fit.

“The balance of the rest and the recuperation among the work... a lot of these players, we’re asking a lot of them physically with the game schedule in December – no fault of ours, of course – go play at high, maximum levels and win games.

"They’ve done very well at that so they get a few down days now, as will the staff, and then we’ll start going again.”


Reader Comments (23)

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James Hill
1 Posted 18/01/2024 at 08:26:34
Not many clubs have the level of away support that Everton bring to each game. Maybe it is an avenue the fans could look at?

Many clubs would be financially disadvantaged if that support flexed its muscle. I would imagine a lot of clubs rub their hands when they get Everton at home.

Dean Williams
2 Posted 18/01/2024 at 08:48:34
File this under "Idiot Dyche".
Ian Jones
3 Posted 18/01/2024 at 09:06:08
Dean, are you blaming Sean Dyche for Doucoure's latest injury? If so, I think it's a poor comment.

I understand that sometimes players are brought back too early. However, I have seen enough of Dyche to think he selects players when they are fit.

I can't remember what Doucoure's injury was that kept him out but this latest hamstring injury appears to be in the other leg.

Phil Sammon
4 Posted 18/01/2024 at 09:09:32
Get back undet your rock, Dean.
Brent Stephens
5 Posted 18/01/2024 at 09:45:03
Dean, I don't think you understand how cautious Dyche is about bringing players back from injury.

Cautious period before getting back onto the bench.

Cautious about bringing them off the bench and the amount of game time before they start a game again.

Tim Stone
6 Posted 18/01/2024 at 10:21:46
Embarrassing, Dean.

The problem is nothing too do with Dyche. It's to do with a lack of a squad and someone to slot into the Doucouré role when he's missing.

Joe McMahon
7 Posted 18/01/2024 at 10:40:32
Dyche and his coaching team will have to find a solution;, he is a huge miss as recent results show. We certainly need to stay above Luton and ideally Forest.

Dean, I'm not sure how Dyche could be blamed? Possibly he wasn't ready to start v sVilla but the player can also feedback to the manager.

Jim Bennings
8 Posted 18/01/2024 at 11:57:48
It needs to be remembered here that Doucouré is approaching his 30s, injuries will become more of an issue to shift.

The problem with us is that we've failed to rectify the problem areas that have long been exactly that, a problem.

We haven't got anyone that can really play behind the striker and play with the kind of savviness and cleverness that's required.

I can honestly think only Andre Gomes could do this, but he won't be as dynamic as Doucoure doing so.

Can Jack Harrison play in the middle? He's certainly not performing consistently out wide so perhaps a shift in field may help him, and give Dobbin or Danjuma a few games on the flank?

I think we need to be in the scouting and loan market this month.

Dave Abrahams
9 Posted 18/01/2024 at 12:12:55
Whenever Doucoure plays, whether he is good bad or indifferent, it's amazing how much he puts into his game.

Up and down the pitch, running, tackling, involved in both areas of the field he has proved his worth to the team and is definitely well missed when absent.

I hope he does a McNeil and comes back sooner than was thought.

Steve Brown
10 Posted 18/01/2024 at 12:21:57

He makes the most presses in the Premier League. Harrison is second so I think he can fill in, but Doucouré has goals in him as well.

I think he is essential to the system that Dyche wants to play. Hope he makes a swift recovery.

Barry Williams
11 Posted 18/01/2024 at 16:55:47
Gomes has stepped up to the plate very well so far. In limited game time, he has scored 2 goals and should have had an excellent assist too, but it was chalked off!

Now, he may not be up to the rigors of 90-minute games back to back etc but we also have options in Danjuma (who I'd like to see more of and hope he stays for now) who adds pace and directness that we do not have otherwise, allowing Harrison to take up the Number 10 role.

There are a few combinations that might work in Doucoure's absence.

Jerome Shields
12 Posted 19/01/2024 at 09:38:11
I wish Doucouré a speedy recovery. The way that Dyche played Gomes against Palace, he has learnt that he is not a replacement for Doucoure. It has to be Gana, with Gomes forward in support of the attack.

Gomes deep is not a good idea. He is a sure target and weak link. However, if he was unmarked, it would be happy days and the toast of ToffeeWeb.

Danny O’Neill
13 Posted 19/01/2024 at 09:59:12
Further loss of Doucoure is a big loss.

Hamstrings are difficult to come back from. It takes time and shouldn't be rushed or it goes again. Just when you think it's okay and you feel fine, it goes again if you go too early.

I've said before, despite breaks and ligaments, the hardest one I found to come back from was a quad tear. Just when it feels okay, I broke down within 10 minutes.

Let's get him fit and ready for the run-in. We need him and Idrissa. I mean no disrespect but I hope Senegal get knocked out of the African Nations Cup.

Sam Hoare
14 Posted 19/01/2024 at 10:31:04
I think Doucoure is arguably the hardest player in our squad to replace. Few can match the yards he puts in or the chaos that he causes with late runs.

Once Gueye comes back I wonder if we may see Garner pushed forward into that role? He certainly presses extremely well and can shoot well off either foot (most of the time).

The attacking unit of McNeil, Calvert-Lewin and Harrison has not looked at its best recently and I think most managers would possibly be giving Danjuma more game time but Dyche clearly doesn't fancy him.

Beto has also looked a bit sluggish in his latest sub appearances so I'm not really sure what can be done to refresh things.

Chris Leyland
15 Posted 19/01/2024 at 10:40:17
Sam, agree with what you say. The only other player I’d like to see be given a run of games is Dobbin. He’s got something about him that I think we should try more of.
Dave Abrahams
16 Posted 19/01/2024 at 10:52:25
Sam (14),

I agree with most of your post except for Danjuma getting more time. He looks okay, at times; with the ball, he does next to nothing, fighting to get it back, and loses it too easy.

I think we miss Gueye's energy in midfield and James Garner could be the temporary replacement for Doucouré pressing upfront while, as Chris says @15, Dobbin is the one who needs more game time, imo.

Ajay Gopal
17 Posted 19/01/2024 at 11:49:55
I like the idea of Harrison being played in the middle just behind Calvert-Lewin. He was used in that role earlier in the season and he did quite well – not able to remember against whom, but we won that game.

Then, we have Gomes, Danjuma and Dobbin to fill the wide role. Or play Gomes behind Calvert-Lewin and let the rest of the team remain the same.

Gomes will not provide Doucouré's energy, but he can provide that killer pass that opens up defences. Plus the free kick against Palace would have boosted his confidence and teams would be wary of giving away a foul at the edge of the penalty area, which opens up other opportunities.

So, my preferred starting XI:

McNeil Gomes Harrison
Onana Garner
Mykolenko Branthwaite Tarkowski Patterson

This front 4 may keep the ball better if Dyche gets them to practice all week.

Brian Harrison
18 Posted 19/01/2024 at 12:07:50
I think many are right when they say we aren't as effective without Doucouré, problem is we don't have a like-for-like replacement in the squad. I don't think Beto can play that role and Dyche hasnt played Beto and Calvert-Lewin together, so we can rule that option out.

I would have hoped with his goal a few games back would have prompted Dyche to give Dobbin a runout but he doesn't seem to fancy that option. I think Dobbin could play off Calvert-Lewin or better still, let him start on the right instead of Harrison, who for me lacks quality doesn't keep possession well and his passing is awful.

Yes, he works hard but I want a front 3 player to have goals and assists in his game and Harrison doesn't. While Doucouré is out, it might be worth playing Danjuma wide and Dobbin just behind Calvert-Lewin, at least both carry a goal threat which is sadly lacking in this side.

Sam Hoare
19 Posted 19/01/2024 at 12:08:57
Dave @16,

Danjuma definitely loses the ball a bit more regularly than McNeil and Harrison and I think that's exactly why Dyche doesn't play him. He hates us losing the ball, especially when in our own half.

But I think part of that is because Danjuma tries risky things more frequently. I think he has more potential than Harrison or McNeil to make something out of nothing. And I think if he got a run of starts, we'd maybe see that more.

Chris @15, Currently Danjuma is a better player than Dobbin, I'm pretty sure of that. But only one of them looks like he has a longer-term future here at the moment.

Hopefully Dobbin can get more minutes and continue to develop but I never feel that confident with him stepping onto the pitch that he will add something. He has time to learn and improve though. I think, if we had more options, he'd be better served by getting a run of starts in the Championship.

Jerome Shields
20 Posted 19/01/2024 at 13:50:55
Danny #13,

I forgot about Gana being away. Dyche has to put his thinking cap on. He knows putting Keane in a defensive midfield role ends in a deep defensive back five.

It will be interesting what he comes up with. It will take someone who stays where he is put.

Tom Bowers
21 Posted 22/01/2024 at 15:13:27
I think Doucoure will be on his way anyway come the end of the season.

He has delivered the goods when fully fit but, given his age and the fact he wanted away last season, I think he may be cashed in on while he is wanted by whomever (the Saudis)?

Gomes hasn't done too badly on his return and Onana is maturing.

We have been facing adversity all season so what is one more piece of bad news?

Geoff Lambert
22 Posted 25/01/2024 at 10:57:51
Brian #18,

You say "II want a front 3 player to have goals and assists in his game and Harrison doesn't."

He has 2 goals and 3 assists in the Premier League??? Who can better that in our team?

Robert Tressell
23 Posted 25/01/2024 at 11:02:13
Saw Dobbin last night against Benfica U21s. He caused them all sorts of problems – but also showed how raw he is. Lots of unforced errors, misplaced (easy) passes and dribbling instead of a simple constructive pass. Also missed a penalty – but then everyone misses penalties apart from Balotelli, Le Tissier and Toney.

He'd really benefit from another loan to mature, but we probably need him with the first-team squad since we're so short of numbers.

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