Everton – Sheffield United 1-0: three prizes | Last call for some at Goodison?

A routine outing

For Everton’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United at Goodison Park, the team didn’t have to get out of second, possibly third, gear. The hapless visitors, who have already conceded a staggering 100 goals this season – ahead of their weekend trip to the North West – offered little apart from effort which at least pleased those fans heading up from South Yorkshire, who were determined to enjoy the game. , regardless of the result.

The Blues saw a return to the starting line-up for Seamus Coleman, although it was unlikely to be the captain’s last appearance at Goodison with the veteran being offered a new contract, which he is considering. Amadou Onana – who is unlikely to be a member of Sean Dyche’s squad until the new season – is also back, with James Garner moved to right wing to fill the void left by Jack Harrison, who succumbed to a hamstring injury.

If the squad’s intensity didn’t come close to what it achieved last month, there can be no doubt that the manager has picked as strong a squad as possible and was focused on signing off the campaign at home with a fifth straight win. The Blades were easy to control, only threatening in the first half, mustering three efforts to Jordan Pickford’s net and generating an anemic xG (expected goals) statistic of just 0.07.

The Toffees dominated proceedings, with Abdoulaye Doucoure eventually scoring the winner in the 31st minute, heading in from wide range after earlier spurning a good chance to put the hosts in front. Everton remained in complete control until around the 55th minute when they dropped down a gear, settled deeper and invited the visitors. Over the next 20 minutes, the Blades pushed for an equaliser, never looking like scoring, but outscored the Toffees 7-0, forcing several deadlocks.

Everton FC v Sheffield United - Premier League

The influential Calvert-Lewin enters the final year of his contract next month
Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

The home side picked it up again towards the end of the game, with substitutes Lewis Dobbin and – in particular – Youssef Chermiti adding some energy and enthusiasm. The two combined well on one occasion and the latter showed dynamism in putting a couple of efforts on goal, giving Garner a solid chance as well, but unfortunately the winger’s shot it was wrong all along.

A brief assessment of Dyche

If the pressure on Dyche increased at the start of last month, then a rally which has seen the team emerge victorious in five of their last seven matches ensures his position will remain unchallenged ahead of the summer. However, that dreadful 13-match league winless streak – spanning more than three-and-a-half months – punctuated by successes against Burnley, Dyche’s old club, cannot be easily forgotten; nor Chelsea’s 6-0 humiliation of Everton at Stamford Bridge.

The campaign can be roughly divided into four sections: a poor start in which the Blues picked up just one point from their opening five games, followed by a long run of improvement culminating in four straight wins in December, then that unfortunate streak extending in early April and ended with a strong finish that saw the club secure Premier League survival. Had Everton not been penalized eight points by two independent committees appointed by the league for breaches of its PSR regime, they would sit comfortably in mid-table on 48 points with a game to play.

Given the complete lack of any direction from the upper levels of the club and the steady degradation of the playing squad that has taken place over the last three years – during which time the transfer of players has generated a net profit of €74.2 million – this it’s quite an achievement. by Dyche. I have reservations about the style of play favored by the manager as it is not the most entertaining to watch from a distance, but in the short term it is more important to keep the Toffees out of the danger zone while operating on a shoestring budget.

Everton FC v Sheffield United - Premier League

Dyche’s job could prove tougher next term if the likes of Onana leave

Whether Dyche can develop and transform with better players at hand – as many of his supporters claim – won’t become apparent for some time, certainly not until Everton are settled in their shiny new riverside stadium . It’s almost certain that the batch he has at his disposal for the next term will be equivalent to the current one – at best – but it could end up considerably worse, which is not a comforting thought.

Change just around the corner?

Watching the game, it dawned on me that over the summer the Blues might lose a few of those who took to the field on Saturday afternoon. Director of football Kevin Thelwell admitted that Everton would have to sell and that reinforcements would mainly come in the form of loans and free agents; which we already knew, but it was still a stark acknowledgment of the dire position the club currently finds itself in.

Onana seems almost certain to leave, with the Belgium international not looking essential to Dyche’s system and selling him would raise significant funds. At the weekend, the 22-year-old started his first game since being substituted during the Chelsea debacle and it seems that either the midfielder is unhappy to play as the manager is asking or he just doesn’t . The club will likely get a good fee for Onana, who is looking to start – and likely impress – any potential suitors during the upcoming European Championships, but could be forced to sell before June 30 to satisfy PSR’s concerns.

Everton would prefer to keep Jarrad Branthwaite for at least one more season given how much of a cornerstone of an impressive defense the 21-year-old has been, however the club’s uncertain financial situation would could force a sale. The centre-half may make England’s Euro 2024 squad but is unlikely to see significant game time, which will at least reduce his exposure, but it should already be obvious to interested teams what a fantastic talent he is.

Everton FC v Sheffield United - Premier League

Will Gueye follow Arnaut Danjuma out the door?
Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Idrissa Gueye’s contract expires next month, although Everton have an option for another year if they wish to exercise it. Given that the veteran has been a key player, it is critical to tie him down for next season or even offer new terms on an extended deal as the 34-year-old shows little sign of slowing down. If the Senegal international does not want to continue at the club, then his absence would leave a large and worrying hole in the middle of the squad.

Finally, Calvert-Lewin will soon enter the final year of his contract and the Blues will be vulnerable to offers should the forward not sign an extension. Although he scored just seven goals this term, he proved his fitness after two injury-plagued campaigns, playing 2,555 minutes in total – more than he managed in the last two seasons combined. He has proven his worth and his qualities are sure to attract interest from elsewhere. A lot will be determined by what the player wants and if he sees his future at Everton.

There is a scenario where the club could lose all four players in question, in addition to those on expiring contracts such as Andre Gomes and Dele and, of course, loanees Arnaut Danjuma and Jack Harrison, although Dyche seems keen to bring in the From behind. back. The replacements that have been linked in the media so far are disappointing and we may have to face the very real possibility that the team will start next season in an even weaker state than they are now.

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