How does Dyche fix Everton's goal woes to beat the drop?


Any assessment of the job Sean Dyche is doing at Everton must begin by recognising his side would be 14th but for the six-point penalty they were handed for breaching the Premier League's profit and sustainability rules. Even so, an 11-game winless streak means questions are beginning to be asked of the former Burnley boss. 


Dyche can point to another mitigating factor, though. All season long Everton have been dogged by a chronic inability to finish their chances. We saw evidence of that shortcoming again on Saturday, as the Toffees fell to a 2-0 defeat by Manchester United despite fashioning plenty of opportunities. 


Everton had 23 shots at Old Trafford. That is their second-highest figure in an away game without scoring since such data began to be collected in 2003/04. They should have had even more attempts: on several occasions a poor final pass denied Dyche’s team the chance to capitalise on a promising opening. 


It was their finishing, however, that let Everton down the most. This has been an issue since the very start of the 2023/24 campaign, when the Toffees outplayed Fulham on the opening weekend but ended up losing 1-0. 


"We limited them to no chances in the first half, while creating nine or 10 chances ourselves," Dyche said after the game. "The mix of a performance as good, but we have to score a goal. It one of the highest chance counts since I have been here - and high-quality chances, which has always been my thing." 


Unfortunately for Dyche, that match was not a one-off. Only Burnley (25) and Sheffield United (24) have put the ball in the back of the net less often than Everton (29) this term. Sheffield United are the only side in the division that have failed to score in more games than the Toffees, who have now drawn a blank on 11 separate occasions. 


Other data shows that Everton’s issue is primarily one of conversion rather than creation. They rank eighth for shots per game and 11th for shots on target per game. It is not as if Everton are incapable of landing attempts on their opponent’s goal.  


The expected goals data is even more instructive. Everton have a cumulative xG of 46.62, which is enough to rank them 10th in the Premier League standings - ahead of Manchester United, no less. Yet as we discussed above, for actual goals scored they sit 18th. 


How does Dyche fix Everton's goal woes to beat the drop?


Their xG difference is an astonishing -17.62. That means Everton ‘should’ have scored around 17 or 18 goals more than they have based on the quality of chances created. In the Toffees’ case, that is the difference between a push for the top half and a demotion dogfight. 


Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been the chief culprit, so much so that Beto has replaced him in the starting XI of late. Calvert-Lewin has scored only three times in 24 Premier League games this season. His last 61 top-flight appearances have yielded just 10 goals. 


Unfortunately for Everton, Beto has not looked overly convincing up front either. In fact, three of the eight biggest xG underperformers in the Premier League are Everton players: Calvert-Lewin (first, -6.35), Beto (sixth, -3.07) and Arnaut Danjuma (eighth, -2.58). 


"Same old, same old, unfortunately," Dyche said after the Manchester United defeat when it was put to him by a BBC reporter that his side had played well but failed to take their chances. 


"We’ve done so many things right but we haven’t found the goals. [We had] some incredible moments in incredible areas.  


"It’s hard to explain but there’s a devilment in scoring a goal. Sometimes you’ve got to get hurt to score a goal. It doesn’t have to be a clean goal, you’ve got to get hurt to score a goal. At the moment there’s a little bit of waiting for the right moment, the perfect moment." 


Many Everton fans feel a sense of injustice regarding their points deduction. Dyche may well share that view, but he will be more frustrated with his team’s ongoing profligacy in front of goal.

How does Dyche fix Everton's goal woes to beat the drop?