From Lancashire to Merseyside: How Sean Dyche will tactically approach Everton’s relegation battle – scout report
Everton confirmed the hiring of Sean Dyche earlier this week as the club’s new manager. Since being discharged by Burnley last April, Dyche has been out of work and now joins on a two-and-a-half-year contract until June 2025.
Frank Lampard’s sacking came after a run of nine losses in 12 games that have left them battling relegation. Everton’s owner Farhad Moshiri was seeking an immediate replacement. Moshiri, chairman Kenwright, director of football Kevin Thelwell, and the advisors were admiring some managers like Sam Allardyce, West Brom manager Carlos Corberan, David Moyes, former Valencia manager Marcelino, Davide Ancelotti and had serious talks at the beginning of the process with Marcelo Bielsa.
The Argentinian offered to take the role of the under-21s and academy until the end of the season and to reshape the structure of the blue side of Merseyside, yet the key decision-makers rejected his suggestion and looked for an immediate solution.
At this point, Sean Dyche was in pole position for the job and had two meetings with Moshiri and the others and was then finally appointed as a new coach of the Toffees.
During a decade at Burnley, Dyche kept his classic 4-4-2 fixed structure and old fashion school tactics and was known for his ability to get the most out of his players and his teams are known for their strong work ethic and organisation on the field.
Dyche’s teams were also known for their aerial threat and set-piece prowess, with strong, physical players.
In this tactical analysis, in the form of a team scout report, we dive into the possible tactics and players he could use with Everton in the relegation fight. In this analysis, we will predict the tactics that made Pep Guardiola describe his trip to Turf Moor as like a visit to the dentist.
Hardcore pure fundamentals
Sean Dyche uses classic tactics, applying a 4-4-2 structure most of the time with a solid defensive approach. At Burnley, Dyche infrequently turned 4-4-2 to another formation except a little for 4-4-1-1 when he favoured to use a defensive No 10, and used it for most of the successful season 2017/18 in around 49% of the games.
We can easily define his players’ profiles. A shot-stopper GK with good long-range passing, physical centre-backs, physical overlapping fullbacks, a destroyer holding midfielder with a box-to-box one, two wide midfielders with excellent crossing abilities and two target strikers or only one with a dynamic striker.
In the building phase, Dyche usually looks to play the ball forward quickly for a direct approach, playing long balls to their strikers, maximizing the presence to win the second balls. Meanwhile, the fullbacks move wide and the wide midfielders shift between flanks and interior corridors, while also being aware of defensive stability and ready for any transitions.
Keeping the team on one side is one of Dyche’s principles. Here, Burnely during Pope’s long kick are crowding the side and positioned well to win the second ball. In 2020/21, Burnley averaged 63.05 long passes per game with a 53.6% win percentage.
Not only did they play directly long from the goalkeeper, but they also used to provoke the opponents to press by playing a back pass and then sending quickly the long pass into spaces in behind. In the same year, his team had 75.16 back passes per game with a 95% winning rate.
Once Burnley are keeping the ball in the opponent’s half. The team have the same concept of quickness and directness. A ball near FB is overlapping and the header specialists overloaded the box waiting for a cross with deep runs from the others.
In the 2017/18 season, Burnley per game averaged 43.25 percent possession, 1.29 xG while having 9.95 shots per game with 35.8% on target and 15.56 crosses with 34.5% accuracy.
In the defensive phase of play, Dyche oftentimes is pressing high on the pitch with a simple six-centre-back pressing scheme to get the ball higher or force the opponents for long balls which he loves.
Against the mainstream of that Dyche is only defending in a low block, Burnely ranked fourth in high regains stats in the 2020/21 season after Man City, Liverpool and Brighton.
Not only did they have 389 high regains, but Burnley accomplished 663 counterpressing recoveries within five seconds after losing possession.
Yet Sean Dyche utilises a 4-4-1-1 compact defensive structure based on the principles of compactness, cover, and balance, his team is defending as a unit aiming to restrict space, attempting to transform duels to be in physical battles in which they are superior and overloading to protect the golden zone with well-executed marking.
Sean Dyche’s team is known for its strong set-piece routines. Burnley were relying on their aerial prowess, using their big centre-backs to cause problems in the opposition box from corners and free-kicks. It allowed them to compete against more talented opponents and earn crucial points in tight games.
During the 2018/19 season, Burnley scored a total of 11 goals from set pieces, which was the third-highest in the league. Furthermore, they had the second-best conversion rate from corners, scoring 8.7% of their corners taken.
Burnley were the team in EPL to use the most in-swingers from corners, aiming to get it deep and then flicking the ball to the opposite post to score.
It is yet to be seen how Sean Dyche will approach set pieces at Everton, but based on his track record, it is likely that they will be a key part of his game plan.
Everton wearing his uniform
“Everton are the worst-run club in the country,” Jamie Carragher said lately.
Everton under Lampard only had 12 Wins, 8 Draws, 24 Losses, 44 Points and 1.00 Points per match this season, creating low threat xG, and conceding more threat xG.
Everton this season under Frank Lampard used 4-3-3 or three at-back formations which Dyche indeed didn’t use at Burnley before.
James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil are familiar with Dyche’s tactics. They would have a vital role in the dressing room for the rest of the season as well as Michael Keane whom he also coached at Burnley in the early years at Turf Moor.
Unquestionably, Jordan Pickford would keep his position. Dyche worked with England’s number two for six years now he has the opportunity to manage England’s number one.
James Tarkowski is a centre-back who was brought to Burnley in 2016 for £3.5 million and became an England international. He made 35+ Premier League appearances for Burnley for four seasons straight. Conor Coady has been a mainstay for Everton, but he and the team have been struggling lately. Michael Keane, who played for Burnley for two and a half years before moving to Everton, had recently also poor form.
James Tarkowski and one of Conor Coady and Michael Keane would be Dyche’s centre-backs.
On fullbacks, Nathan Patterson on the right and Vitalii Mykolenko on the left would be the main choices with also the existence of the captain Seamus Coleman as a right-back.
Dyche will be looking to cultivate their high energy levels and hard-working approach.
Furthermore, Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey would be very prominent to take a dynamic role in the defensive line.
Everton under Lampard’s management this season averaged conceded 1.52 goals per game and 14.03 shots against compared to their opponents’ 1.03 goals and 9.07 shots against.
In central midfield, Amadou Onana had shown in his first season a physical power with good progressive passes and runs. He will need to do more under the command of Dyche.
In this current situation, it may appear that Dyche would go with the veteran Senegalese Idrissa Gueye instead of James Garner who has a good passing range from deep.
On the flanks, Dwight McNeil will take the wide role of a more natural supplier of crosses with one of Alex Iwobi and Demarai Gray if Dyche decided to use Neal Maupay in front.
Everton this season averaged 1.18 goals per game and 9.07 shots compared to the opponents who had 1.86 goals and 14.03 shots against the Toffees.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin could be the perfect striker for Dyche to use, as he has done with other target men like Charlie Austin, Danny Ings, and Ashley Barnes. Calvert-Lewin is a higher version of these players. He might pair with Maupay or Gray up front, creating the perfect double strikers for Sean Dyche.
There are many aspects that Sean Dyche and his assistants Ian Woan, Steve Stone and Mark Howard will have to improve as soon as possible at Everton. Unfortunately, they do not have much time.
In conclusion, Frank Lampard had bad performances but the issues are deeper than the manager. Their board is a mess. Their scouting has been horrific, and they haven’t backed transfers.
This tactical analysis attempted to illustrate Sean Dyche’s tactics and to predict how Everton may be under his management in a difficult situation, battling relegation.
Under Dyche, Burnley were known for their 4-4-2 formation, strong work ethic and aerial threat. To avoid relegation, Dyche is expected to use a strong defensive approach, focusing on set pieces to capitalise on the team’s strengths.
Generally, Dyche has the experience and expertise to bring stability and success to the team. His ability to get the best out of physically imposing players, as well as his experience with centre-forwards and centre-backs, make him a valuable asset to the club in this tough case.