Everton finally climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone following their victory over Leeds United at Goodison Park yesterday and Sean Dyche will surely be thrilled with the rapid turnaround in the team.
The Toffees are now 16th in the top-flight table with the former Burnley boss collecting six points out of a possible nine since joining the club last month; an impressive achievement considering the side had only picked up three victories over the entire campaign ahead of Dyche’s appointment.
Indeed, the Goodison faithful will be feeling extremely positive about their remaining 15 fixtures and the prospect of survival, however, there is still a long way to go and a lot of issues left to iron out before they can breathe easy.
One of Everton’s biggest issues this season has been their goal contributions with the side tallying up the joint-worst goal tally (17) in the entire Premier League. That continues to be a sticking point for Dyche as he endeavours to improve performances on the pitch.
With Dominic Calvert-Lewin injured, Anthony Gordon departing last month and no new additions acquired over the January transfer window the Toffees forward line has been weakened significantly which has led to the goals scored in the team being spread sporadically across 11 different players with no focal point at present.
As a result, Dyche must finally unleash Demarai Gray in the team with The Athletic’s Everton reporter Patrick Boyland claiming the side have become all too “predictable” and “one-paced” without the winger in the team.
Can Gray improve performances for Everton?
Since taking charge of the Merseysiders, Dyche has not started the 26-year-old and only given him 29 minutes of game time over the last three league games, despite the fact that Gray is one of the top performers in front of goal this season.
Over 21 Premier League appearances, Gray – dubbed “electric” by Garth Crooks – has scored three goals, registered one assist and created three big chances, as well as averaging 1.2 key passes and 1.8 shots on goal per match, proving he can be a valuable presence in the attacking threat.
Not only that, the Everton dynamo recently won the Premier League goal of the month in November and December for his stunning equaliser on New Year’s Eve against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Should Dyche unleash Demarai Gray?
The former Leicester City winger received high praise from Rio Ferdinand last month with the player-turned-pundit saying:
“Demarai Gray’s the only one. Unbelievable find. He’s the one, in recent weeks anyway. He hasn’t done it over the course of the whole season, but in recent weeks, he’s been the one.”
With that being said, Dyche has already started to show glimpses of what he can achieve with this current crop of players at Everton and if he could incorporate Gray’s talents within the team it could provide a huge boost to the attacking threat.