Sky Sports pundit and former Everton striker Kevin Campbell has given his thoughts on Sean Dyche’s striker dilemma at Goodison Park.
What has Campbell said about Everton?
Speaking to Goodison News, the pundit gave his thoughts about the Toffees’ options to lead the line of their attack.
“When you play Demarai Gray up there you’re trying to utilise his speed and his dribbling ability.
“But he’s not a striker. You’re trying to utilise him to stretch the pitch
“Now, the fact that Ellis Simms has come in in his second game off the bench and scored a really good goal, it gives the manager food for thought.
“But Demarai Gray has his part to play and probably Ellis Simms does as well, maybe from the bench, maybe not.
“It’s something that we have to wait and see, but what a lovely problem for Sean Dyche to have.”
Everton’s manager had been utilising Neal Maupay in attack, but with that being rather unsuccessful, he turned to Gray in the away draw at Nottingham Forest.
Simms also came off of the bench to equalise against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, so that the Toffees have now accrued a respectable five points from their last three Premier League matches.
How should Dyche deviate between the two?
As Campbell noted, Gray isn’t a striker, but he is Everton’s top goalscorer this season. His main attributes are his ability to run at players and stretch the pitch to provide an option for his side. As per Fbref, the 26-year-old attempts 3.24 dribbles per 90 minutes, which is much higher than both Maupay (1.14) and Simms (2.03).
Deploying the £25k-per-week forward may work in some cases, such as when the opposition is leaving space in behind, but Simms’ skill set may be of more use to Dyche.
The former Sunderland striker would provide a more traditional way of leading the line for Everton. He has experience doing so already this season, as he has scored 7 goals for Sunderland in just 17 appearances.
The 22-year-old, whose “brilliant” positioning for his goal against Chelsea was praised by Dion Dublin, has an average WhoScored match rating of 6.24 for the Toffees in the Premier League.
For the relegation-threatened side, having the decision between two forward players who can provide goals is a good thing.
Without even mentioning Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton’s side has the attacking prowess to cause problems for most Premier League sides – it is now up to Dyche to find the winning formula.