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Can Sean Dyche Save Everton?

At the time of writing, things are looking rather perilous for Everton in terms of their Premier League survival. Just past the halfway point of their league campaign, the Toffees have amassed a mere 15 points from their 20 games. Currently in 19th position on 15 points, they are only above rock-bottom Southampton on goal difference.

Premier League Table Feb 2nd 2023

The board acted to sack Frank Lampard and bring in a replacement in the form of Sean Dyche. The question is, can the former Burnley man keep Everton in the top flight, or is the task already insurmountable?

We’ll get to the question of whether Dyche will pull off a successful Houdini mission shortly, but first, let’s take a brief look at who Sean Dyche is and why he’s qualified to lead Everton’s charge for survival.

Who Is Sean Dyche?

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Sean Mark Dyche was born in Kettering in 1971 and began his football career as a youth at Nottingham Forest who were then managed by the late, great Brian Clough. He never made it to the Forest first team, but moved to Chesterfield and played over 200 times, scoring eight goals between 1990 and 1997. He played at centre back for several clubs over the following decade including Millwall, Watford and Northampton Town, before retiring and moving into coaching.

He got his first job as the under-18 coach at former club Watford, then got promoted to assistant manager under Malky Mackay in 2009. A couple of years later, Mackay left the club and Dyche got the nod to fill the manager’s role. Dyche led Watford to a top-half finish in the Championship, but – as has become the Watford way in recent times – the club gave him the axe.

Dyche wasn’t out of a job for long though and he replaced Eddie Howe as the Burnley boss in September. He stayed there for almost a decade and guided the side to the Premier League after finishing second in the Championship in the 2013/14 season. It was tough in the top flight for the relative minnows Burnley and they promptly got relegated, but the Burnley board kept the faith with Dyche.

He repaid their confidence by leading the club back to the Premier League the following season by winning the Championship title. They spent the next six seasons in the top flight and even qualified for Europe thanks to their league placing in 2017/18. Sadly for them and Dyche, they got relegated at the end of the 2021/22 season, though the boss was shown the door a month before the season concluded.

Team From / To Games Won Drew Lost
Watford 21/06/11
06/07/12
49 17 (34.7%) 17 (34.7%) 15 (30.6%)
Burnley 30/10/12
15/04/22
425 149 (35.1%) 118 (27.8%) 158 (37.2%)

On the face of it, win percentages of around 35% are not going to install a great deal of confidence in the many nervous Everton fans who fear for their club. But then Lampard only managed a win percentage of 27.3% in his time at Goodison, so it would at least be an improvement on that. And if you convert the win and draw percentages into possible points per game (ignoring the fact that some of those were cup games), Dyche would have earned an average of 1.33 points per game for Burnley. In his time as Everton boss, Lampard earned the equivalent of just a single point per game (and even less than that based on the current league campaign). The question is, even if Dyche does better than Lampard, will it be enough to save Everton?

What Are Everton’s Chances of Surviving in the Premier League?

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If the bookies are to be believed, Everton’s days in the top flight are somewhat numbered and they are odds-on to be playing in the Championship next term. But football sure is a funny old game and bookies’ odds have been very wrong on numerous occasions (just ask Leicester fans about that!).

With 18 games remaining (at the time of writing) and with just 15 points on the board, it seems likely the Toffees will require at least another 20 points to have even a chance of staying up. Even that would only put Everton on 35 points, which – coincidentally – was how many Burnley managed last term then they were relegated. But it would have been more than enough the season before when just 29 points were required for survival.

Looking at the last six seasons, 35 points would have been enough to survive in all but one of the relegation scraps.

Minimum Number of Points Required to Avoid Relegation from the Premier League

  • 2021/22 – 36
  • 2020/21 – 29
  • 2019/20 – 35
  • 2018/19 – 35
  • 2017/18 – 34
  • 2016/17 – 35

Indeed, if Dyche is able to perform as well for Everton as he did on average at Burnely, earning 1.33 points per game, the Toffees will be in with a decent chance of staying up. Following that trend would give Everton an additional 23.94 points from their remaining 18 games, but let’s be generous and round it up to 24 points, to give a grand total of 39 points by the end of the season. A team hasn’t been relegated with 39 points on the board since Birmingham City in the 2010/11 campaign. So come on, Everton fans, there’s real cause for optimism, right?

Dyche: Savior or Desperate Measure?

Time will tell whether Sean Dyche is able to guide Everton to safety in the coming weeks and months. But having kept a club the size of Burnley in the Premier League for so long against the odds, we think he certainly has as good a chance as anyone. Oh, it might not be a good idea to mention to Everton fans which team Dyche supported as a child (hint: they play in red!).

What’s Going Wrong at Liverpool and will Klopp Survive 2022/23?

Since making the switch to Anfield from Borussia Dortmund back in 2015, Jurgen Klopp has transformed the Merseysiders, turning them into a European powerhouse once again. They also finally ended their long wait to win a Premier League title in 2020 and won both domestic cups in 2021/22.

However, by their high standards, Liverpool have had a poor 2022-23 season up to now. They have struggled for consistency and are surely already out of the title race. Is it time for change, or is Klopp still the man to take the Reds forward?

Can Liverpool Regain Form in 2023?

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Liverpool had a season to remember last year as they battled for four trophies, playing in every game that they possibly could (making it to the finals of all three cup competitions, only losing one). They beat Chelsea on penalties at Wembley Stadium in both domestic finals to win the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.

The Merseysiders reached yet another European final. They were excellent en route to Paris, though old nemesis Real Madrid were just too shrewd in the UEFA Champions League final, with the Spanish giants nicking a 1-0 win.

They also finished runners-up in the Premier League. They pushed Manchester City to the final day and even looked like overhauling the Citizens at one point. However, City came from behind to beat Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, so Klopp and Liverpool had to settle for second place.

Too Many Defeats

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Liverpool kicked off the current season slightly behind Man City in the title betting odds. Before starting their league campaign, they beat City 3-1 in the FA Community Shield game at the King Power Stadium in July.

The Reds started the Premier League season with a 2-2 draw with EFL Championship champions Fulham, which kind of set the tone for a poor first half to their campaign. They drew at home with Crystal Palace and lost at Manchester United before picking up their first league win.

At the time of writing, Liverpool have already suffered six Premier League defeats, three more than they did in the entire 2021-22 season. Man United, Arsenal, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Brentford and Brighton have all beaten them. They also only managed a home draw with both Crystal Palace and Brighton and dropped a further two points at Everton.

Before and after the 2022 FIFA World Cup break, Klopp’s boys put together a four-game winning run in the league, though they never looked too convincing. They then suffered a bad 3-1 loss to Thomas Frank’s brilliant Bees at the Gtech Community Stadium. They weren’t much better in a home 2-2 draw with Wolves, a game they probably deserved to lose. Worst of all, most recently they were hammered 3-0 by Brighton, a performance Klopp described as “… bad. Really bad.” The Reds manager also said “I can’t remember a worse game. I honestly can’t.” Oh dear!

Where Next for Klopp & Liverpool?

No managerial job is safe in football, and Klopp could feel the heat if Liverpool continue their slide away from the top four. With half the season gone (for most teams) they are 10 points adrift of fourth and a massive 19 behind Premier League leaders Liverpool. Champions League football is a must for the Reds, but winning this year’s edition could be their only way into next year’s Champions League.

Right now, the Merseysiders languish in ninth spot. They have managed to win just eight games and have already shipped 25 goals. Moreover, the Kop side are set to be without key defender Virgil van Dijk for some time, whilst new signings up front have not hit the ground running.

With Arsenal flying and Newcastle United hitting dizzy heights, breaking into the top four will be a tall order. Liverpool desperately need to put another long winning run together to pile the pressure on the teams above them.

Will Klopp Survive?

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Needless to say, Klopp has been an incredible manager for Liverpool throughout the years, but all good things must come to an end. Will the German survive if Liverpool fail to make the Champions League next season?

There has been a lot of talk about the Klopp suffering from the seven-year itch, a theory based on the fact that he hasn’t made it to an eighth season in his two other managerial roles. At both Mainz and Dortmund things began to unravel at a similar stage and whether this is coincidence or something more, many are suggesting Klopp may leave, or be pushed, before the start of the 2023/24 campaign.

When asked about this last autumn, the German said, referring to his first job at Mainz, “The situation in the clubs was really different. A seven-year spell is not planned or because I lost energy, or things like this,”. He added that he “was full of energy (and) went directly to Dortmund and it was all fine.” Talking about the current situation he said, “I have absolutely no problem with energy and the situation is completely different here.”

Whilst Klopp’s energy may be fine, fans are most concerned with a lack of energy in their midfield. Liverpool’s success has been built on having three workhorses in the centre of the park, allowing the fullbacks to attack and the front three to wreak havoc. However, this is an area of the pitch fans feel has been ignored, with players being allowed to grow old and replacements not being good enough.

Ultimately we feel the current boss will lead his side into next season but who knows in football? What is certain is that if they do finish outside the top four the pressure will mount and a poor start, or even just a poor summer transfer window, could really see the fans turn against a man they once loved so much.

Why Are Everton So Bad?

Everton are objectively and historically one of the biggest clubs in English football. Only three clubs have won the top-flight league title more times than the Toffees and only two have appeared in the semi finals of the FA Cup more often. They have appeared in more top-flight seasons than any other club and were founder members of both the Football League and the Premier League.

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But at the time of writing Everton are very much in a relegation battle and have just exited the FA Cup in the third round stage, their first hurdle. They were in a relegation battle last season (2021/22) and will surely be in one this term. They have not finished in the top half of the Premier League since 2018/19 and have finished no better than seventh since 2013/14.

These poor results have come against the backdrop of what many Evertonians wanted for so long: a big-money takeover. In 2016, almost exactly seven years ago, Farhad Moshiri purchased 49.9% of the club, increasing his holding to almost 69% by September 2018. Since then they have spent lavishly on players, to the tune of around £600m. And yet they have got worse! So the question is, just why are Everton so bad?

Bad Signings

We don’t have space to list the litany of wasted money under Moshiri but early “highlights” include Yannick Bolasie (£25m, two goals in 32 appearances, left on a free transfer), who admittedly was unlucky with injury, and Davy Klaasen (£24m, seven appearances, sold for around £12m). The Toffees also spent around £28m on Cenk Tosun, a striker who managed nine goals over five seasons before leaving for nothing when his contract expired.
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There were some good signings too, such as Lucas Digne and Richarlison but both of those have since left the club with only a modest profit made. Idrissa Gueye was bought for around £7m and sold to PSG for £30m in a rare bit of good business and has since re-joined the Toffees. Jordan Pickford was a fine addition too, as was Dominic Calvert-Lewin for just £1.5m.

But the many misses far outweigh all of that, with Theo Walcott (£20m), Alex Iwobi (£27m) and Jean-Philippe Gbamin (£22m) all failing to deliver on the huge fees paid for them. Everton have had some bad luck with injuries to the likes of Bolasie and Gbamin, but ultimately their expenditure has often seemed untargeted and had an air of panic to it.

Wrong Managers

Time will tell if Frank Lampard can turn Everton around, if he is given the chance, but there is no doubt the club have made some odd managerial appointments. Former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was always doomed to fail given the fans’ hatred of the “fat Spanish waiter” and the verdict on Sam Allardyce was not much better. Once again the board may point to a little bad luck in that the one man who did seem a good appointment, Carlo Ancelotti, was tempted back to Real Madrid when it seemed he was taking the club forward.

The Board

For a while now the ire of the fans has chiefly been reserved for the board rather than the players or manager. Moshiri is damned as being uncommunicative, whilst another criticism is that there is a “jobs for the boys” attitude and too much self-interest. On the one hand, Moshiri has put his money where his mouth is but ultimately the buck always has to stop at the top, so he must shoulder at least a large portion of the “blame”.

Are Everton really that bad?

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Spending £600m on poor players and seemingly moving backwards is clearly not a good look. But there are many fans in English football who would look at Everton and query the verdict of “so bad” from the title of this feature. Since 2006/07 they have finished 6th, 5th, 5th, 8th, 7th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 11th, 11th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 12th, 10th and 16th.

The current 2022/23 season is a worry and the last three were poor but prior to that finishes of 8th (twice) and 7th (in 2016/17) were not too far away from their average over the past two decades or so. It should be remembered that their best-ever PL finish, fourth, came in 2005 and a year earlier they were 17th, whilst the following season they finished 11th.

The current direction of travel and mood around the club is not great but recent signings have been better, on the whole. If they can survive this campaign there is reason to believe they can get back to being top-half regulars. Whether that “if” proves too big, time will tell …

How many Premier League goals will Erling Haaland score this season?

Erling Haaland has done what Erling Haaland does and yet many seem surprised by his goalscoring feats at Man City. His stats at every single club he has played for have been phenomenal and he is only likely to get better given he won’t turn 23 until July. Moreover, he has never played at a club as strong as Man City, a side that creates so many chances and dominates almost every game they play.

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With the 2022/23 season yet to reach its halfway point, the young Norwegian has already smashed several records but just how many Premier League goals might he score this campaign? Well, let’s take a look at his stats so far:

  • Appearances – 16
  • Goals – 21
  • Expected goals – 15.81
  • Goals per game – 1.31
  • Percentage of City’s PL games played – 94%
  • Hit woodwork – 2
  • Big chances missed – 12
  • Discipline – 3 yellow cards, 0 red cards

Goals Per Game Forecast

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On one level we might predict that Haaland will score 50 goals this season. If we multiply the 38-game season by his current average of 1.31 we get a total of 49.78. However, he has already missed one game for City and it would be reasonable to expect him to miss more during the second half of the campaign.

He does not tend to get suspended but has suffered from injuries in past seasons, playing an average of just 26 league games in his last two seasons with Borussia Dortmund. In addition, as City press for glory on four fronts this season, it is likely he will be rested at some stage. If we are generous and assume he avoids injury for the most part we might forecast that he plays 34 Premier League matches.

Using that figure of 34 and his current strike rate gives us a total of 44.54, so perhaps 45 goals is a better prediction. That is certainly plausible, with many pundits and experts believing he will reach at least 40. The bookies make him a red-hot favourite to be the leading scorer in the Premier League – he has a six-goal advantage over Harry Kane at the time of writing. However, according to the odds he has only around a 30-40% chance of reaching 40 goas, let alone 45.

PL Golden Boot History

Haaland’s 21-goal haul would be enough to win (including ties) the Premier League Golden Boot in six seasons of the competition’s history. The most goals scored in a single season is 34, achieved by Andy Cole in 1993/94 and Alan Shearer in the following campaign. Both of those were 42-game seasons though and the record since the reduction to 20 teams is 32 (Mo Salah in 2017/18). Indeed, players have only reached 30+ goals seven times in a 38-match campaign. Clearly, then, history is against Haaland reaching 40.

Haaland will score …

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Whilst the Norwegian brute’s tally of 12 big chances missed may suggest he could actually score a lot more goals, a closer analysis of his expected goals (xG) suggests the opposite. Only Liverpool’s misfiring Darwin Nunez has missed more big chances than Haaland but the former Dortmund man is hugely outperforming his xG. Over his career, he has always done that but this term at City he is even outperforming his historic overperformance!

If we ignore his earlier campaigns in Norway and Austria – which were not truly at the highest level, and also came when he was very, very young – we can see that he has always made more of his chances than the algorithms would have predicted.

Season Club Goals Expected
Goals
Difference Excess Goals
Per Game
2022/23 City 21 15.81 5.19 0.32
2021/22 Borussia Dortmund 22 17.03 4.97 0.21
2020/21 Borussia Dortmund 27 23.60 3.40 0.12
2019/20 Borussia Dortmund 13 8.89 4.11 0.27

Having analysed all the factors we believe that Erling Haaland will score 39 Premier League goals this season. We feel he may not quite hit the magical 40 due to the likelihood of him playing fewer than the maximum of 37 games (he has already missed one) and also because of a drop-off in his performance against xG to bring him closer to his norm.

That said, if City really hit their stride in the title run-in, which they might have to in order to hunt (to quote Haaland) Arsenal, they could start scoring even more freely. And if they do, a haul of 45 or more goals could certainly be within reach for the incredible striker.

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