Everton will host Newcastle United in their Premier League clash at Goodison Park tonight and Sean Dyche will be hoping the home advantage gives his team a much-needed boost.
The Toffees have found themselves in a precarious position in the league table, currently two points deep in the relegation zone, so taking a win from their meeting with Eddie Howe’s incredibly in-form side will be absolutely vital in their challenge for survival.
Indeed, Dyche has had to deal with several injuries and suspensions to players since his arrival on Merseyside in late January with Seamus Coleman, Amadou Onana and Dominic Calvert-Lewin just some of the key players who have missed out.
Not only that, Mason Holgate found himself in hot water on his return to action last weekend, picking up a suspension for a second yellow card, whilst Abdoulaye Doucoure has been sidelined for the last three.
Having said that, Doucoure’s return to action could not have come at a better time for Dyche as the midfielder was in great form ahead of his suspension and it would come as no surprise if he doesn’t make an instant appearance in the starting XI tonight.
As a result, due to Newcastle’s tenacity in attack, it may be time for Alex Iwobi to lose his spot to accommodate the combative Doucoure’s return.
Will Iwobi be dropped vs Newcastle?
The Everton boss will be well aware that Newcastle have been unstoppable in front of goal with a 6-1 victory chalked up against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, so finding ways to hold off their overwhelming press will be essential.
A more defensive approach would be wise for the Everton boss, especially in the centre of the pitch where many of the battles will be contested, so it makes sense for Iwobi to come out of the position for a more all-around performer like Doucoure.
The £120k-per-week ace – who has been dubbed “exceptional” by Frank Leboeuf – has revived his career on the blue side of Merseyside over the last 12 months and has played a key role in attacking play, registering as many as eight assists this term.
However, when it does come to winning important battles and physicality in midfield, Iwobi has not been the best performer.
Over 32 league appearances, despite shining in his attacking attributes, the 26-year-old has lost 73% of his aerial duels and 52% of his ground duels, as well as only averaging 0.6 interceptions and losing possession 14.5 times per game.
With that being said, it would make sense for Dyche to deploy a physical presence in Doucoure instead, to ensure the Toffees are defensively sound.
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