Everton vs Nottingham Forest
Source: Toffeeweb

Match Preview Jarrad Branthwaite came through a light training session today and the hope is he will be fit to play after coming off during the second half against Chelsea on Monday Everton go into the latest of a series of huge games at Goodison Park as rivals to avoid relegation, Nottingham Forest, come to town and the outcome could have a huge bearing on whether the Toffees remain in the Premier League for next season.

The Grand Old Lady has borne witness to some hugely significant occasions over the past two years as the respective seasons have entered their crucial stages but this will be the first genuine "six-pointer" staged here since the 1-0 win over Leeds United 14 months ago.

Everton and Forest will come into the fixture separated by a single point, the result of the former's harsher treatment by their first Independent Commission, which opted to deduct 10 points from the Club (later reduced to six, of course) and the fact that the Blues were hit with an unprecedented second sanction in the same season with two more points taken away.

Depending on what happens between Luton and Brentford 24 hours earlier, the East Midlanders might be kicking off in the relegation zone - either a potential motivator or source of fear - but for Sean Dyche, the task is a simple one: pick his players up after that horrific 6-0 defeat at Chelsea on Monday and get them back to playing the kind of football that beat Forest in the return fixture in December in the middle of a run of five wins in six.

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"We can't just park it, that's for sure," said Dyche during his press conference at Finch Farm of his team's humiliation at Stamford Bridge. "I certainly haven't. The players were affected by it, and they were very disappointed - as was I, in my part as manager. I take responsibility, inevitably.

"We spoke to the players about it, and they fed back their disappointment, as well as mine. Equally, by now we've made sense of it, of course, but, the day after, we certainly [hadn't]. It was a challenge, but now you do have to park it.

"So, we've had a chat about it this morning to finish it off and go, 'Right, that's gone. We move forwards'."

Everton attracted widespread criticism for their abysmal defending during a first half that yielded four goals for Chelsea and a hat-trick for Cole Palmer. Central midfielders Amadou Onana and James Garner paid the price by being taken off at half-time but neither James Tarkowski nor Jarrad Branthwaite covered themselves in glory on the night.

"You've got to do the basics," Dyche explained. "You've got to work, you've got to harry, you've got to press, you've got to fight, you've got to tackle and you've got to play, of course. And we were nowhere near either.

"There were a lot of home truths [aired] - me included, by the way - about what I expect from myself, from the staff, and from the players, and realigning, saying: 'Right, you can only do it as a group. You can't do it as individuals,' and pull it all back together.

"The players have been disappointed. I must make that clear. It's a funny thing about football nowadays... 'Oh, do they care?' They care. Trust me, they care. I care deeply about what we're trying to achieve here, but they care as well."

Those afore-mentioned midfield performances, combined with the anticipated availability of Idrissa Gueye after two games out, will probably make Dyche's selection task easier for this one, with Onana expected to start on the bench and Andre Gomes preferred to Garner.

There is a strong argument for deploying Garner either at right-midfield or right-back in the absence of injured duo Seamus Coleman and Nathan Patterson but the sensible money would go on either Ben Godfrey or Ashley Young starting at full-back and, perhaps Jack Harrison, taking the more attacking role on the right.

Arnaut Danjuma's return to fitness provides another option off the bench while, up front, the hope is that Dominic Calvert-Lewin will come through one last training session tomorrow with no reaction in his hamstring so that he can lead the line.

Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo will still be wtihout striker Taiwo Awoniyi and defender Willy Boly while Anthony Elanga will undergo a late fitness test but he will be looking for midfield dynamo, Morgan Gibbs-White, and tall forward Chris Wood to provide his main threat against an Everton side that has forgotten how to defend in recent weeks.

The Blues' back line was hardly troubled by Burnley in their last home match, an ugly 1-0 win, but you had to go back to January for their previous clean sheet.

The more promising statistic for Dyche's goal-shy outfit, however, is that the Trees have only kept one clean sheet of their own since the first week of November and they've been particularly vulnerable at set-pieces which have, for much of the campaign, been Everton's bread and butter.

Victory for the Toffees coupled with defeat for Luton would clearly provide a massive boost to Everton's survival hopes as it would put four points between them and Forest and move them five ahead of Luton with those two rival teams only having four games left to play. Fingers crossed Dyche's charges rise to the challenge and seize the day.

Kick-off: 1:30pm, Sunday 21 April, 2024Referee: Anthony TaylorVAR: Stuart AttwellLast Time: Everton 1 - 1 Nottingham Forest

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Godfrey, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Gueye, Gomes, Harrison, McNeil, Doucoure, Calvert-Lewin

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Posted 19/04/2024 at 22:40:35

No Doucoure for me. Garner, with Gomes further up.He is not a defensive midfielder for crying out loud.

Posted 19/04/2024 at 22:43:58

Don't know what to make of this. If you'd have asked me on Tuesday or Wednesday I would have been indifferent to it.

Now the dust has settled after that debacle on Monday I'm more and only a tiny bit more optimistic.

The other part of me says 1 win in 15 and by god that stat makes me cringe. So I'm not getting my hopes up.

Let's be fair Forest are no great shakes, but I said the same about Chelsea and we all know the outcome of that.

I'll go for a draw, but be over the moon with a win.

Posted 19/04/2024 at 22:48:46

They must start winning and winning well. Confidence is everything. Did anyone hear Darren Fletcher on 5Lives Friday Night Club - brilliant statement he made about the modern game and how worried we should all be about the SLY SIX influence over everything these days. He included the decision to stop FA Cup replays and how awful a decision it was. Followed it with an arguement with Kevin Nolan who attempted to defend the EPL/FA decison to stop them. If you didn't try to find it. It's the first time I can recall that a BBC employee went all anti TopSix and EPL. Brilliant.

Posted 19/04/2024 at 23:45:35

I would take a scruffy or a lucky goal again now, if it meant a win and three points, if it were that easy. Forest will have the smell of fear and three points themselves. What worries me is they have some dangerous players capable of scoring, which we haven't !

Posted 20/04/2024 at 00:07:19

For me, after Monday, and all on, this game, defines Everton, survival approach, all considered. Shit Creek, we cleared, 2 years ago, but this is now.

Posted 20/04/2024 at 01:30:44

Dyche has to get this right and organize his players to have a good go at Forest and not sit too deep. The crowd will react if we are too defensive and that will make it worse.Time for our only two decent footballers in Gomes and Garner to step up and find some passes through the leaky opponents defense and if Danjuma is fit then I would give him a start. Sick of seeing our two big so called strikers.

Posted 20/04/2024 at 02:21:26

It's been the perfect storm this season relegation becons.. do us as fans have it in us to pull this team over the line again? The pressure is on Everton, I think Forest will be less worried..2 nil to Forest...

Posted 20/04/2024 at 02:34:42

As the wisest of tacticians, Pat Kelly once said, "just twat these".

Posted 20/04/2024 at 03:24:02

Dale - Pat also said, "Are we still in this?" :0)

This is it. This is THE defining game.

The showdown at the OK Coral. Must win.

Say your prayers kids, we lose this and it's curtains.

It's killing me that I'll be driving in Georgia back to Florida and have to watch on the phone, not able to be on the Live Forum. But that's honestly just personal, trivial things. We just have to win this game. Three points or we're in big, big trouble in my opinion.

The showdown at the OK Coral. The Alamo. Pick your thing, this is it.

Posted 20/04/2024 at 04:03:09

If we are not above Luton come Sunday lunch time you may find me a grave man.

Posted 20/04/2024 at 04:26:17

In case anyone's unaware, Moshiri trusting Kenwright has fucked us for years to come. The game against Forest is a mere precursor of things to come given that their incompetence will lead this summer to the loss of all of our competent players to the range of far better run clubs, namely every one else.

Gana/Garner/Gomes for a place in the team is the very least of the hideous problems inflicted on us by the two who've destroyed our viability/very-existence.

Posted 20/04/2024 at 04:58:25

I don't think anyone is unaware of that DonUTFT

Posted 20/04/2024 at 05:37:40

Everton now have me joining Christine in the middle of the night walk about club. What tactics can Dyche come up with now? Will it be Dycheball staying deep at Goodison with a lone striker, giving Forest dominant possession, which is dangerous, since they do have players that score? Or does he push up the pitch with a higher defensive line, after getting thoroughly taken apart for doing so by Chelsea?

His selections will be similar, like a bad habit - Young first on the team sheet. Gomes can look like a midfielder. Keane can't be risked at the back. Beto will start as I can't see Calvert Lewin being up to it yet.

Think the game will be a goalless draw on paper depending on other teams faltering. to keep Everton out of the relegation zone. Need the run of the ball to do better.We really can't have any headless chicken players that's for sure. Everton to do ok somehow!

Posted 20/04/2024 at 05:57:23

Jamie, I'll add some British examples. Dunkirk or Rorke's Drift! Put Monday night behind us, come out, fight, win your early battles and the right to play. And play with confidence.

The supporters will do their part if they see a reaction on the pitch.

As always, the Billy Smart's Circus off the pitch can wait. It's all about getting the result tomorrow.

Posted 20/04/2024 at 06:13:35

Jerome, I will be glad when this season is over, I will either be worn out or just plain dead, my heart not taking the thought of me shouting at the tv at 4am again.. I find a clarity that deserts me several hours later with sunrise, I daren't go out as my bad temper, blood shot eyes and grumpy misdemeanor, scare the heck out of the Sunday morning breakfast crew at Macca's!

Funny enough, after Burnley I had a spring and a smile, until Masters and Co took another pound of flesh. It's been torture, nothing less..but I am getting a drop of scotch in because Winters coming and it's cold at 2am.. besides if the game doesn't go well, I won't remember it..

Posted 20/04/2024 at 06:39:41

Garner Onana Gueye have to start. Please no Young. Gomes only if 10 instead of Doucoure. Garner will have to play wide right for this game.

Posted 20/04/2024 at 07:07:44

Terry 16. I don't usually get into who should and shouldn't play as I do think whoever dons the shirt should play their guts out. However, I have to say Onana from my observation is totally useless. He always passes the ball backwards or sideways very rarely looking to go forwards.He does not create space often close to a defender if not behind one. He strolls about looking the business but creativity is non existent. The other bloke I'd ditch is Pickford. His antics are not good for defenders. Constantly waving his arms and gobbing off and he makes more mistakes than any of them. His distribution has deteriorated, slicing the ball, going straight into touch or to the opposition. Virginia has an even. temperament and reassuring for defenders.

Posted 20/04/2024 at 07:07:50

Dyche said in his Forest presser when asked about poor form: "It's not my fault, it's not theirs [the players]". He actually said that.

There are no words.

It's horrible when professional dislike begins to seep into the personal. I don't like it.

He also said: "I try to speak in factual terms" and"15 games ago I was the Messiah".

There are no words.

This summer coming is our most important ever and dumping Dyche is about the 4th or 5th ranking issue. But this embarrassment has to go whether we go down or he erm "saves" us.

If he doesn't start Gomes, drops Young, starts a fit Gana, drops/shifts Doucoure from the hole behind, all fingers ever so tightly crossed, DCL (and continues in the same vein), then the immovable frozen Dyche and the other two golf balls on the sidelines have to go as soon as possible in May, but they have too already.

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