Everton season preview: Attackers

The area that has caused Evertonians the most headaches over the past two seasons has been the final third of the pitch. From a lack of depth to seemingly endless injuries numerous factors have combined to make the Blues one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. In part 4 of our squad review, we run the rule over Sean Dyche’s attacking threat.

Dwight McNeil

It speaks volumes that the club’s top scorer last season was a winger not noted for his goal threat. In a challenging first season, following his transfer for Burnley, McNeil’s one-footedness and lack of lightning pace made him a focal point for the fans ire. The arrival of Sean Dyche, however, seemed to galvanise the player.

Given a clear role and clearly being told to gamble more on getting into the box, McNeil was perhaps Everton’s most important player in the fight for survival. His 7 goals and 3 assists were priceless, as was his ability to help the team filling in as a wing back. It will be exciting to see how he progresses this season, even if we’ll have to wait a few weeks following a pre-season ankle injury.

Dominic Calvert Lewin

When he’s fit, Dom is one of the most physically dominant strikers in the league. The problem, of course, has been that he’s barely been on the field for 2 years now. Sean Dyche is the 3rd manager to attempt to get to the root of the issues that began with a bizarre sofa accident. Personally, I’d rather see him back later than rushed into another morale-sapping false start.

Being able to hold the ball up, pull defenders around the park and jump like a basketball player, Calvert Lewin is absolutely vital to any chance we have of a nice, boring season of midtable obscurity.

Arnaut Danjuma

A blind man could see that Everton’s lack of back-up options across the front line was a big part of our problems last season. It is encouraging then, that we clearly see efforts being made to remedy that beginning with Danjuma’s season long loan from Villareal.

Whilst he didn’t set the world on fire at Spurs after snaking out of Finch Farm in January, the 26 old has the potential to be a difference maker. Most comfortable off the left, he can also fill in as a centre forward (reminds me of someone…) and if he could pop up with the 10 goals he scored in his last season in La Liga, he’ll make a lot of friends on Merseyside.

Demari Gray

Although he’s seemingly on the way out, I should probably include another player who can frustrate and delight. Gray has pace to burn, and looks comfortable with the ball at his feet. What he doesn’t look is up when he has the ball at his feet. He also rarely offers a goal threat beyond the occasional screamer.

Whilst I have been happy to have him in the team given our total lack of other options, he really should be one of those other options. Hopefully we make a profit on the £1.2m he cost.

Neal Maupay

If you can’t say anything nice, it’s better to not say anything. I will say, though, that being asked to play as a lone frontman whilst being our only fit senior striker is not his fault or his game. I hope he goes somewhere and has a great career.

Youssef Chermiti

Exactly the sort of player we should be signing. If you can break into the first team of a club as big as Sporting Lisbon whilst still a teenager, you must be doing something right. 3 goals in 16 appearances from a player too young to rent a car is also a decent return.

Pacy with great feet, he looks an ideal understudy to DCL and will, hopefully, see plenty of gametime as he adjusts to his new environs. One of the reasons to be excited about the season.

Tom Cannon

After 20 league appearances and 8 goals in the Championship for Preston North End last season, it’s time for Tom Cannon to fight for a role in the 1st team squad. We haven’t been the best at offering a pathway through the academy in recent years, so I’m eager to see what he can bring to the table. Hopefully gets some minutes.

Lewis Dobbin

Dobbin also spent last season on loan, where he was almost ever-present for League 1 Derby County. In all honesty, I would hope and expect him to be loaned out into the Championship in the coming weeks as he doesn’t look ready for Premier League action.

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