Everton has discovered a new offensive weapon to depend on as the perplexing series goes on.

Everton has discovered a new offensive weapon to depend on as the perplexing series goes on.


Sean Dyche preaches, “Control the controllables,” and the value of set pieces to Everton is perhaps the best example of this maxim.

Dead ball scenarios can hold the key to determining a player’s fate on the field, at both ends of the field. The Blues boss begs his players to remain focused and disregard what he refers to as “the noise” regarding all the outside elements affecting their Premier League position.

While Dyche has made an effort to maintain his composure in press conferences regarding

Everton’s ongoing pursuit of a penalty, he is only human, and on this occasion,

referee Michael Oliver gave him his third yellow card of the year for arguing that his team should have been given a

spot-kick for a foul on substitute Beto.

However, Dyche has acknowledged that Everton “don’t get penalties.”
They do not receive them; instead, they are used against them in the
form of 10-point deductions, the largest sports penalty in 135 years of English top flight football for a single Financial Fair Play violation.
The appeal against this decision was resolved on Friday.
As of this writing, the Premier League has handed out 65 penalties so far
this season, with at least one penalty given to each of the remaining 19 clubs.
There have been at least two in three quarters of the division;
At least three have been had by 13 clubs; eight have had four or more;
Manchester City has five; Arsenal has six; Liverpool has seven; and Chelsea has eight.

Self-styled amateur comedians who follow rival teams like to quip:

“You’ve actually got to get into the opposition area to win a penalty.”

Well as the tumbleweed blows past after such side-splitting japes,

the fact of the matter is that Everton’s 420 touches in the box so far this season is more than seven other

Premier League teams – Wolverhampton Wanderers (two penalties); Luton Town (three penalties); West Ham United (four penalties); Burnley (one penalty); Nottingham

Forest (one penalty); Crystal Palace (three penalties) and Sheffield United (three penalties).

The Blues show their total number of top flight games on the big displays at Goodison Park prior to every home game. The record-breaking number is currently 4693,

but since their Premier League survival is still in jeopardy due to an on-the-field

penalty, the total amount of minutes they have played without receiving a penalty is now up to 3135,

and that’s without factoring in the copious amounts of stoppage time we get these days.

To borrow another Dycheism, this might add poignancy to “the stats and facts.”

Despite the head-scratching absence of penalties that adds fuel to

Evertonian fears that those running the game have got it in for their club as well as those shaping the general narrative having allegiances to their rivals – it wasn’t a rarity that whichever

way you looked at Goodison in the game against Spurs, there were a legion

of former Liverpool players chatting away as pundits – Dyche’s team

showed the crucial role that set-pieces can play in what is now a fight for survival in a third successive year.

The Blues are coming off of their season-ending escape from relegation

the previous year, and in 1994—the first time the team faced such a predicament—they employed set-pieces as a powerful weapon, curling in Andy Hinchcliffe’s inswinging corners towards Duncan Ferguson and co.

This crop, a generation later, is capable of doing the same.

Everton’s first goal against Spurs came from a corner kick taken

by Dwight McNeil, which James Tarkowski flicked on at the back-post,

finding the head of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and entering the goal by Jack Harrison.

Naturally, James Garner’s right-footed free-kick on the left gave Jarrad Branthwaite the back post assist after rebounding off visiting captain Cristian Romero.

Only a week earlier, Luton Town had knocked the Blues out of the

FA Cup at Goodison Park with a brace of corners but as the tallest team in the Premier League, Dyche’s men should be dominating both boxes.

The two goals against Ange Postecoglou’s side significantly shifts

the balance of Everton scoring more goals from set-pieces this term (13) than they’ve got from open play (12, one other is classed as ‘counter attack’).

The oddity of the penalty kick is still perplexing, but only Arsenal (14) has scored more set pieces in the Premier League than Everton this year; the only other team to score in double digits is

relegation foe Luton Town (10).

A penalty shootout loss to Fulham ended the Blues’ hopes of winning the Carabao Cup;

is this surprising considering how little experience their players have had from 12-yard range? – However,

in addition to the outcome of their appeal, a set-piece shootout held across the nation

over the course of the next three months may decide if Goodison Park hosts elite football for its final campaign.

Read more related updates on sporttoday.co.uk

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