After what could be considered a mini revival for Everton since the appointment of Sean Dyche, Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa brought the Blues crashing down to earth, with centre-forward Neal Maupay cutting an isolated figure up-front.

Indeed, Everton’s toothless attack failed to capitalise on an impressive first half performance from Dwight McNeil, whose repeated attempts to create an opportunity came to nothing. The absence of the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin leaves the Toffees with a muted attack, and the club’s failure to recruit in January is proving costly.

Everton FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
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Perhaps a change in formation could improve Everton’s fortunes in front of goal and provide an opportunity for 22-year-old Ellis Simms to make a name for himself. It is clear that the £15m Maupay cannot operate as a lone striker, lacking the pace and strength required for such a role.

The Frenchman’s contribution since joining the club last summer has been limited, but while we continue to play in a style that does not suit his strengths, he is likely to struggle.

Everton FC v Aston Villa - Premier League
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A Maupay & Simms partnership could save Everton

Of course, going with two upfront would mean sacrificing a man in midfield, but for those winnable home games that we refer to as ‘six-pointers’, it could be a risk worth taking.

Everton could replace their current 4-5-1 formation for an attacking 4-4-2, Ellis Simms could start with Maupay upfront, providing the much-needed support in attack. Simms’ height and build would enable the Blues to go long, with his strike partner running in behind to latch onto a flick-on.

The inconsistent Abdoulaye Doucoure could drop to the bench, with Alex Iwobi, currently operating as a winger, returning to the midfield, where he has previously played his best football for Everton.

It would be a gamble, but starting with more attacking potency could pay dividends and with Everton currently the lowest goalscorers in the Premier League, something has to change.

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