Everton manager Sean Dyche must now return to a three-man midfield ahead of Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace in what is a vital fixture for the Toffees.

Dyche has favoured a midfield trio of Idrissa Gana Gueye, Amadou Onana and Abdoulaye Doucoure since taking over at Goodison Park, but suspensions and injuries have forced the 51-year-old into a reshuffle of late.

Doucoure, who cost Everton around £20m in 2020, is two games in to a three-game ban for a straight red card against Spurs earlier this month, while Onana was unavailable for Fulham’s visit to Goodison Park through injury.

James Garner made his first start for the Blues in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat, alongside Idrissa Gana Gueye, but Everton looked wide open for prolonged periods of the match, just as they did throughout the 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford the week before.

Everton FC v Fulham FC - Premier League
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Saturday’s trip to Selhurst Park could be vital for the club’s future, and Dyche must go with three in the middle if the Blues are to return to Merseyside with anything from the game.

Doucoure is still unavailable and while there is no word on Onana’s fitness as of yet, Everton must play a midfield trio, regardless of personnel.

Alex Iwobi has continued his role as a winger, though when he briefly came inside on Saturday, his presence afforded James Garner the time and space to pick out Dwight McNeil who levelled for Everton.

However, the Nigerian international soon drifted back out wide and Everton were left short in the middle once more. Dyche should have seen that the extra man in midfield immediately paid dividends, but it was not to be.

Dyche must sure up Everton midfield, or risk throwing away points and PL survival

Everton lack quality, and therefore need to outnumber and stifle the opposition. The Blues cannot go to Selhurst Park and play as openly as they have for the past two fixtures, especially as Palace’s form has improved since the appointment of Roy Hodgson.

Leeds United v Crystal Palace - Premier League
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Onana walks back into the side if he is available, but should he remain sidelined, Alex Iwobi must occupy the middle of the park alongside Idrissa Gana Gueye and James Garner, with Demarai Gray taking up a place on the wing.

Such a formation would give Everton more balance and should give the Blues a chance of returning from Selhurst Park with something out of the game.

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