By George Overhill

2nd Mar, 2023 | 8:10pm

Paul Merson predicts Everton vs Nottingham Forest result after Liverpool and Arsenal away hidings

Paul Merson has predicted Nottingham Forest will beat Everton on the strength of being the home team, with both sides terrible on the road.

Sean Dyche’s arrival garnered two vital home wins but after losing at Anfield in what Merson calls a “shockingly poor” performance, the next away trip saw a 4-0 collapse at Arsenal on Wednesday (1 March), with the team yet to score a goal on the road.

Merson concedes that Steve Cooper’s Forest side are also “atrocious” away from the City Ground, having been hammered 4-0 at West Ham last Saturday (25 February), but has tipped them to win 2-0 on Sunday (5 May).

Merson said in his Sportskeeda predictions column: “Everton’s threat has generally been limited to set-pieces of late. They have become a bit harder to beat under Sean Dyche but that’s not saying much. They got booed off the pitch after their 2-0 loss against Aston Villa last weekend.

“I see Nottingham Forest being too much for them to handle at City Ground this weekend. Everton’s last away game was against Liverpool and they were shockingly poor in that game.

“I’m backing Nottingham Forest to win this one 2-0. Forest are very good at home. Their away record is atrocious. I expect them to win. Nottingham will get a seven-point lead over Everton if they do that.”

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Bleak assessment

Everton have only won twice away from Goodison Park in a year, with the 2-1 victories at Southampton earlier this campaign (1 October) and Leicester last season (8 May) the only occasions across all competitions.

It’s a dreadful record that is going to have to change long-term if Dyche, or anyone else for that matter, is going to keep the club out of trouble for any length of time.

This weekend would be a perfect place to start, with the shine wearing off of the six points in the first three matches of the new manager’s reign amid back-to-back defeats.

Getting Demarai Gray back involved might be a good way to go about it, given Neal Maupay hasn’t been able to get anything going in attack, and the Englishman is the club’s top scorer with five.

The deficiencies in the final third were on full view once again at the Emirates as early break-away chances when the Toffees were in the ascendency fizzled out into nothing, before the game was thrown away via needless errors.

Everton aren’t going to win games without scoring goals, and while the defenders can sometimes come up with one, if Dominic Calvert-Lewin is missing, Anthony Gordon has been sold, and Maupay continues his barren run Gray looks the most likely option.

Unless Ellis Simms can break out there aren’t many other ways to turn thanks to a total failure in the transfer market, but Dyche has to find some way to improve of a record of two goals in five matches so far.