By Anthony Onifade

15th Apr, 2023 | 9:10pm

Demarai Gray form now a major cause for concern for Everton and Sean Dyche

Everton suffered a damaging blow to their Premier League survival hopes as they were beaten 3-1 by Fulham at Goodison Park on Saturday [15 April].

Goals from Harrison Reed, Harry Wilson and Dan James in between Dwight McNeil’s strike leaves Everton still in 17th, just above the drop zone only on goal difference with relegation rivals Nottingham Forest still to play on Sunday [16 April].

Since Dyche’s appointment, it is Everton’s home form that has given them hope in their battle against relegation with wins over Arsenal, Leeds and Brentford as well as a last-gasp draw against Tottenham but the Toffees could not match those levels against their former manager Marco Silva.

Everton were outplayed and outthought in a match many of their fans will have expected to pick up some crucial points in their quest for Premier League survival, and they will have been let down by some of the performances of their key players.

One of those players was Demarai Gray who was largely anonymous all game for the hosts in yet another lacklustre showing when Dyche and Goodison faithful needed him to deliver.

Given the club’s lack of quality right now, it is no question that the former Leicester City man is arguably the club’s most gifted and talented player but he is once again failing to find the consistency levels that has so regularly hampered him throughout his career.

With Dyche needing his key stars to step up in such a pivotal game, Gray was nowhere to be seen aside from missing a guilt-edged chance to put the Toffees ahead after a brilliant McNeil but failed to connect, and his stats on the day do not make for pleasing reading.

As per SofaScore, Gray picked up a dreadful average score of just 6.0/10 – the joint worst of any outfield player to start the game, alongside another struggler in Neal Maupay. And his underlying numbers fully explain why he was handed such a terrible score.

Alongside missing a big chance, Gray failed to register a single key pass despite his advanced attacking position, only completed 16 of his passes, failed to complete any of his dribbles, crosses or long passes and staggeringly only won two of his 12 ground duels whilst also committing three fouls.

More disappointingly, the 26-year-old lost possession of the ball a whopping 15 times highlighting his lack of composure and quality when the Goodison Park faithful need him most.

These anonymous performances are becoming a regular theme, which will certainly worry Everton as a whole and Dyche, especially at a time when they are starved of star quality in the team. Because of that, Gray could almost certainly start their next game when he surely doesn’t deserve to.