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Everton must park Chelsea debacle and off-field issues ahead of relegation six-pointer with Nottingham Forest

Blocking the noise has been the blueprint of Sean Dyche's Everton reign; Off-field troubles must be parked if club are to stave off relegation a third straight year; watch Everton vs Nottingham Forest on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday from 12.30pm; kick-off 1.30pm

Image: Everton host Nottingham Forest, live on Sky Sports

"Miles off it."

That was the frank assessment of Sean Dyche following a chastening evening in the capital for his Everton side - but that could just as easily have been about his own performance.

From the first minute during the 6-0 drubbing on Monday Night Football, it was obvious that reports of Chelsea's demise had been greatly exaggerated.

Dyche, alongside his assistants Steve Stone and Ian Woan, had set the team up to go toe-to-toe with a side that would prove superior in all areas. The manager will have taken a long look at himself after the way he set his Everton team up. They were far, far too open.

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Everton boss Sean Dyche says his players must remain focused and ignore 'outside noise' in order to remain in the Premier League and admits there are outcomes at the club that he cannot control, amid The Toffees' point deduction uncertainty.

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It was a lesson and the worst possible start to a huge week on the pitch for a club that has been pushed from pillar to post off it - and that's just this season.

To his credit, James Tarkowski fronted up moments after the final whistle, telling Sky Sports: "[It will] be a long debrief that. We underperformed, and it's the most embarrassed I have felt as an individual and as part of a team as a footballer.

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Everton centre-back James Tarkowski apologises to the travelling Toffees fans and admits it's the most embarrassed he's ever felt as a footballer

"It shows where we are at today. We can only apologise to the fans who supported us. It is on the players, it is not on the manager and the staff. No excuses on our behalf, we need to brush ourselves down as we have a big few weeks coming up."

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Nottingham Forest visit Goodison Park on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, and the stakes couldn't be higher.

Both clubs have been the subject of points penalties - and the Premier League says it will seek to ensure the outcome of the respective appeals against deductions imposed earlier this month is known before the last round of top-flight games on May 19.

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Jamie Carragher feels Everton are where they are because of poor ownership and believes this should be the club's fans' focus over the points deduction

Everton were docked points by an independent commission last week for an admitted breach of top-flight profitability and sustainability rules (PSR), and have now formally lodged an appeal.

It means PSR appeal processes involving Everton and Forest, who sit just above the Premier League relegation zone in 16th and 17th respectively, are ongoing. Forest's hearing against a four-point PSR sanction is understood to have been scheduled in the week beginning April 22.

Luton - two points behind Everton in 18th - missed the chance to move out of the bottom three when they were thrashed 5-1 at home to Brentford at Kenilworth Road on Saturday. It offers both sides a great chance to create a bit of daylight at this late stage of the season.

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Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol explains how it might play out for Everton after the club officially appealed against their two-point deduction

Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports: "We've been saying for a while now, 'it's a huge game at Goodison and the crowd will get them over the line and keep them up'. I think that will probably be the same, but they ask too much of the supporters.

"Fans left early against Chelsea, but what do you expect? This has been going on for years. For years, Everton have been sacking managers and fighting relegation and worrying at this stage of the season."

Can Onana emerge as Everton's saviour?

All three of Amadou Onana’s Premier League goals for Everton have been headers
Image: Amadou Onana's impact at Everton is hard to define

Amadou Onana was a second-half substitute for Everton the last time Forest were the visitors to Goodison in the early weeks of last season. It was the midfielder's home debut for the club.

Within minutes, the 22-year-old was booked and he was then lucky not to be sent off for another offence as he struggled to get up to speed with the game. Everton relied on a late equaliser from Demarai Gray to salvage a point, with Onana at times playing cheerleader in trying to rouse a response from the crowd.

But Onana could find himself back on the bench this weekend. Signed from Lille, he has seldom generated an increase in decibels with the ball at his feet since joining the club for £33m including add-ons.

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Amadou Onana held his head in his hands after taking a shocker of a penalty against Fulham which saw Everton knocked out of the Carabao Cup

He was hooked at half-time at Stamford Bridge by Dyche, with the Belgium midfielder's costly penalty miss in the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Fulham being viewed perhaps unfairly in some quarters as the turning point in Everton's season.

In previous campaigns, a player has emerged as the club's knight in shining armour. Last term, Abdoulaye Doucoure embodied the spirit of the fanbase in dragging the team to safety, while it was the turn of Richarlison the year before.

With Doucoure's goals drying up and fresh fitness issues surrounding Dominic Calvert-Lewin, now would be the perfect moment for Onana to justify his hefty price tag.

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Highlights from the Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton

Carragher said: "He came in with a huge reputation under Lampard. He looks the part and he did really well for Belgium at Wembley [against England]. There's been talk of him going to other bigger clubs.

"But I don't see it at Everton. I don't know what he is. I don't know if he's a holding midfielder. Does he get forward? Does he get involved? The only thing I've seen him do is try to lift the crowd.

"This has been going on far too long and [against Chelsea] the absent owner Farhad Moshiri was there to see it all unfold from the stands. It's been a mess, from points deductions to the ownership. They're fighting for their lives."

Will Everton have to rely on Beto again?

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Beto goes over the bar in first chance for Everton

Despite being soundly beaten, Everton's finishing problems were also exposed at 0-0 when striker Beto missed a glorious chance to take the lead, from a position that accumulated an xG of 0.94.

Wasteful finishing has held them back all year. Beto's blushes may have been spared by the offside flag going up but if he'd hit the net VAR most likely would have overturned that offside call and given the goal.

It wasn't their only opening - they finished the game with an xG of 1.41 but the team with the worst shooting accuracy in the league found the target with just two of their efforts and again went goalless.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates his opener
Image: Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Abdoulaye Doucoure need to click

Dominic Calvert-Lewin had scored two goals in as many games before a hamstring complaint ruled him out of the trip to London. Given the magnitude of this weekend's game, handling a striker plagued by injuries with caution could prove an astute move.

While it was an improvement in their away form which contributed heavily to Everton's final-day escape last term, they must lean heavily on positive results at Goodison Park this time around.

Everton remain winless in their last nine Premier League away games, with Monday's loss their second biggest margin of defeat in the competition following a 7-0 loss to Arsenal in May 2005.

The visit of Nottingham Forest is the first of three consecutive home games, while Sheffield United will also make the trip to Merseyside before the end of the campaign.

"It was an ugly night," said Dyche, who suffered the biggest defeat of his managerial career at Stamford Bridge. "It was a perfect storm in the way that we seemed to get punished. That can't happen again. We have six big games coming."

Clean sheet key to Everton victory?

Star man: Jarrod Branthwaite
Image: Jarrod Branthwaite was withdrawn against Chelsea

Remarkably, each of Everton's last 10 Premier League home wins has been to nil, with the Toffees failing to win any of their last 22 at Goodison Park when conceding, losing 17 of them.

Their last such victory was against Crystal Palace in May 2022, which confirmed the club's top-flight status for another season under Frank Lampard.

Lampard, like Dyche last term following the win over Bournemouth on the final day, spoke bullishly about the club never being in this precarious position again. And yet, Everton's Premier League status still hangs in the balance with six games remaining.

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Everton boss Sean Dyche cut a frustrated figure as he reflected on the Toffees' heavy 6-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Forest are one of only four clubs below them in the table, and Sunday's encounter promises to be one not for the faint-hearted. Something has to give.

Of the 17 ever-present sides in the Premier League since the start of last season, Nuno Espirito Santo's side have won the fewest away games (3), earned the fewest away points (18), lost the most away games (23), scored the fewest away goals (28) and conceded the most away goals (77).

Everton, meanwhile, have won just one of their last 15 Premier League games, while their last two wins in the competition have come against Burnley.

Everton vs Nottingham Forest
Image: Watch Everton vs Nottingham Forest on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday from 12.30pm; kick-off 1.30pm

"Everyone wants to be a professional," Dyche added. "Now the professional bit kicks in where we have to do everything to look after ourselves.

"We've had two knocks [with the points deductions], everyone has scratched their heads but it's done. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We've got to get on with business."

Dyche is refusing to accept that the off-field issues are affecting the mentality of his group on the pitch, insisting it "has to be parked". Blocking out the noise has formed the blueprint of his time in charge.

Everton must do so again this week if they are to take a big step towards safety.

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