Have Everton really progressed under Carlo Ancelotti, or is time running out for the Italian?

It’s still brilliant to think that one of the best managers ever in the game is in the dug out at Everton, a club who have struggled for the past few decades and haven’t won any silverware for the past 25 years. That put into context would make one wonder what Ancelotti is doing at the club. This after all is a man who has won everything at clubs like Real Madrid, AC Milan and Chelsea.

Ancelotti saw a challenge and ambition at the club and in owner Farhad Moshiri that means that Everton have some money too, not on a Manchester City level of course but they do have funds available.

Carlo Ancelotti is certainly the man and it would take something for the Italian legend to be sacked. Of course the word sacking and his appointment at the club are, at the moment, worlds apart and in general Everton fans must be happy with Ancelotti, but let’s face it if we are being critical maybe fans would have expected more from the club since Ancelotti got the job back in December 2019.

Ancelotti’s win rate feels like a problem, it is currently at 50% this is his lowest since managing Parma back in 1998. Though critics could point to the fact that when you are in charge of teams such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich you’re winning rates are going to be higher- this is true but the argument then surely exposes the manager’s overall qualities.

The Italian was able to earn Everton 32 points from 22 games managed last season, this would average out to around 55 points over the course of a season. It is only slight improvement of where Everton were before Ancelotti was appointed. Does his salary and the money he has been given justify the club to earn on average 5 extra points? If it was five extra for every season then yes, but the way the current one is working out he is due to arrive on about 60 points. So this could be good news, the problem is Ancelotti probably won’t be at Everton long enough to see the fruits of his labour.

There are many positives at the club and Ancelotti and his team have improved striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin from an average to poor striker to a very good one. Calvert-Lewin’s game has been brilliant under the Italian and he has scored 13 goals in the league so far that is off the scale to his usual meagre return and this has been one of the crowning glories of Ancelotti as a manager for the club.

He has been shrewd his buys too. Allan from Napoli has been solid in midfield. It’s true he only has 2 points in the fantasy rankings but he has missed quite a few games through injury. James Rodriguez was the big transfer for the club from Real Madrid. He can remain frustrating because one week he looks like he is amongst the best players in the world and the other seems to be auditioning for the invisible man role but still he has 25 points so far and has been involved in 8 goals- scoring 5 and assisting in three.

But the problems have persisted for Ancelotti, he is in favour of crowding out the midfield even when Everton play at home and there have been countless times when the club has started games very slowly. That is fatal in the Premier League and Everton have been badly exposed at home because of it.

Everton have won under 30% of their games at home and their recent loss against Fulham by 2-0 really underlined how Ancelotti is failing overall to motivate his players. Beating a team in 18th place whilst you are trying to finish in a Champions League one, one must wonder what motivation is needed to do that?

For now Ancelotti is showing his class but it does feel that it is in sprinkles and not full on. He has done well in moments and given Everton hope. They have two huge games coming up which could define their season. First up is the game against the likely champions this season in Manchester City and then it is the derby against Liverpool.

Can Ancelotti change the mindset for his team and get them over the final hurdle? Even a Europa League qualification would be welcomed at the club and let’s not forget Everton are also in the quarter finals of the FA Cup, however they will have to get past Manchester City to reach the semi’s.

Time may not be running out for Ancelotti just yet, but one has to wonder if Everton’s season peters out and the start of the next is a slow start Ancelotti could be facing the end of his Everton career by the end of 2021.

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James, Allan, Doucoure – Everton predicted XI vs Spurs

Everton fans head into the 2020-21 Premier League season with a little more optimism than usual.

The Merseyside club have splashed out more than £50 million to bring Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure to the club this week.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side will now be looking to challenge for the European places this season after a disappointing end to the last campaign which saw them finish 12th.

The Toffees begin their campaign on Sunday away to Tottenham Hotspur, who themselves underachieved last season.

A number of players can be expected to make their debut this weekend and here’s how I see Ancelotti’s side starting the match:

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford
Jordan Pickford put in a number of below par performances last season but doesn’t have much in the way of competition for the number one role at Goodison Park. The England international could certainly do with a better campaign this time around though, now with Dean Henderson competing for the a starting role at Euro 2021.

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Is James Rodriguez the right player to improve Everton?

Everton have started moving in the transfer circles after a disappointing last season and a slightly underwhelming one even once Italian legend Carlo Ancelotti stepped into the dug out.

And now Everton under Ancelotti are set to sign their first let’s say dazzling player in James Rodriguez. He who seduced Real Madrid into once paying over 60m euros for his services. Such was the excitement around the player that 45,000 Madrid fans turned up just to his induction. Though Rodriguez had a decent first two seasons with Los Blancos his influence soon tallied off in the heated atmosphere of that famous midfield which at the time included Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric. Still James as he is fondly known won 9 trophies with the club including 2 Champions Leagues. And it was Ancelotti who brought him to Madrid.

He later played for Napoli also under Ancelotti and that is why Everton fans will be optimistic of the players arrival. It has been reported that Everton are closing in on the Colombian’s signature and it seems at least from the outside that this would be a major signing for the Merseysiders and to top it off James is only 29.

So Ancelotti and Rodriguez know each other very well and that is already a great start. The problem is that whilst Rodriguez has been brilliant at times for every club he has played for he hasn’t really shown that brilliance over the course of a season. Could that be a problem? Are Everton going to break their wage allowance for a player akin to a Ferrari that revs his engines up when he feels like it but plays in gear 1 on a Tuesday evening away to Southampton?

In all honesty history says Everton are going to get a player that performs brilliantly well for a third of the season. At the same time maybe that will just do the club fine at this present time. Rodriguez is going to show the fans some wonderful tricks and goals. Maybe a superb free kick here and there and his hooking up with the likes of Richarlison when everything clicks will make Everton look like a top 6 side. Whether they will finish there is another matter.

Everton are also in the hunt for Allan the Brazilian midfielder who currently plays for Napoli. Allan is set to have a medical this week and should join for around 25m euros. And finally the club are also in talks with Watford who were relegated last season for their midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure.

If anything Everton are moving in the transfer market, and that will make their fans happy as they try to finish in the top half of the table next season.

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Napoli the losers in Allan deal

There’s an art form to knowing when to sell players. The selling club must navigate a fine line, to dance their finest tango, in a bid to make sure they produce a sizeable profit. Generally there are three roads for them to take.

The first road usually ends in the club striking prematurely, accepting a good offer rather than holding on for another season or two in the hope that player X develops even more and commands an even bigger figure. The second road tends to end with the club striking when the iron is hottest. This scenario is when player X is at the absolute pinnacle of their game, combined with them being relatively young and there is ample room to shift the player on in the future. Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 36

Wojciech Szczesny (7 points): the amount of goalie that blanked the opponents was again numbered and out of the four that managed, the Juventus one had the busiest performance as Sampdoria put up a fight to try to spoil the Bianconeri’s title celebration, but he rejected them with timely saves.

Elseid Hysaj (9 points): an uncharacteristically sparkling performance for the defensive-minded Napoli full-back, who broke the deadlock against Sassuolo with a nifty strike from outside the box for his first ever Serie A goal and sprinted down the left flank to wreak havoc multiple times. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 36

Standings implications: Juventus did not squander the second chance to wrap up the title race and took home the ninth Scudetto in a row with a two-nil win against Sampdoria. Inter leapfrogged Atalanta in second position with a comfortable win over Genoa, while the Goddess shared the spoils with Milan. Roma gained two points over the Rossoneri in the race to the fifth spot as they topped Fiorentina. Napoli helped those two team out by defeating Sassuolo in a bizarro game and there are no longer doubts regarding who will qualify to Europa League, it is just a matter of positioning. Parma eked out one in Brescia. With Lecce losing to Bologna in heart-breaking fashion, everybody is safe besides Genoa, even tough Torino could not beat SPAL, while Udinese bested Cagliari.

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Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 30

Atalanta: José Palomino was announced to be out for the past game, but he actually recovered last-minute and played few minutes, so no worries for Gian Piero Gasperini.

Bologna: Ibrahima Mbaye has missed some time with a minor injury. Andrea Poli, Federico Santander and Andreas Skov Olsen are out with thigh strains.

Brescia: same as usual as Andrea Cistana (lower leg), Jhon Chancellor (thigh) and Dimitri Bisoli (knee) are out long-term. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 29

Atalanta: Ruslan Malinovskyi is suspended for yellow-card accumulation. Josip Ilicic is not 100 percent after an ankle sprain but he is at his coach’s disposal. José Palomino is out with a thigh injury. 

Bologna: Federico Santander and Andreas Skov Olsen remain out with thigh strains. Andrea Poli will miss up to ten days with a thigh pull. 

Brescia: Andrea Cistana (lower leg) and Jhon Chancellor (thigh) will be back in mid-July at the earliest, Dimitri Bisoli (patellar tendon) is out until December. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 22

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic is dealing with some thigh soreness but there is optimism it is nothing serious. Timothy Castagne resumed practicing after some knee pain and Lennart Czyborra is available as well following a contracture. Tomas Sutalo will miss time with a navicular bone edema. 

Bologna: Takehiro Tomiyasu is suspended. Nicola Sansone should be fine after some muscle fatigue and Stefano Denswil is on track to return from a thigh problem. Gary Medel (thigh) and Ladislav Krejci (knee) are poised to remain on the shelf.

Brescia: Mario Balotelli will finish serving his two-game suspension. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 20

Lazio-Sampdoria: despite a fairly muted performance, the Biancocelesti came out on top versus Napoli last week, for the second week in a row propelled by a late Ciro Immobile goal. The capocannoniere keeps producing and has already reached the 20-goal threshold. He has scored their last three goals. Joaquin Correa will be limited, so Felipe Caicedo might get another chance to start and he has posted three goals and two assists in limited action in the last five appearances. Luis Alberto will be looking to pad his assist numbers (12), while Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has reverted back to his less efficient self after a hot stretch. Senad Lulic will be suspended, so Jony is set to play on the left wing and he is a willing crosser. The Eagles have been airtight at home. Continue reading