Everton’s Marco Silva to be sacked? Perhaps it should be the board

After being destroyed 5-2 in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool, Everton reached a new low and are now in the relegation zone, what happens next? The thinking is clear and that is manager Marco Silva will be sacked, and yet it hasn’t happened yet.

Everton club owner Farhid Moshiri hinted that results needed to be improved as far back as last January when Everton were going through a miserable spell. The problem for the club is that they head hunted Silva from Watford as if he was the second coming and paid £4m for his services- you don’t do that and then sack the ‘messiah’ five months later. They held on and admittingly Everton’s results picked up near the end of the season. But this new lack of form has riddled the club since the beginning of the season, when is it enough.

Bill Kenwright on the board at Everton could be seen shaking his head when Leicester grabbed a last minute winner against Everton last weekend and that seemed to be the nail in the coffin. After all reports had suggested that Silva had one game v Leicester to keep his job. The board stepped back and gave him the Liverpool one and they conceded 5 goals. The players simply aren’t good enough and Silva does seem like the wrong manager. Should he be sacked? It looks like the right answer, the problem though is the board should go with him.

So here is the deal with the board at Everton, they have been incredibly generous at the club. In most cases fans want the board out and new ownership because of tight purse strings but this really isn’t the case at Everton, No with Moshiri backing them up and TV revenue at the highest it’s been Everton are spending money, so well done on the board for that. The problem is that the board are identfying the wrong managers to take over the club and it hasn’t just happened once or twice. Anyone remember Ronaldo Koeman? Not even Roberto Martinez was a success although he did have a very decent first season with the club.

Behind Manchester City and Liverpool Everton are the 3rd highest spenders in recent seasons, so to finish mid table and to be 18th in this season shows very poor skills at the top. Why did the board chase after Silva? On what knowledge did they want to bring in the likes of Sam Allardyce and Koeman? It shows a lack of ambition. So yes well done that the board are willing to open up the chequebook but it is bittersweet when they are not attracting top drawer managerial talent. Jose Mourinho’s move to Tottenham being an obvious recent example.

Rumours are suggesting that David Moyes who spent 11 seasons at the club in the 2000s could be coming back. Moyes did well for the club in that he had next to no budget and kept them a regular top six side, but he won nothing in that time. Moyes has been poor since leaving Everton and there is a feeling of nostalgia taking place, that doesn’t usually end well. Again if the Moyes story is true then the board are at fault and are showing a serious lack of ambition.

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Why Everton can’t sack Marco Silva right now

At the weekend Everton slumped to their 7th defeat from 13 games, but this was a loss that felt completely different from the others that preceded it. Why? Well going into the match it was clear that Everton manager Marco Silva was under pressure to keep his job. But there was confidence in the side who had recently drawn against Tottenham and beat Southampton and then Norwich arrived.

The problem with losing 2-0 to Norwich was (A) it was at home and (B) it was against the bottom club who had shipped 28 goals. It was in a nutshell a disastrous result that plummeted the club to 16th position and just four points clear of Norwich. It was a result that should have triggered Silva’s sacking, except it didn’t.

Apparently former Everton manager David Moyes is waiting in the wings and there have been reports that the club would try for Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder and Burnley’s Sean Dyche, so why not make a move? The reason seems to be what is awaiting the club fixture wise. Check this out.

This weekend Everton will play Leicester away from home. This is the same Leicester who are currently in 2nd place and are undefeated at home this season. Meanwhile Everton have lost 4 from 6 games away from home winning just one. After that game comes another away match this time to the team in 1st place- Liverpool. The Merseyside derby is always good and tense but the way Liverpool has been playing this looks like being a bad weekend for the club.

After that Everton have to play the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. A date with Manchester City away from home awaits the club on New Year’s Day. So look at the situation from this point of view. If Everton reacted in a normal manner Silva would be sacked and an incoming manager is brought in, but look at those fixtures. Those are matches that can make everything seem rather difficult. Do Everton really want to put a new manager in that type of firing squad? One difficult game after another could build a very negative reputation.

Look at Tottenham, their appointment of Jose Mourinho was perfect for the fixtures coming up. Playing West Ham who have been very poor lately, then it was a Champions League match against Olympiacos the weakest team in their group and this weekend Spurs will be at home again this time to Bournemouth. Owner Daniel Levy has obviously seen this and eased Mourinho into the role.

The same should happen with a new Everton manager. And who knows maybe Silva’s Everton will produce the odd shock anyway. But long term it seems that Silva’s days are away from the club. It’s just the timing that counts now and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Everton change manager not now but in a months time.

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Why Jose Mourinho should never have been sacked as Manchester United manager

Since Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United in 2013 it has been quite a nightmarish ride for the fans who were so used to seeing multiple successes, good players and great games at the club.

It’s been a shock for United at how many plans have failed since Ferguson left. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have all tried to put United back on the map. But the club are certainly going backwards albeit with a certain glimmer of light, which just about still shines in the halls of Old Trafford.

In the 6 years since United have won 3 trophies, 2 of them the Europa League and League Cup were won with Jose Mourinho in charge, and he also led the club to 2nd place in the league- their best ever finish post Ferguson. One wonders if United made a huge error sacking Mourinho? Of course at the time it did look like the best option. United were losing every week and misery seemed to be engulfed with the club. For reasons we will most probably find out in a players book Mourinho had lost the dressing room, but how is that different from the other coaches who have managed at the club.

When David Moyes arrived at Everton, then defender Rio Ferdinand admitted that he had no respect for the ex-Everton manager, this before Moyes had properly overseen his first game. Van Gaal seemed like an odd appointment, a brilliant one had it been the 1990s, but in 2014? The Dutchman was well past his sell by date, he lost some games you would have expected United to win but he did win the FA Cup as a parting gift. Solskjaer started well but has been a nightmare coach for the club, some of his buys have been inspired and he wants to do his best, but he simply looks like a small fish in a vast ocean.

Mourinho needed a clear out of players if he was to stay, and the one negative you could say about him is the special one is pretty useless at rebuilding teams and leaving some sort of legacy for the next manager. But what he does deliver are trophies, he just needs the sort of players that will train hard and work hard for him, that wasn’t going to be the case at United.

Records of Manchester United managers since Sir Alex Ferguson:

David Moyes win rate= 52.9%

Louis van Gaal win rate= 52.4%

Jose Mourinho win rate= 58.3%

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer win rate (so far) = 51.1%

Everton are improving under Marco Silva but need to dream bigger

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Marco Silva has been under pressure as Everton manager this season but all in all the league standing of the club and especially their last 2 months has proven that the team are improving under Silva’s guidance.

Football doesn’t do time like it did years ago and it looked like Silva’s job was under real threat during Christmas. The rot set in around October, after losing to West Ham in the league who were struggling to get any points at the time and then getting knocked out of the Carabao Cup to Southampton who were also in poor form. The problem for Everton is that their poor form extended until the end of February and after being knocked out of the FA Cup against Millwall Silva’s fate seem sealed.

Would he have gone had Liverpool beaten Everton at Goodison Park? Possibly so- but that is the game where everything changed for the club. Putting in a solid defensive display and not afraid to come forward Everton earned a point in a match that ended 0-0. Soon after the run continued and so did form, when can one remember Everton beating the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in short succession? The latter game ending 4-0 for Silva’s team.

If we look at the last 10 games, Everton are 3rd only behind Manchester City and Liverpool and have gained 20 points in that time, losing just 2 games and winning 60% of their games. They have scored 16 goals, which perhaps could be better but they have only conceded 5 goals. It has been a complete turnaround for the club since that Merseryside derby draw back at the beginning of March.

Players have shone too- Richarlison bought from Watford for £40m upwards has returned 13 goals in the league and 14 overall. Gylfi Sigurdsson has the same number of goals and the £50m man has really excelled under Silva. What has been really important for the club is also the way they are playing- with an attacking flair. Sure we have seen shades of negative tactics borne from the managerial periods of both David Moyes and more recently Sam Allardyce but the majority of Everton’s play and their all round attitude has been very positive and it does bode well for the future.

It will be fascinating to see how Silva approaches the summer transfer period and what new faces will come through the doors of the club. For now the club are taking small steps in the right direction. Look at last season when they finished with 49 points, they already have 53 and if they beat Tottenham on the final day of the season they will finish a massive 7 points in front of last.

Perhaps if this season had been Silva’s 3rd in charge we wouldn’t be talking about progress, but given this is his debut season with the club it will be interesting to see where he can take the Toffee’s, who from next year will have gone 25 years without a trophy, that is simply over due on anyone’s account.

Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer should be permanent Manchester United manager- what are the club waiting for?

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In 2 months Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer has done to Manchester United what three other managers and five years could not do, he has them playing the Manchester United way again so why haven’t the board announced him as United’s permanent manager?

What Solsjkaer got the job the whole mood shifted at the club one that had been moody, downbeat and not playing to their strengths under Jose Mourinho. But now it was like the mid 1990s again. Hardly anyone could have believed United would have been able to catch up to Arsenal and Chelsea and are now in 4th place. In December United were 9 points behind Arsenal, now they are a point above them and make no mistake they will fire even more ahead in the coming weeks/months.

But the United board just aren’t trusting him yet. Their argument will be that this is just the beginning- but what manager has done this well? David Moyes Louis van Gaal and even Jose Mourinho showed weakness in their first few months in charge of the club. While it is true that this incredible run will end at one point for the Norwegian, the players love him and respect him and he does have a future at the club. The worry will be if United bring in a big name and it doesn’t work out.

Zinedine Zidane may have been on most fans thoughts to come to United but we have to remember he had problems in the past with the likes of Ronaldo and especially Gareth Bale at Real Madrid, even if he was successful. The key for Solsjkaer’s success is that he is ready for his teams to play attacking football but is also ready for man management. He is happy to love every player that wears United’s famous red jersey and feels like the first proper United man in the dugout since Sir Alex Ferguson said goodbye back in 2013.

It feels that Ed Woodward and co are going to wait to see how United reach against PSG in the Champions League and feels very unfair. Nobody would have thought that United were going to win the Champions League this season. Surely now it was all about a top 4 place and deep runs in a cup. United are still there in the FA Cup and they should do well against PSG, but if they fail the manager should not be judged in this way. Let’s remember that 60 days ago he was in charge of Molde in Norway and dreaming of this job.

Give him the position, his blood and DNA belong at United and Old Trafford. Don’t let the excuse of him finally losing a game, which is going to happen be the moment that the hierarchy make the 4th mistake in 6 years.

Marouane Fellaini leaves the Premier League with no title but he gave so much more

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And so that’s it, after spending 10 and a half seasons in England’s Premier League the Belgian Marouane Fellaini has left to join Chinese club Shandong Lueng. But how will Fellaini’s legacy be remembered in England?

Fellaini was bought by Everton’s David Moyes way back in the summer of 2008 and he immediately became a regular fixture in the Everton side, helping the club to top 6 finishes and they reached the 2009 FA Cup final, eventually losing to Chelsea 2-1.

Fellaini became instantly recognisable with his permed out hair, which looked as if he had just had an electric shock, but he was giving his opponents that kind of treatment in midfield, let’s just say you knew he was in the middle of the park and he certainly had that physical side to his game- the Everton fans duly loved him. Still there seems to be a myth that he was always receiving red cards, which simply isn’t true and he was given his marching orders less than 4 times in his career in England.

Once David Moyes had joined Manchester United in his ill conceived move, spurred on by a retiring Sir Alex Ferguson one of Moyes’ first purchases was to bring Fellaini to Manchester. At first it seemed short sighted, perhaps the Belgian was only good enough on a level for Everton. But over 5 seasons later he actually proved his worth to the United side.

Countless times it was Fellaini’s goals that got Manchester United out of trouble, where they have mostly belonged since Ferguson departed the club back in 2013. In his first difficult season he didn’t even score a goal and injuries also plagued him. But in his second season that changed and he netted 7 times. Under different coaches a lot changed for him and the trophies finally started to come in. The FA Cup under Louis van Gaal and then the League Cup and perhaps his most important trophy to date the Europa League with Jose Mourinho followed suit.

Fellaini leaves England with no Premier League title of course, but at least he ended up winning 4 trophies with United. He’s also very much proved his worth as a player, scoring crucial goals, and the key reason United are still in the Champions League was because of his goal against Young Boys in the group stages, otherwise United could well have been out of the competition.

His quality and worth to both Everton and Manchester United has been of great significance and he survived so many different coaches throughout the years. Him leaving feels like a small slice of Premier League memory ending and he richly deserves his move away to China. Although at just 31 one does wonder if he still had a few more seasons in him at the very highest level. That may never be found out.

 

Everton’s bubble has well and truly burst

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One thing that can’t be levelled at Everton’s owners is the lack of backing for their most recent managers.

Ronald Koeman’s reign may have been ill-fated, but he was given funds in the transfer market to secure his targets.

Ditto Marca Silva.

Richarlison (£35m), Yerry Mina (£27m), Lucas Digne (£18m) and loan fees totalling almost £10m for Kurt Zouma and Andre Gomes, bring the Toffees’ spend to somewhere in the region of £90m. Continue reading

Has Marouane Fellaini won over the doubters?

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When all’s said and done, a 2nd place finish in the 2017/18 Premier League season was the best Manchester United were going to get.

That may disappoint some, but for a team that are still trying to find their identity under Jose Mourinho, it’s progress.

Something Marouane Fellaini has shown year after year at the Red Devils.

Many decry the Belgian as one dimensional, but Mourinho has always backed Fellaini to the hilt. Indeed, the Portuguese has even gone as far as saying on more than one occasion that the team is much weaker without the midfielder in it.

Continue reading

Injury crisis compounds Sunderland’s problems

Euro 2016

When Sunderland set the club’s lowest ever points total for a Premier League season by amassing just 15 during the 2005/2006 campaign, they lost five and drew one of their opening six games.

Furthermore after those games, then managed by Mick McCarthy, Sunderland had a goal difference of minus seven, as they sat at that foot of the table.

That record perfectly mirrors the dismal start to this season which David Moyes’ side have made, as the 53-year-old awaits a maiden league win as manager.

Sunderland short on belief and confidence

Not only has Sunderland’s results been poor under Moyes, but so too have been the majority of their performances, with the team lacking in both belief and confidence, as testified when they lost their last league game 3-2 at home against Crystal Palace after surrendering a 2-0 lead.

A septet of injuries

Whilst the result in itself represented a major disappointment for Sunderland, that was amplified by the injuries which Lee Cattermole, Adnan Januzaj and Steven Pienaar sustained during the game.

Subsequently the trio, along with Victor Anichebe, Fabio Borini, Sebastian Larsson and Vito Mannone, are set to miss their team’s home clash against West Brom, as an injury crisis has developed at Sunderland to compound their current on-field problems.

Plagued by lapses in concentration

In order to rectify those problems Moyes faces an extremely difficult task, particularly given his team’s current defensive fragility, whereby on average they have conceded two goals per league game this season despite goalkeeper Jordan Pickford performing tremendously.  Ahead of the 22-year-old lapses in concentration, such as that made by Papy Djilobodji which enabled Harry Kane to score the only goal as Sunderland lost 1-0 to Tottenham, have cost Moyes’ team dearly.

A similar scenario faced McCarthy in the 2005/2006 season as the now Ipswich Town manager oversaw a disastrous Premier League campaign, for all but four weeks of which Sunderland were at the bottom of the table.  With five games of the season remaining, the relegation of McCarthy’s team to the Championship was confirmed, as of their 38 league games they lost 29 and won just three.

One of those wins was a 2-0 success against their local rivals Middlesbrough, as Sunderland earned their first league victory of the season at the seventh attempt, with that being a feat which Moyes will endeavour to inspire his players to achieve at home against West Brom.

Defoe vital to Sunderland’s prospects

The last game between the two teams at the Stadium of Light ended goalless in April, as despite having eight efforts on goal, Jermain Defoe was frustrated in his best efforts to score.

Nevertheless the 35-year-old striker has scored four of Sunderland’s five league goals this season, including two clinical finishes against Crystal Palace, to become the joint ninth all-time leading scorer in the history of the Premier League alongside Teddy Sheringham with 147 goals.

Therefore in defiance of his team’s current troubles, Defoe has continued to exercise his wonderful finishing ability, to vividly portray that he will be vital to Sunderland’s prospects of recovering from their disappointing start to the season.

Januzaj’s injury a major blow

Another player who could potentially help Sunderland achieve that is the mercurially talented Januzaj, although the 21-year-old Belgian internationalist is forecast to be out of action for six weeks due to damaging ligaments in his ankle against Crystal Palace.

Given his ability to create the type of goal-scoring opportunities upon which Defoe thrives, Januzaj’s absence constitutes another problem with which Moyes must contend, as the former Everton, Preston North End and Manchester United manager aspires to lead Sunderland off the foot of the table.

Moyes faces extremely difficult task

Despite having yet to win a league game this season, Sunderland have enjoyed success in the League Cup, with them progressing to the fourth round by virtue of beating lower league opposition in the form of Shrewsbury and Queens Park Rangers.

Therefore Moyes’ team have proved themselves capable of winning games, although that is a habit which they are yet to develop in the Premier League but require to do so soon, so as to avoid suffering a similar fate to that experienced by McCarthy’s team of 2005/2006.

Whilst the former Republic of Ireland manager did not have his problems to seek that season, neither does Moyes at present.

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Moyes realistic on Sunderland prospects in the transfer market

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New Sunderland manager David Moyes is fully appreciative of the need to exercise realism in his search for new players, according to the BBC.

Moyes aims to strengthen Sunderland squad

Since his appointment on 23 July, Moyes has identified it as being necessary to strengthen his squad, which at the moment consists of just 16 senior members, with Sunderland still to make their first signing of the summer.

That is despite the club being linked with moves for a number of quality players, including Manchester United’s Belgian duo of Adnan Januzaj and Marouane Felliani, both of whom are well known to Moyes.

Whilst Manchester United manager, Moyes gave Januzaj his debut, ironically, against Sunderland in 2013, with the 21-year-old scoring twice as the Red Devils won 2-1.

In terms of Moyes’ relationship with Felliani, that began when the 53-year-old Scot signed the Belgian internationalist during his time managing Everton. That was from Standard Liege for a then club record fee of £15m in September 2008.

Subsequently after spending five years with Everton, Felliani became Moyes’ first signing in his role as Manchester United manager, with the 29-year-old transferring to Old Trafford for £27.5m.

As such Moyes is understood as being interested in signing Felliani for a third time but admits that is unlikely to happen, since he believes Sunderland are not currently in a sufficiently strong position to draw such players to the Stadium of Light.

“I’d love to have a player of Felliani’s level. Realistically however, that is not going to happen,” revealed Moyes, who signed a four-year-contract with Sunderland.

Realism prevails over potential transfer targets

Therefore he is being extremely pragmatic relative to the players he can realistically expect to bring to Sunderland. Nevertheless Moyes is likely to receive significant financial support from the club’s chairman Ellis Short in order to strengthen his squad, which he is actively endeavouring to do.

“We’ve got bids in for players just now. We’re trying to strengthen the squad and I’m hopeful some of them will come off. In this market at the moment, you just never know,” said Moyes. His predecessor Sam Allardyce criticised Sunderland’s player recruitment policy, with Moyes indicating that as being an area in which he can definitely help the club improve.

“It does take a bit of time but we’ll make it work. We’ll get signings in. I am confident because if you look at the transfers we had at Everton, I think we had the best transfer record of any club in the Premier League. I hope to somehow replicate that during my time at Sunderland,” the Daily Mail quoted Moyes as saying.

Progressing towards a first signing

Ultimately however his primary ambition is to secure a first signing as Sunderland manager, which he is currently working towards, with The Sunderland Echo reporting that, in addition to Felliani and Januzaj, Moyes is also pursuing Rubin Kazan midfielder Yann M’Vila and Tottenham full back DeAndre Yedlin who both spent last season on loan with the Black Cats.

Furthermore Moyes is believed as not only wishing to sign a full back of Yedlin’s quality, but also a new centre-half and striker.

As yet the identities of potential targets for those latter two positions remain are still to be revealed but what is clear, is that Moyes faces a race against time to strengthen his squad before Sunderland’s first game of the 2016-2017 season, which is against Manchester City on 13 August.