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.

What can Everton hope for?

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Everton made it four wins in their last five Premier League games by hammering a hapless Manchester United side 4-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Goals from Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott gave United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer many big problems to mull over. However, that’s not anything for Marco Silva and the blue half of Merseyside to concern themselves with.

What Everton, as a club, do need to consider, is exactly what they can hope to achieve over the next few years.

That 4-0 win puts Everton in 7th position in the Premier League, ahead of Watford on goal difference. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, The Toffees are as far away from the league’s big six as they’ve ever been. Continue reading

EPL Game of the Weekend – Everton vs Man Utd

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The late Jerry Reed once released a song entitled “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” – and no truer words could possibly be spoken about Marco Silva’s Everton of late. Just a few weeks ago, Silva’s position at the club seemed questionable, and the Toffees faced a nightmare run of home fixtures against Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd – not the type of fixture list a manager under pressure would be hoping to see! Having now emerged from that run of games with three wins and one draw – and without conceding a single goal in the process – Everton fans will be delighted with the football their team has been playing against some of England’s top teams. Everton have been the club of the week several times in the last month or so, and beat Man Utd 4-0 this weekend.

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Everton 4-0 Man Utd: Top four hopes are definitely over for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United had a big chance to go into top four for the first time in recent months, with their next fixture being against Everton, a side that are in the top half of the table and have produced several huge results against the league’s top-six this term at home.

Marco Silva’s side started the game on all fronts, as they enjoyed majority of the possession in the first half and were causing a number of problems in United’s own half. It only took the hosts 13 minutes to take the lead, which started off from a long throw-in from Lucas Digne, which was touched on by Dominic Calvert-Lewin before Richarlison volleyed the ball into the back of the net.

Everton doubled their lead through a counter attack just before the half an hour mark, which was via a well-taken shot by Gylfi Sigurdsson which somehow caught David De Gea off guard. On the other hand, the visitors were unable to do anything in the first half, as they allowed the hosts to play the ball around with flair and freedom whilst reaching the half-time break with no shots completed on target at all.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors in the second half, as Everton were not even trying to pile on the pressure and still managed to score another two goals through Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott. As a whole, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United will now see this season as a finished one, with no trophies to play for as well as the hopes of finishing in the top four being over.

Here are the three factors we learnt from Manchester United’s latest league game…

Lack of defensive composure from the team

United were all over the place from start till end, especially on the defensive side of the game, where they allowed Everton complete 15 shots, with eight of them being on target. Over the last couple of weeks, it has been more than clear that the side cannot soak up the pressure and defend for majority of the game, yet they still decide to sit very deep rather than making the opposition work on and off the ball.

Like many managers and players have said in the past, the best form of defence is to attack, meaning the more you play in the opponent’s half and the more you attack the ball in that side of the pitch, the less defensive duties you will have to worry about. If United were able to use this saying and put it into serious play, they would have a better chance of winning league matches constantly whilst being defensively sound.

No urgency or desire to dominate and retrieve possession

With the recent statistics stating the hosts ran 8kms more than the visitors, it really sums up the game as a whole of which side were more desperate and hungry for the three points and which one were not. On top of that, Tottenham Hotspur’s defeat against Man City yesterday and Arsenal losing to Crystal Palace today, will inflict more frustration and pain into United’s missed and wasted chance of going into the top four.

For sure, the Red Devils have had the chances here and there to return into the top four over the last couple of weeks, but it cannot be possible to complete without dominating possession properly and creating constant chances. The side looked like they became a high pressing team in Ole’s first few games in charge; however, they have now referred to a defensive or a park the bus method that was once deployed under Jose Mourinho, who was crucified by literally everyone for this specific style of play.

Manchester United need to act quickly and prepare for the summer window

With how the season has panned out so far and the fact that the club have gone through another campaign trophy-less, Manchester United need to get their act together and prepare themselves for a make or break summer transfer window. If they fail to buy and sell the correct players, they may not go on to compete in any competitions effectively for the next two to three years whilst also possibly losing their main stars.

Overall, the club have wasted a lot of money and have not planned well in each of the summer windows they have gone through since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. However, if they manage to spend aggressively and miss out on the areas that badly need strengthening, they will start to fall down the pecking in the Premier League. Something they are currently facing, and could fall even further below both Arsenal and Chelsea, two football clubs who have been facing their own problems in recent months.

Everton are right to sell Theo Walcott if reports are true

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In all honesty when Everton signed Theo Walcott under Sam Allardyce, eyebrows were raised. It felt that the signing from Arsenal seemed too late in Walcott’s career and it also felt that Everton simply didn’t need the player.

Granted his pace has always be the No.1. factor in having such a player in the team and yet it felt that Everton were taking steps backwards to buy the then 29 year old player who ended up costing the club in excess of £20m.

Walcott never reached his potential with Arsenal instead starring in games that had already been won or scoring goals in meaningless cup matches that meant very little against weaker opposition. That’s not to say that Walcott isn’t a good Premier League player, after all he would never have made it at a club like Arsenal with Arsene Wenger in charge. It’s just that much more was expected from a player who looked so exciting when he was at Southampton.

Walcott was never a prolific scorer even for an attacking Arsenal side who were finishing in better positions than Everton so why would he be better for Everton and be older?

So the signing made no sense and he did sign for 3 and a half years, but it seems that he is not in Marco Silva’s long term plans and the club will be looking to offload the player at a loss in the summer. At least it would ease the wage bill at the club because believe it or not Walcott earns the most at Everton and is on a huge £110,000 a week wages.

This was another short sighted area from Everton where much of the blame has to be laid at Sam Allardyce’s feet for agreeing on these fees to get his man. Walcott has also scored just 7 goals in all competitions for the club. That’s from 44 games played and is a shocking return when you think of the money spent.

In selling Walcott Everton  are giving out a positive notice of selling ‘deadwood’ and bringing in younger players. Silva after receiving some pressure this season should be ok now and will have a summer transfer of spending to do. It’s a refreshing moment for Everton who will build their team around youth and aim for a European place next season. In selling some journeymen they are going the right way under Silva, and hopefully the club will not make the same type of mistakes again.

Marco Silva earns respect at Everton after a yo yo season

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Marco Silva was supposed to be the second coming for Everton after he was appointed in the summer, but it hasn’t always been a season for Everton to remember. Fans have been vocal and club owner Farhad Moshiri has been critical but the recent upturn at the club is set to give Silva a lot more respect.

The argument for Silva’s sacking almost seemed justified a few months ago, when Everton seemingly couldn’t buy a win. It all seemed to start when they lost at home to West Ham last November, this was at a time when the Hammers were really struggling in the league. The Toffee men were soon knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Southampton again at home and everything fell apart. All of a sudden players like Richarlison were not performing and the clubs home form and away form could not be told apart. It was a harsh almost embarrassing winter for the club.

An inevitable FA Cup exit to Millwall followed and that was by and large Everton’s season over- and at that point it could have been Silva’s short reign with the club too. There were still the odd results to get excited about, like beating Burnley who had found form themselves 5-1, but all in all it felt as if Everton were destined for 16th position.

Everyone realised and surely Silva did too that the derby match against Liverpool at the beginning of March could save his job. Liverpool have been superb this season and could win their first league title since 1990, obviously it is something that Everton would want to stop. While they couldn’t beat their eternal rivals they did salvage a 0-0 draw and at least took 2 points from them. This ensured that Manchester City would go back to the top of the standings.

A 3-2 loss at Newcastle followed but Silva gained sympathy given that Newcastle’s winner was a clear off side, the jury was still out, but the execution was awaiting trial. Having to play the 2017 champions next was the big one for Everton and they passed with flying colours beating Chelsea 2-0 at Goodison Park. And then the club finally won back to back games when they avenged their defeat earlier in the season by travelling to West Ham and beating them 2-0.

And it is those results that have ultimately saved Silva’s job. He will be Everton’s manager next season, and whilst some of his playing decisions have been odd and results in general not good enough surely he deserves another summer transfer window and another season to push Everton into Europe.

 

EPL Game of the Weekend – Newcastle vs Everton

perezNewcastle fans have had something of a rough time of things this season – they have seen their side struggle to finish off the opposition, struggle to pick up the wins and all the while without the safety of knowing that their popular manager will be at the club for a great deal longer. With rumours surrounding the future of Rafa Benitez refusing to go away, the players have, at times, seemed unable to muster what was needed to get the job done. The quality in the squad can not be disregarded, but this has not always lent itself to fluent performances. As a result, when the Toon Army saw their heroes fall two goals down at home to Everton on Saturday, they could have been forgiven for expecting the worst.

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Marco Silva is not the right manager for Everton

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Another week and another loss for Everton, this time it happened yet again at their home of Goodison Park where the club lost 3-1 against Wolves. There have been calls for manager Marco Silva’s sacking but is that justified?

First we need to look to look at the positives in Silva’s appointment. Some of his buys have reacted well, such as Andre Gomes and Bernard although the pair have not been consistent enough they have been willing to adapt to Silva’s tactics and have tried to play an attacking game. Richarlison was a cheeky buy from his former club Watford and in some ways it still seems bizarre that Watford were happy to sell to Everton when they had accused the club of coming forward for Silva. Richarlison has repaid his manager with 10 goals in the league and 11 in total, for a club like Everton that is a great debut season and return.

Everton have also played with a purpose and seemed much more of an attacking threat, especially at the beginning of the season. It is the reason that when the club did lose games, like away to Arsenal the fans stayed positive, because they knew that day the better side had lost. Some fans were happy to admit that they had not seen this type of play from Everton in a generation.

But then November came and since then Everton have been poor. Dumped out of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup too early and losing so many games that the club have won just 10 points from their last 30. Their form is on par with a relegation team. Even club owner Farhad Moshiri hinted at  a club AGM that this wasn’t good enough. It feels as if Silva’s tactics have been found out and found out too early. His insistence for example on zonal marking does not work, and Everton have put in plenty of toothless displays.

In all honesty Silva does not come across as a bad coach, but one has to question whether he is the right fit for Everton? The Toffees thought so last summer as they did everything to get a man that has relegated Hull and not done much with Watford, so what were they expecting?

Everton will be fine this season but if Silva survives will the club look for a replacement? If it wasn’t for their early form they could be in a bottom three battle right now, that’s the problem. It may do both parties the world of good if they were to go their separate ways.

 

Everton seek to reset against Bournemouth

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As months go Everton won’t have looked back on theirs fondly. December 2018 turned out to be a write off for Marco Silva and his squad.

A 1-0 loss to Liverpool at the beginning of the month, courtesy of Jordan Pickford’s moment of madness, set the tone for what was to come. Losses to Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton, coupled with home draws against Watford and Newcastle, made it a miserable end to a miserable year.

Even a 5-1 hammering of Burnley on Boxing Day did little to raise the spirits at Goodison Park. While it was the perfect response to the drubbing by Spurs, it turned out to be little more than a small rise in an otherwise rapid decline. Continue reading

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri piles pressure on manager Marco Silva

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Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has piled the pressure onto manager Marco Silva by claiming that Everton’s league standing is ‘not good enough’ at a recent club AGM meeting.

It was quite a bold statement but one could say a right one but it will leave Silva under immense pressure to pick up more than the 27 points gained in the first half of the season. The problem for Silva is quite evident, Everton are on course to have a worse season under him than Sam Allardyce from last season and Silva has spent upwards of £50m more than Allardyce in bringing in players.

Moshiri was blunt and to the point and it was easy to see the frustration in his face as he spoke about the club. He said: “We are very serious about what we want to do. I know, I am a fan myself. I look at the table and it is just not good enough, I think we know that. We need to go up the table. We need to utilise the fans’ impatience to drive the club but we need to be patient for development.”

Everton have been on a poor run of form where they have won just 1 game from their past 8 and have fallen off the radar.  There was a lot of hope this season that Silva who had come from Watford was the right man for the Mersey siders, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case. Whilst the club have not gone backwards under his leadership they have not moved forward either and that will be the main concern. The only good news is that the team are playing their best attacking football in perhaps a decade but still results are not forthcoming.

In the FA Cup Everton could only squeeze past Lincoln 2-1 at Goodison Park and they could face a potential banana skin when they play Millwall away in the fourth round. This weekend the Premier League is back and the Toffee men will be favourites to beat Bournemouth at home, lose that and serious issues could begin to circle Siva’s future at the club.

Everton will not face a top six side until February 23rd when they will take on the champions Manchester City at home and so all eyes will be on the club who will be expected to start picking up points between now and then.

So far Everton under Silva have looked good on the eye but at the end of the day it is results of course that matter and for that Silva’s team once we throw in the money spent in the summer have looked very average.