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.

Continue reading

Marco Silva is not the right manager for Everton

MAMA(1)

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

Marco Silva Everton Bournemouth Premier League

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

FFDVA

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.

Everton’s three-point plan for the January transfer window

marcel brands everton

Like most clubs in the Premier League, Everton will be keen to get work done in the January transfer window.

While manager Marco Silva and Director of Football Marcel Brands have indicated that the Blues won’t be busy that is unlikely to be the reality. Both know that stating their intentions openly is a foolish move. Indeed, it was a pitfall the previous regime fell into and ended up suffering because of.

They also know, however, that this is a squad that remains in transition and needs several areas addressing before it is capable of achieving anywhere near their goals.

That makes it likely Brands and his team will be working hard behind the scenes to improve Everton’s squad this month. Continue reading

Everton are seriously underperforming in the Premier League

marco-silva-watford-manager_4211247(1)

With a new coach in Marco Silva the future was supposed to be bright and starting from this season all change was predicted on the blue half of Merseyside, but has that really been the case?

At the weekend Everton slumped to their 7th loss of the season and fell to 10th place with 27 points. All of this seems quite underwhelming considering two things; the hype surrounding Silva’s appointment and the money spent in the summer.

The excitement around Silva always of course seemed out of place given that the 41 year old has achieved very little in Europe’s major leagues in the 7 years he has been a manager. As manager of Hull the team were relegated although he did only step in that January but then when Watford snapped him up his win rate with the club was just 30% and his tenure lasted just 6 months. The Hornets had become frustrated that we wasn’t focused enough as Everton had come calling, and he joined the club this summer.

The club spent upwards of £80m mostly on Richarlison who came from Watford and Yerry Mina from Barcelona. The upside has been that Everton started the season very solid and played good attacking football, even when faced with tough opposition. When they lost at Arsenal they were arguably the better side and they also went to Chelsea and drew 0-0 which is no meat feat this season.

Goals have come with 31 to their name but goals have also been shipped to the tune of 30. The first problematic signs was losing at home to West Ham, at that moment The Hammers had not won a game and Everton were not only in form but had traditionally given the Londoners difficult matches, not this time and West Ham ran out easy winners. Then came the Carabao Cup exit again at home to Southampton who have struggled all season. This was a huge blow given that the club only have 2 chances of realistic silverware each season, that cup and the FA Cup. And now they were out of one of them.

Recent form has been a big worry though and even though the club are in 10th place if we look at the last five games they would be in 17th. They have lost 3 of their last four games and only the Burnley win which was a great win stands out over the last five weeks. Can Silva turn it around? Well he has a good chance too.

Everton have some favourable fixtures coming up at the turn of the year including two home games against Leicester and Bournemouth. Then they have two away games against Southampton and Huddersfield. If he can get at least 9 points from those matches he may win over the fans again. For now they have to start winning matches because it is hard to see much improvement from the Toffees so far.

 

 

Has Everton’s Marco Silva really been an improvement over Sam Allardyce?

Sam-885053(1)

As managers go Marco Silva and Sam Allardyce are like chalk and cheese. Silva promotes his team to keep the ball and attack and go for the win. Allardyce is win at all costs, and if not possible a draw isn’t a bad result. The result was that Everton who have had both of these managers played a negative brand of football under Allardyce, play not to lose. But with Silva in charge fans have said that the brand of football attacking wise has been the best in a generation, but how do the stats add up?

After 19 games where we are now at the halfway stage of the season Everton find themselves in 8th place on 27 points. This time last season with Allardyce in charge Everton had 26 points. Of course we must back track here as Allardyce did not become manager until the end of November. Ronald Koeman was sacked and even David Unsworth got in on the act as caretaker manager. In truth it was quite a chaotic time at Goodison Park but even so the club compared to last season are just 1 point behind Silva’s version.

A better judgement of Allardyce would be what he did in the next 19 games where from a possible 57 points he won 23 points. In the end Everton finished the season in 8th place which was great considering how poorly they had started it and they ended up with a total of 49 points, 14 behind Arsenal who could only manage 6th that season.

Right now Everton are on for a target of 54 points which would be a significant improvement on last season. The call on this then is that Silva at this moment is an improvement on the club although there are still many games to be played and twists and turns to be had. The good news for the club long term is that the players have reacted to his philosophy and he obviously has a grip on the dressing rooms. The 6-2 type losses like the team recently suffered to Tottenham are still there and the worry that the club have an inferior complex when playing Liverpool has not disappeared either.

However Silva needs some time to shine and make all of his hard work come to fruition. For now whilst he isn’t making the club jump over their projected targets they are at least taking a run and jump there and getting to it bit by bit but to summarise Silva was the right man to take over from Big Sam.

Newcastle and Watford prove Everton need to spend further

Marcel Brand Everton Transfer Window

Modern football has dictated that all new managers receive a free shot in his first year. The phrase ‘transition season’ has become the norm. That is very much the situation for Everton and Marco Silva.

With a new Director of Football clearing the decks and rebuilding the squad, Silva instilling a new style and attempting to clear the malaise of the last two managers, there was always going to be bumps in the road.

The club will have set targets, likely focused on a return to Europe, but will know that time and patience are necessary this season. Evertonians are also willing to bide their time before making conclusions. Continue reading

Richarlison, Tosun and Everton’s need for a new striker

Everton striker Richarlison Tosun January transfer window

If Everton needed any proof that a striker should be top of their wish list in January then the past week proved it.

It’s hard not to imagine that had they had a top striker in their starting eleven against Liverpool and Newcastle then both games would have turned out differently. Instead, frustration reigned once more. It is a familiar feeling for Marco Silva’s team this season. The lack of a top-level striker has been felt from day one.

Romelu Lukaku may be long gone but his absence is still sorely felt. Lukaku was never universally loved at Goodison Park. Be it his lack of mobility, terrible first touch or constant eyeing up of moves to bigger clubs, there was always something to criticise him for.  Continue reading

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was wrong to run on the pitch but should he be punished?

zkzk (1)

Liverpool and Everton’s fierce Merseyside derby was going to end 0-0 and then in the 96th minute Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made the error of the season to gift the Reds a goal and they won 1-0. At that point Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager ran onto the pitch and broke FA rules, but should he be punished?

We need to look as always from both views of the argument. What Klopp did was wrong and disrespectful, that there can be no doubt. Liverpool didn’t score a magnificent last minute goal, it all stemmed from an error by Pickford where if he was given the choice another 99 times he would have used his common sense as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe and let the ball go out of play. Klopp celebrating like he did just seemed out of place and wrong.

And yet he celebrated not to rub Pickford’s nose in it but for three things: 1) a last minute winner, 2) a win in a derby game, 3) Liverpool still keeping in touch with Manchester City. Had the game as expected ended 0-0 Liverpool would have found themselves 4 points adrift to Pep Guardiola’s team.

Klopp is a lovable figure and unless you were an Everton fan let’s face it the sight of him running onto the pitch like a fan and then embracing goalkeeper Alisson was funny. But still Klopp seemed to lose control of himself. This was an important game true, but it wasn’t a cup final or a game that decided the league.

Marco Silva, the Everton manager was clearly not happy with what had happened and the fires have been stoked more with Klopp claiming that he apologised to Silva. Yet Silva has denied this, so the plot thickens.

As for Klopp, the FA will inevitably open up a case against the German, again should he be punished? The answer needs to come in two parts because Klopp is facing a fine and touchline ban. One should presume that romanticism still exists in football despite the money poured into it which has bridged a gap between the players and fans. In that way Klopp should not be punished with a touchline ban and put his team at a slight if psychological disadvantage for their next Premier League game.

But Klopp should be fined, nothing too serious, but he has to pay for breaking the rules as anyone else would do too. And it might make sense for him to apologise for the second or in Silva’s case the first time again to Everton.