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.

EPL Player of the Week – Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace)

vanaanholt0419It really is saying something when there are three standout contenders for the Premier League’s best player the previous weekend, and all three of them are defenders! With an impressive amount of 2-0 and 2-1 results last weekend, the goalscoring defender was clearly always going to reign as king – and on this occasion that person would be none other than Crystal Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt. The other two in the mix – Leicester star Wes Morgan and Everton’s Kurt Zouma (on loan from Chelsea) missed out on the most trivial of margins – they each played 94 minutes, while van Aanholt played 95! He helped the Eagles to a 2-0 win over Huddersfield – a result which saw the Terriers ultimately relegated.

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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.

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.

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

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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.

Should Southampton replace Mark Hughes with Sam Allardyce?

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The 2018-19 Premier League season has started in predictably underwhelming fashion for Southampton.

Mark Hughes’ side have picked up eight points from their first 12 league games, scoring just eight goals in the process, and the club took “constructive action” to “get results back on track” by sacking vice-chairman Les Reed earlier this week.

Despite the poor start, it has been reported by Sky Sports that the club remains supportive of Hughes and they intend to back the Welshman in the January transfer window.

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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

Why are Allardyce and Pardew still seen as progressive?

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So, Sam Allardyce is given his cards yet again, this time at Everton. The fourth job in succession where he’s either been sacked or left via ‘mutual consent.’ Sacked in other words.

Alan Pardew was given the old heave-ho a few weeks ago, and incredibly West Bromwich Albion’s fortunes took a sharp upturn after he’d left.

What is difficult to understand is why the pair, and others of their ilk, continue to be seen as somewhat progressive and are almost the first port of call when Premier League coaching jobs are available.

Overlooking Allardyce’s penchant for a quick few hundred thousand which in itself is a thorny issue, to essentially bring in someone whose best years in management were almost two decades ago and expect them to perform miracles is asking for trouble.

He’s nothing but a saviour, and from the route one school at that.

His teams play as he did. Physically imposing, limited in their capabilities, but willing to battle all day long. Just the ingredients required if you’re in the midst of a relegation battle or need promoting from the lower leagues.

But a European push? Don’t make me laugh.

The Dudley-born former central defender likes to use ProZone and the odd sports science methodology to help get his points and tactics across, but he’s still the same old northern hoofer underneath the Emperor’s new clothes.

And yet, clubs are still falling for it. His agent must be on huge bunce because he’s the true miracle worker here.

Everton, like Crystal Palace, Sunderland and West Ham before them, now have to honour the outrageous contract that was negotiated whilst poring over what exactly they’ve paid him for, for the last six months.

Pardew is cut from the same cloth as Allardyce. Arguably, his last successful stint at any club came at West Ham, where he took them to the 2006 FA Cup final.

Only Steven Gerrard’s desire on the day took Liverpool to the promised land because for long periods, the Hammers were the better team in what has since been labelled the best-ever FA Cup final.

The following season, he took the Hammers on their worst run of defeats in 70 years, but somehow this was enough to convince Charlton Athletic to hire him just a fortnight after his dismissal in east London.

Charlton were in dire straits when he took them over, so their subsequent relegation can’t be pinned on him, but eight games without a win saw them in the Championship’s bottom three. Off he went again.

Southampton was his next port of call but player unrest and low staff morale, allegedly because of Pardew’s insistence at following outdated and unworkable methods, saw a swift exit.

Quite how he then went on to land one of the biggest jobs in the country – Newcastle United – is anyone’s guess… though they did also employ Allardyce!

A four-year stay wasn’t overly successful and neither did his stint at Crystal Palace where, finally, a chairman hit the nail on the head. Steve Parish said of Pardew “his style of football hasn’t and doesn’t work.” Hallelujah.

Five months at West Brom was more than enough for the Baggies, Pardew leaving the club at the foot of the table and 10 games without a win. Their relegation, despite Darren Moore’s best efforts, was ultimately down to Pardew.

Both Allardyce and Pardew are relics from the past, trying to make themselves relevant in a game that’s now far ahead of their level of understanding. Simply put, football has moved on. They haven’t.

There’s a reason why the pair keep being sacked from each club that offer them a route back, but perhaps their reputations are now so tarnished that everyone has learnt their lesson.

One can only hope.

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Euro Fantasy League Podcast – Episode 6 – Gennaro Gattuso’s Strange Feelings As Alberto Brignoli Scores In Benevento’s Draw With Milan

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Dave takes the lead in this episode as Jamie loses his voice. The lads discuss Gennaro Gattuso’s bizarre claims about how he feels after Milan draw with Benevento, after Alberto Brignoli scores a late equaliser.

Dave offers his candid views on the England national team, and the managerial merry-go-round gets the treatment once again as Alan Pardew is installed as West Brom manager.

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Premier League Review – Week 27

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There were changes at both ends of the Premier League table last weekend with Arsenal dropping out of the top four and Middlesbrough falling into the dreaded relegation zone.

With just 1 goal in their last 5 matches and 2 in their last 8, Middlesbrough are looking increasingly likely to drop out of the Premier League this season. After a decent start, many thought they would be comfortable, however, that has not proved to be the case as they were quickly found out. Continue reading