If you’ve been as surprised as me at the goals flowing from the best ever 60,000 ever spent during the Premier League era, you’d have wondered where these goals had been during the previous regime. Evertonians have known for some time that Seamus Coleman has been progressing leaps and bounds in the past couple of seasons at right-back, but now he’s shown he has got goals in him and might even be the best right-back in the league (along with Zabaleta).

I put this amazing streak down to Roberto Martinez’’s tactics. I’ve been, in today’s parlance, a "lurker" on ToffeeWeb for a long time now and decided to finally write down something I’d noticed in our play and see whether other people who have the honor of watching Everton live every week agree.

If you throw your mind back to the Chelsea game where Barry made THAT block on Eto’o, you’d remember that while our full backs were pushed up high, Distin was near the left by line, Jagielka near the right and Barry in the center during that play. However, if you notice, we do not seem to get into those positions very often now.

Instead, what is happening is that when Baines or Oviedo and Coleman push up, we revert to a back 3 with Distin on the left, Jagielka in the center and Barry/McCarthy on the right. A small shift in the same play that we were doing earlier. What this does is provide additional cover for Coleman, and Jags who’s not as fast as Distin. This also solidifies us through the center while keeping a ball playing outlet.

What this additionally does is free up Coleman to roam inside, since Mirallas/Naismith are further forward on the same flank and we have bodies in attack. While Pienaar creates those amazing pockets of space on the left, we get Coleman attacking the far post, and during play down the right, cut inside often.

A brilliant tactical switch has got the goals flowing from our very own Irish Cafu (bad pun, I know)! Since we played a 4-4-1-1 under David Moyes, this did not allow Coleman to cut inside as often or attack the far post as often. However, the shift to a more continental 4-2-3-1 (and the emergence of Barkley to play behind the striker) has been the perfect tonic to our 60,000-pound man.

What do you think has triggered these goals? Whether I am right about the tactics (as seen on the telly) or not will have to be borne out my the match going folks. And knowing my luck and Everton’s, writing about this might just stop the goals coming from right back... Damn.

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Reader Comments (14)

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Ray Robinson
1 Posted 05/01/2014 at 16:44:17
Wow Protik, you've analysed this far more than I have. I put the fullbacks getting forward frequently down to having Barry and McCarthy dropping deeper to help out the defence without analysing where Distin, Jags and Barry/McCarthy specifically position themselves.

Coleman does indeed seem to be benefiting from some subtle tactical changes although he was always a marauder even under OFM. Oviedo also gets forward a lot but, on the other hand, Baines less so. So it's still a mystery to me, really.

Another puzzle. Why does Coleman only score at the Gwladys Street end? Can anyone remember him scoring at the Park End?

Phil Sammon
2 Posted 05/01/2014 at 16:56:34
I still see Jags and Distin (or Stones and Alcaraz) splitting and usually Barry dropping in deeper and central as we build from the back.

I think the reason that the full backs get so much room is because they are both at it. They attack without relent of either flank. When Coleman and Mirallas attack on the right everyone is dragged over to that side of the pitch leaving acres for Oviedo, and vice-versa. That was perhaps best highlighted by Oviedo's goal against Man Utd.

It's also a massive boost to have a player in the middle who can carry the ball and drag defenders towards him. Barkley regularly occupies two or three of the opposition before laying the ball out wide.

So there are the tactical elements that I would say are helping...but I would say that confidence and a little luck are also playing a part.

Both full-backs are flying and Coleman is taking on shots he wouldn't have dreamed of 12 months ago. His one against Swansea was a great hit...but it did sit up beautifully for him. 'Lucky' is a harsh term...but it wasn't the best technique you'll ever see. Anyway, buy a ticket and win the raffle, he's confident and having a go. His goal last week was one of the best I've seen in years at Goodison. Proper Brazilian full-back stuff. Wonderful player and a top lad.

Ian Tunstead
3 Posted 05/01/2014 at 17:52:32
I think its just one of those things that happens as a player develops and gains experience. look at Ronaldo and Bale one season they are struggling to score and get into double figures the next they are finishing as top goal scorers in the league. Lets not forget Coleman scored 6 in the 2010/11 season as well.
Last season most of our threat came from the left side with Baines, this season Coleman is probably putting into practice what he has learnt off Baines.
David Hallwood
4 Posted 05/01/2014 at 19:21:26
Spot on with the analysis Protik; this is the thinking behind 2 holding mids it should not only allow the 3 in front to concentrate on attack but the full backs can also join in and if they do get caught up the field, they should be covered by the holding mids.

We are lucky in the fact that, IMHO we have the best pair of holding mids in the league (and the best pair of CB) you really couldn’t find a better example of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

But even allowing for this and the change of manager doesn’t wholly explain Coleman’s rise from promising attacking full back to Cafu/Roberto Carlos lookalike in less than a year. One thing’s for certain, the initial 60k fee has almost certainly doubled or at least will be nudging the million-Bill what are you waiting for, take the money and run.

Dennis Ng
5 Posted 05/01/2014 at 20:08:33
David, I wouldn't expect anything less than a many Ms for Coleman. Bale developed from a left back also. Who is not to say that the sky is the limit? Besides, he's still young!
Peter Laing
6 Posted 05/01/2014 at 20:13:16
Great analysis Protick, it's got me thinking why have been you lurking for so long when you are evidently so studious about the game !. Coleman certainly appears to be playing without fear and with the system that Martinez is operating gets into forward position's as much as possible. I have also noticed that players are continually interchanging with each other positionally as witnessed yesterday by Stones playing almost wide right in one particular move with McCarthy assuming his defensive responsibilities at Centre Half. Very refreshing to see the technical approach and coaching that has changed the way we play and contrast this to the misery currently being peddled by OFM down the road in Salford.
Dennis Ng
7 Posted 05/01/2014 at 20:24:05
Protik, sorry I fail to praise your analysis on my last comment.

You're quite right on this one. Though one thing I disliked in some of the previous games was the lack of quality crossing from both flanks. It might be specific to those opponents but I thought that would have made the teams much more dangerous, utilizing the forwards physique and drawing the opponents outward for movements into the box. The thought can be similarly be used on shooting, which I'm happy to say is definitely true, though during the Sunderland game, I wished RB doesn't shoot that much!

Regardless, I'm excited for the boys and what they can achieve, both on and off the field. COYB!

Mick Davies
8 Posted 05/01/2014 at 21:33:45
Before Martinez, our only strong attacking outlet was the left partnership of Bainaar, and maybe an occasional foray down the right. We were so predictable and opposition managers began to negate the threat and so strangle our lifeline. This season it would baffle an Oxbridge Don trying to assess our strongest point of attack: if it's not Oviedo/Baines/Pienaar on the left, or Lukaku/Barkley through the middle it's probably Mirallas/Goalman storming down the right. It reminds me of the total football played by the Great Dutch sides of the 70's and if I have one criticism of the team right now, it's our lack a central defender getting the odd goal from a dead ball situation. We had Mountfield, Lescott and even Yobo over the years, banging them in from corners but up to now,this area of the team have been lagging behind in the scoring charts
Jason Heng
9 Posted 06/01/2014 at 02:02:06
And goals from our keepers have dried up as well. Howard had one last season but none so far.
Dennis Ng
10 Posted 06/01/2014 at 02:21:29
Jason, that's 2 years ago...
David Ellis
12 Posted 06/01/2014 at 03:00:12
Dennis - the reduction of crossing is deliberate. Martinez prefers to play through the middle more often, rather than always aiming to get it to the by-line and then whipping it in. Pienaar and Baines and Fellaini used to play neat triangles to work the ball down the left and whilst a joy to watch it was our only classy move and often they were simply crowded out.

There is far more variety now, the build up is far more patient as they probe for an area where there is more space (rather than trying to create space down the left when its not really on). Also the team plays without fear so more shooting from distance. Result -goals coming from all over the place.

Dennis Ng
13 Posted 06/01/2014 at 04:11:36
David, I agree.

It was always my thought that RM's version of our team is possible, though I pictured it with frontmen as well. However, I'm equally excited by this version.

The reason I mention crossing is that our big strikers in Lukaku (big) and Jela (tall) have less aerial input. I like the passing, the off the ball movement and shooting from outside, though I found it a bit too much against Sunderland, but that's just one game really. We're still getting used to the system and I guess variety is not the main worry at the moment. That's probably why Jela is not in our long term plans.

My guess is that Baines's skillset is not really a great fit for the team right away and until we incorporate a front-man style, he might be become just a good defender. How does he fare as a centre-back? Or a defensive mid? I feel he might be a fit for the second, if he ever plays the position. Anyway, just a wild guess and question.

Protik Roychowdhury
14 Posted 06/01/2014 at 05:12:21
Good one Jason 426. I guess Martinez and his style of play has had a bad effect on Tim Howard's goal tally. :D

Peter 318 - Lurked because I've never seen Everton in flesh, so it felt a bit out of sorts I guess.

Jimmy Sørheim
15 Posted 06/01/2014 at 08:55:27
Coleman has scored goals before; however, he seems to have found his old sprint back like he had when he first came here.

Baines has gone the other way, he has suffered because we do not cross the ball as much any more.

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