The end of the season is nigh. With it comes relief and trepidation. What will the summer bring? What can we expect of the new season. All to be discussed, at great length in pubs, forums, workplaces and of course, the internet over the coming months.
So, what is the plan? To be successful, in anything, you need to have a strategy. In football, there is one, of course: be the best football team around. And while this shall forever be our ultimate strategy, we must develop a secondary one.
Many will say that would be to enter the 'top-4'. While this would be ideal, personally I believe that to be a more long-term aim. Arsenal and Manchester United look like they are returning to their previous heights, with big money for further investment available. While Manchester City are likely to invest big and Chelsea have Mourinho, money and the best squad in England. Barring a miracle, that top-4 is currently unbreakable.
That, therefore, leads me to the conclusion that, over the next 3 years, our strategy should be consolidade ourselves as the best of the rest ahead of Liverpool and Tottenham.
To do this, we must plan strategically. This means developing a style of play that can reach our objective. All aspects (coaching and transfers) must come with such a style in mind. And we must stick to it (that doesn't mean being inflexible tactically; the team needs an identity).
Martinez has a strategy. 'Tika-taka' is its popular name. However, it has a big flaw. Such styles need very specific types of players. It is a desirable style, but is it achievable? I have doubts.
Currently at Everton, the best two young players are Barkley and Lukaku. Despite their poor seasons, I believe we should build a team around them, and build to their strengths. Tika-taka does not do this. They are players who like to exploit space, they are direct and powerful rather than elegant and technical.
Both would suit ideally from a counter-attacking based system. Lukaku up top and Barkley just behind him, with two lightening fast wingers. A centre-mid with vision and range alongside a terrier (McCarthy or Besic) and a solid, organized defense. Then fill the squad with our young players (Long, Ledson, Henen, Galloway...) and build around this system.
I feel this strategy is much more attainable to tika-taka.
Get the best from Lukaku and Barkley and we have a chance at 5th. Get to 5th, and we can start thinking about what's next.
Reader Comments (30)
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1 Posted 20/04/2015 at 22:09:03
Our strategy should be to find a disciplined manager who commands respect from the players and plays them to their strengths. Only then can we dream of being the best of the rest.
2 Posted 20/04/2015 at 22:24:46
3 Posted 20/04/2015 at 22:37:42
However, we have fallen back to where we were a couple of seasons ago, altering formations for the sake of it, trying to insert players into unfamiliar positions, persevering with players who arenÂt 100% fit or are out of form or as some allege playing his favourites. There has been little seen of many of the younger players even though none of them chosen did anything wrong when they have briefly taken to the field.
The problem from a supporters point of view is that we canÂt honestly know which players will remain at Goodison for the start of next season and no matter what assurances the manager makes in the media, we really donÂt know how many if any are unhappy with his managerial ability. We also donÂt know whether the players that he will bring to the club will be a vast improvement on what we already have, although transfers are always a gamble, regardless of who the manager is and how much the club pays out in transfer fees.
I just hope by the start of next season, the players are all onside, fully match fit and ready to do battle on behalf of the supporters and a good start is imperative for the club and of course for the manager.
4 Posted 20/04/2015 at 23:17:54
It has been a pleasure to see a few agriculturals launched these last few games, sorted out (bar Seamus) the individual mistakes which has seen us keep more clean sheets.
I think Lennon has balanced the team, very much like Duelofeu last season. I think two pacy wingers are a must as IÂm not convinced by McGeady, Pienaar is getting on and I think Mirallas can do one.
I think weÂll have to invest in those players as bringing through an attacking talent from the academy is the holy grail and we have that with Ross Barkley.
Keeping McCarthy, Coleman would be high on my list of priorities this summer.
Roberto said he aimed to produce a system whereby at least two academy players progressed to the first team every year. Next season seeÂs the start of that plan.
5 Posted 21/04/2015 at 05:31:38
Michael, what are the two academy players he has brought through this season and please bear in mind Garbutt is out of contract shortly and we are not making any effort to keep him so he will more than likely be off.
Ross was already in the first team squad when RM got here and I would argue he has ruined Barkley not developed him.
6 Posted 21/04/2015 at 05:53:30
Apparently, he gave evidence that most goals were not scored after 26 consecutive passes, but within 3 to 4 passes of a move. It does sound compelling, but back then, I too wondered if that is too one dimensional as well.
It seemed to work for Liverpool for awhile (they had their treble of cups), but mainly relying on Michael OwenÂs scorching pace to get them those goals. When you look back at those highlights, you noticed the very "raw" and "rudimentary" ways of Liverpool scoring. Fast break, Owen outrunning someone else, and then "bam!" goal.
Look at what happened to Owen after a few years. And inevitably, Liverpool got found out, because not every team will take the game to them. You can do a counter-attacking game well if teams take the game to you. If not, and they "park the bus", which teams are doing when we play at them Goodison, then the counter-attacking breaks down.
Ultimately, you need more than one approach/game plan, amidst your main gameplan eg, pressing, go direct, counter attack, soak and strike, retaining the ball etc. I just donÂt think that having the soak and strike/ counter-attacking approach as the main strategy is going to work.
One thing for sure Â– we donÂt press enough/ harry the opponents off the ball sufficiently to disrupt their rhythm. That is needed. Ultimately, you need a good deal of guile to break teams down/ split defences. To me, that is best done through retaining more possession, so that you can control the when and where and the how of execution.
Tika-Taka of Barcelona was fundamentally accompanied by the harrying of/closing down of players when the Barca players lost the ball. That is as critical as the slick retention that we seem to pay more attention to. The ÂDogs of WarÂ during RoyleÂs time and the Reid/Bracewell (hunting in packs) during the 80s demonstrated that you need that fundamentally.
7 Posted 21/04/2015 at 06:56:54
8 Posted 21/04/2015 at 08:15:23
I definitely think he took on board the massive amount of criticism that rightly came his way: this should be evident next season providing he makes the right signings. ThatÂs the crucial part; signing Lennon was inspired Â– a few more in the same mould should seeing us having a good season. Expectations canÂt be any higher than that under the present owner, IÂm afraid.
9 Posted 21/04/2015 at 11:50:10
Counter attack will work for us on occasion, and we are probably better equipped squad wise to play this way, given the pace of Lennon, Barkley, Mirallas and Lukaku. That said, this strategy requires people to take risks, to run at players and take them on. It also requires a killer pass here and there. Both have these have been missing for most of the season.
I also agree with Terrence that our pressing is non existent which is ridiculous for a ÂpossessionÂ team. If we lose possession we should be pressing and harrying to get the ball back immediately. Defend from the front.
10 Posted 21/04/2015 at 11:29:14
When Martinez first arrived, he said he wanted to see progression from the academy to the first team squad. He said it would take two years to get to that position, weÂre coming to the end of those first two years so I expect this summer to see the start of this conveyor belt.
As for him ruining Barkley, I disagree. There is enormous pressure on Barkley this season, his performances have hardly stood out as weÂve struggled. The experience of playing games will help Barkley in his progression, it might take him a few seasons to develop his consistency but once he gets to that level then weÂll have a problem keeping him.
11 Posted 21/04/2015 at 11:56:05
Flexibility is what every top team needs. Flexibility to change the way you set up before the game starts and more important as the game goes on. Unfortunately, you can have the best players in the world but Â– unless you are Barcelona of a couple of seasons ago Â– you have to adapt as the game goes on.
This season, if we have learned only one thing, is that Martinez will not adapt. The reason we have altered our style the last couple of months is down to the fans showing their displeasure and the players to a certain extent forcing the issue.
12 Posted 21/04/2015 at 11:24:56
To hell with the usual cries of ÂBe careful what you wish forÂ Â– We have been bloody well careful for decades and the trophies we won in that time are testament to it. At the same time, I believe we have a side built around Stones, Coleman, Garbutt, Lukaku, McCarthy, Barkley and Besic with a few additions can only get better... but under a different manager.
13 Posted 21/04/2015 at 12:04:28
As for organisation and strategy, I donÂt see one. I canÂt see what RM is implementing long term. He's 2 years into his tenure and he still doesnÂt know his best team.
14 Posted 21/04/2015 at 12:34:37
Strategy for the club involves plans for sustainable financing, range of activities, extent of investment in an academy system etc. As remarked above, IÂm sure that the club expected Martinez to be a long-term appointment and develop a conveyor belt of young talent that would save then bring money in.
The problem is that RMÂs on-field problems with gameplan means that his medium-term position is in doubt. What he changed by the way was tactics. His challenge over the summer (because he ainÂt getting sacked until at least Xmas) will be to buy the kind of players that can enhance his (hopefully modified) game plan or system. Given his at best mixed record in the transfer market so far, IÂm not wildly optimistic.
15 Posted 21/04/2015 at 15:54:52
16 Posted 21/04/2015 at 16:07:37
17 Posted 21/04/2015 at 18:23:20
Leaving Martinez aside, I donÂt see us any more likely challenging for 5th than other teams. Not leaving Martinez aside, I donÂt see us any better off next season.
If you look down the table, there are more teams than not in the bottom 14 who will be more excited at the thought of next season than we are.
18 Posted 21/04/2015 at 18:35:21
19 Posted 21/04/2015 at 19:32:44
The long-term interests of the club are things like having the best ground we can to increase revenue, increasing the number of fans, making the best of the youth facilities, getting as high a position as possible etc.
Those sort of long term aims then are turned into actions identified to achieve them and that leads to the organisation of the clubÂs resources including its employees. The manager is then employed to achieve his limited bit of the bigger picture.
We will fail and fall further behind because the board don't grasp this. ArsenalÂs board grasped it, LiverpoolÂs board grasped it. Our lot could not find a strategy if you tattooed it onto them.
20 Posted 21/04/2015 at 18:56:23
Certainly, but once you start applying reality, youÂd probably never go again.
Reality Â– "Why would I pay for a season-ticket, to see a team compete in a league it has absolutely no chance of winning?"
The OP states Â– "Barring a miracle, that top-4 is currently unbreakable."
This is reality.
Tika-taka, counter-attack, long ball arenÂt the key Â– money is.
Money may not be a cast-iron guarantee of success, but the amounts spent by top four sides tell us that our chances are extremely limited to say the least.
Teams with loads of money donÂt spend it to finish nowhere - they are the teams who usually win trophies and finish top four.
The success-for-pounds-spent figures donÂt lie - Link
ItÂs right that we donÂt throw the towel in and keep our dreams alive etc, but in (that word again) reality, seventh/eighth/ninth is, from a financial perspective, where we should probably be.
Last year, pound-for-pound we overachieved, this year, though weÂve been frustrating and incredibly disappointing, we could still finish 8th/9th.
Not an exact science I admit but... you get the idea.
21 Posted 21/04/2015 at 21:05:37
Pos Club (cost)m
1 Man Utd ١.31
2 Man City ١.20
3 QPR ٠.88
4 Chelsea ٠.54
5 Liverpool ٠.53
6 Arsenal ٠.52
7 Sunderland ٠.34
8 Aston Villa ٠.16
9 Tottenham ٟ.84
10 West Brom ٟ.83
11 Newcastle ٟ.71
12 Everton ٟ.68
13 West Ham ٟ.49
14 Hull ٟ.39
15 Swansea ٟ.34
16 Stoke ٟ.33
17 Southampton ٟ.12
18 Leicester ٟ.07
19 Crystal Palace ٞ.90
20 Burnley ٞ.62
Like you say, it isnÂt an exact science but it does seem you get what you pay for.
22 Posted 21/04/2015 at 21:43:17
Joe doesnÂt believe that Everton FC require a new ground and believes that Walton Hall Park is probably as ill-advised as Kirkby was. My concern is that Liverpool Council, Everton in the Community and Liverpool Homes are not the ideal partners financially. Joe also states that EvertonÂs revenue growth outside of media earnings is a paltry 0.5% per year for the last decade.
Strategy what Strategy?
23 Posted 21/04/2015 at 21:52:38
24 Posted 21/04/2015 at 22:18:11
25 Posted 22/04/2015 at 05:23:54
The logic Fran suggests for the future, starting with building the team around Lukaku and Barkley, maybe a failure from the start. Lukaku is likely to take heed of his agent's advice and leave sooner than later.
That leaves Barkley. Ross has had every chance to show his promise is translating into ability but he has failed. Being played out of position has not helped, but I have as much faith in Barkley as I have in this failed manager.
I also respectfully disagree with a couple of posterÂs that say Martinez has changed his style. I feel the players have changed the style to a random style on any given match day. This team will continue to play like a rabble until there is a change of manager.
26 Posted 22/04/2015 at 16:26:37
But Klopp is something I donÂt want a cure for. HeÂs infectious and successful.
27 Posted 22/04/2015 at 16:48:20
Well if youÂre BK the plan is simply to stay in the premiership and try and finish as high as possible. That is it.
28 Posted 22/04/2015 at 19:55:00
This season was where we reverted to form after an incredible last season which was an unsustainable one. We may have a better one next year but as we improve over summer then so will the others as they did last summer as we fucked about. Are Palace as good a team as us? I know your answers but does the table lie? How about Stoke? WeÂre financial pygmies now and they are our peers or can anybody see another way that we can gain an advantage over them when they get the same income as us. League position is determined by wages so to increase our position we need to make Everton attractive to come to. How do we do this?
29 Posted 24/04/2015 at 10:37:54
30 Posted 25/04/2015 at 14:54:27
The kid has risen from playing for the local pub team to the EPL. IÂd rather have a kid with heart then an overpaid player wasting his superior talent by dogging it.
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