Bullied again!

by   |   11/12/2018  13 Comments  [Jump to last]

Like many Blues, for me continually watching sub-par performances against teams we feel we should beat happens far too often, I think for quite a while now other managers have assessed the Blues and decided they can be bullied out of possession.

In previous posts going back to the Martinez era I have bemoaned the fact of the lack physicality in our team. Commentators love to use this word when describing a player or team. Basically it means that the team includes a majority of players who are 6 foot and combine size, strength and speed. And it helps if they can play!

Yesterday, against Watford, we lost way more challenges than we won. The only Blue who was a bully was Yerry Mina and he had one of his best games up against Deeney and Success who were quite willing to use their physicality at every opportunity.

Compared to previous managers, I do think Silva recognizes the need for players who can physically challenge and also play. Of his signings, both Zouma and to a lesser degree Gomes are plus 6 foot. This is evident that Zouma is rarely beaten and Gomes is strong enough to withstand challenges and keep the ball. As for the rest of the team, I think they lack either the physicality or desire to win the ball and keep it.

Digne has been a great addition going forward but both goals against came from his side of the pitch. Gana is great at stealing the ball in tackles but rarely wins a physical challenge. Sigurdsson is plus 6 foot but to often gets shrugged off the ball. Richarlison looks like he should win more physical battles but too often ends upon the floor. While I love the speed and skill of Walcott, Bernard and Lookman they are not going to win too many headers or 50/50 balls. And while the debate about Pickford’ s size has been well debated, he is not a commanding keeper at corners or crosses.

So what am I saying? I think we are much better suited to play against teams who don’t out-battle us. Come Saturday, I hope/think we will compete a lot better because Mnchester City are not a physical team in the same mould as Watford.

So, in an ideal world what would I look for in terms of player physicality to combat teams like Watford. I think at least 3 of the back 4 must be capable of winning physical challenges. So one of our full-backs needs to be able to defend against the high crossed ball. In midfield we need a player like Gana but stronger in the challenge. and finally as we all know we need a striker who has a physical presence and can win more than the odd header. Richarlison rarely wins the ball from a Pickford long punt. Calvert-Lewin is developing the physique and usually wins most of the clearances when he is playing. He drifts out wide and Pickford finds him. But, at the moment, He does not fit into Silva’s master plan.

Silva is loathe to change a “winning” team but I think he could pick a team to play certain physical teams and not include all of Gana, Bernard, Walcott and Lookman.

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Reader Comments (13)

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Tony Abrahams
1 Posted 11/12/2018 at 22:28:35
Silva has got a big conundrum, imo. He has began to rotate his central defenders, but keeps sticking with the same midfield, even though they all haven't been playing that well in there recently.

It makes me laugh when people say your tactics get found out, because I believe if you haven't got the right players, then your tactics will always get found out, and this is why I'm expecting a change of formation against Man City on Saturday?

I'd give Kenny a game at full-back, but think James McCarthy is a player who might just make a half-decent wingback? And also, I believe we have got a good squad that just needs a decent centre-forward.

Anthony A Hughes
2 Posted 11/12/2018 at 22:41:45
I think Silva has to change his "winning" team as currently it isn't a winning team.

Richarlison isn't a Number 9 and I think he has alot more influence on the game from out wide. Bernard needs to be an impact sub as he can't sustain a 90-minute performance as he plays in fits and starts.

And, for want of anyone better, I'd give Calvert-Lewin a bash upfront.

Tom Bowers
3 Posted 11/12/2018 at 22:49:13
I agree, midfield has to be the strongest department to win games and Everton's has been weaker than most for years.

Gana works hard but is no better than Tom Davies. Gomes is excellent as is Gylfi supporting the attack but, apart from a two or three sporadic attacks they all looked poor yesterday and the confidence throughout was alarmingly missing. Even Seamus the captain seemed way below his best.

It's hard to see anyone on the bench coming in and improving things. Lookman perhaps should get more starts along with Calvert-Lewin in place of Walcott and Bernard. Things couldn't get any worse could they?

Niasse and Tosun will be surplus to requirements in my opinion as I am sure Silva has a mind to bring others into the squad in January.

If nothing really improves after January, then perhaps they will have to scrutinize Silva as a manager.

Terry White
4 Posted 11/12/2018 at 22:53:13
I can't agree with you, Tom (#3), Gana is much better at his job than Davies who, when given his chance earlier in the season, has been a disappointment. Gana has been off-form a little bit in the last couple of games from the high standard he has set for himself, but is still a better pairing with Gomes than Davies.
James Flynn
5 Posted 11/12/2018 at 23:06:36
Marco will keep playing the same players because we need to send out sides who have the system down rote.

It's not just about right now. It's about Everton will play a certain way, an attacking one, and we'll get there. However much we are feeling the game-to-game frustrations.

We're on our way. We're witnesses to the growing problems.

David Connor
6 Posted 12/12/2018 at 15:14:05
I've said it for a long time now that our midfield is too lightweight and physically weak. Loftus-Cheek from Chelsea would be a really good addition to the squad if we could get him in in January and he is only young. He is big and fast and he chips in with goals which our midfield don't.

We have to be one of the smallest midfields in the Premier League, if not the smallest. Until that changes, we will struggle against larger midfields in the Premier League – regardless of where they are in the league.

David Pearl
7 Posted 13/12/2018 at 19:36:40
If we kept the ball better and controlled possession, we'd control the match and wouldn't have to worry about being bullied. I don't think it's a problem for Man City. We need a few better players and a manager that will find a way to bring in the youngsters. Everton's on the up (and up)!!!
Jay Wood

8 Posted 13/12/2018 at 20:25:02
Hmmm... whilst it is true to say that recent Everton teams have wilted under the physical challenge, maybe the way Silva wants us to ultimately play largely removes the need for having grocks in the team able to handle the 'down and dirty' stuff.

Clearly, Silva likes tall and strong centre-backs at the heart of his defence where the need of a strong physical presence is more pressing.

But beyond that, maybe he is going down the Man City - Barca - Real Madrid route in which possession and quick passing football makes the opposition's grocks redundant – much to Everton's advantage.

If so, that will not come overnight, nor will it come with some of the current squad members. But if that is Silva's aim, then he won't revert to fielding a team of grocks for short-term results, but rather, persist with his ideology which is more likely to bring longer-term success.

Ajay Gopal
9 Posted 14/12/2018 at 07:13:08
Liverpool have Salah, Mane, Firmino, Shakiri, who are all quite small, but they are fast, skilful and intelligent. I think Silva has got the right balance of physicality and agility. As some others have mentioned, I would like to see Dominic Calvert-Lewin given a run of games at Centre Forward with Richarlison and Lookman, Bernard or Walcott running off him.

Against Man City, I would go 3-4-3:

Holgate Keane Mina
Gana Sigurdsson Gomes Digne
Bernard Calvert-Lewin Richarlison

Paul Birmingham
10 Posted 14/12/2018 at 18:38:53
Rome wasn’t built in day, and classy consistent good teams are made over night.

Considering where we’ve been under BBS, Klogg, and BFS, this is team and manager, in my view is on the right track, but evidently by recent performances and as rightly highlighted on this forum, this is a WIP, as there’s a missing killer instinct in this side.

The aim is high and continuous improvement but the cross bar in my book is lowered until we find a top class true CF, and line up a proven RB, to cover Seamus and eventually succeed him and some more goals from around the team. I wonder which team has the least shots outside the box on target this season?

I don’t know but it’s a perpetual trait as aside from Siggys at Leicester, the team just don’t seem to fancy having a shot on goal.

All is not lost but I accept the last month has been the best and then the usual post Derby headache but tomorrow, we have a chance.

Will MB sanction any moves incoming, in 01/2019, remains to be seen, but I’d say deffo, some will be shipped out on loan or transfer.

Last season no one gave us a chance and we held out until the last few minutes and a daft penalty conceded.

Next week, for me is where we could get a real pasting, but I think also some of our players will thrive on the Wembley pitch.

Here’s to a good performance and turn around tomorrow.

Paul Birmingham
11 Posted 14/12/2018 at 19:00:20
Sorry I meant to say v Spurs next week, at home, in my note above.
Neil Cremin
12 Posted 15/12/2018 at 08:24:35
You don't need to be >6 feet tall to be able to compete physically in midfield.

The most physical midfield in English football was the Leeds United of Billy Bremner and John Giles. They were very small but were never bullied, in fact, the opposite. Same with our own Peter Reid. If McCarty is fit, I would like to see him given an opportunity today at least half a game and bring in Tom later.

What we are missing is that when we do gain position we don't know what to do with the ball. Our passing is woeful. Sort this out and pass at speed would then create far more openings for our forwards.
In that I would start to believe in Calvert-Lewin as he pulls defences around which then would open opportunities for Richarlison and Walcott or Lookman.

Tony Cheek
13 Posted 15/12/2018 at 08:43:24
I am a dedicated listener to the brilliant "Totally Football" podcast and they recently discussed this. It was mostly agreed that the trend is going towards smaller, more technical than big strong muscular players, especially in the rest of Europe.

And I feel like you almost contradict yourself, David, by saying we should fair better against Man City (by far, England's best team at the moment) as they are not as physical! Why then are they so successful, when we are not?

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