Time for change

by   |   01/02/2019  14 Comments  [Jump to last]

Just thinking outside the box here, which is where most of our shots come from!

Anyway what I think the main issue with our team is we are so frightened to try anything new, there has been nothing to excite us fans, there was a little bit of excitement in Martinez's first season, where he had the wingers switching flanks from time to time, a solid system with McCarthy and Barry in the midfield who could break up attacks and start them up again. These two would also plug the holes vacated by Baines and Coleman when they went bombing up the wings and joining attacks.

We have nobody in our current first team who possess these qualities; far too often the ball has been won and there is nothing forward to pass to, no movement so we end up going sideways and then back to Pickford and it is exasperating seeing this week in week out.

Now this is a big call, but how about we drop the current system we use and drop Sigurdsson. He has been missing in games for how long now? He needs a rest and we need energy in the midfield and this is what James McCarthy brings.

Also the back 4 have been woeful for a while now. We need leaders at the back and we have none. Keane has done well but we need leaders around him; this is also a bold call but bringing back Jagielka in the very central of defence would provide a bit of leadership and strength, especially with aerial balls as we are dreadful at defending set pieces.

I would go for a solid back 3 of Keane, Jags and Mina and the someone who can protect the back four playing just in front of them, and from here I suggest Baningime could possibly do a job here because he is calm on the ball and slots into that position nicely. He would have that area to himself, his sole job would be to protect the back 3, and break up attacks with the intention to start meaningful attacks.

In front of him, I would go with 3 midfielders of Gomes, McCarthy and Bernard, with McCarthy in that central position high up the pitch pressing and harrying defenders and midfielders into making mistakes. Sigurdsson does not do this, therefore there are massive gaps in the midfield when he plays, and the two behind him are too far from him when we play a Number 10 in our team.

It worked okay with Barkley, McCarthy and Barry, because they all pressed the ball. It has not worked for years with our current crop and there has not been any changes in formation, and even a 1-2 pass is out of the question with the current players we have.

Then up front the 3 of Richarlison, Tosun and Lookman should be striking fear into defenders. So that would be a 3-1-3-3 formation which could be seen as too narrow to play good football, but with energy in the midfield and pace on the flanks this is something that could work. Far too many times we have just sat back and soaked up pressure with nothing going forward.

The other option could be to play a flat four across the middle of the park of Lookman, McCarthy, Gomes and Richarlison, with Baningime still in behind them in the holding role; two in the holding role has not worked for us for years. Then with this formation an option is to play two up top with Tosun and Walcott, a combination of speed and strength.

If we do play two up front, at least we have a Plan B where we can send a long ball to Tosun in the hope he wins it and have Walcott's pace latching onto a knock-down; it's Route One, I know... but at least it's something.

Also, why not swap Lookman with Richarlison from time to time on each flank to give the opposition full-backs a hard time. Other teams have had it extremely easy up until now with us, its the same stuff over and over as we have no ideas going into a match.

The best we can do is maybe finish 7th so why not take a chance the rest of the season and experiment a bit, we have nothing to lose now, same as every January!

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Reader Comments (14)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 01/02/2019 at 18:15:23
Lovely thoughts, Andy.

Just one thing: I think you should update your copy of Football Manager soonest — Beni Baningime is no longer available this season as he's gone out on loan.

Steve Ferns
2 Posted 01/02/2019 at 18:43:36
3-1-3-3 is the Bielsa formation. Bielsa ditched it at Bilbao, and it didn't work at Marseille or Lille. He's not used it at Leeds either. It doesn't work in Europe.

These guys explain it better than I:


Jim Bennings
3 Posted 01/02/2019 at 19:15:04
As soon as you mention bringing 36-year-old Jags back (he's not the future and football has moved on since Jagielka was a regular) and Baningime (who is out on loan for a reason perhaps?), I fail to see any justification in these calls.

Gylfi Sigurdsson could only be dropped from the team IF we had other players capable of scoring goals, which we DON'T.

Outside of Richarlison, Sigurdsson has been the only other first-team regular that you can hang your hat on to chip in with regular goals, regardless of what else you think he does, he will score at least 12 goals this season from midfield.

Regulars Bernard, Gomes, Gueye offer absolutely zero in the goals return and in all honesty look unlikely to ever add that to their games.

Walcott could have had goals in him this season but his end product has let him down too many times and he's been stuck on three league goals for ages.

I don't see much end product from Lookman to suggest he's going to score many, nice step overs and footwork but then, we could say the same for the departed Bolasie. Davies and McCarthy have never been goal scoring midfielders.

Tosun doesn't look like playing many, let alone going on a scoring run; the same goes for Calvert-Lewin who is frankly gash whenever he starts.

Dropping Sigurdsson for me would be insane in the current position we are in.

Get me a new Tim Cahill or the next Eden Hazard and maybe then we can talk about taking Sigurdsson out.

Paul Birmingham
4 Posted 01/02/2019 at 21:58:55
Andy thanks for a very interesting read. I get your angst and it's a 20-30 years angst amongst for many Evertonians, in the way the almost perpetual failure to win a trophy waxes and wanes and disappears with the Chrimbo Lights, almost every year.

We get to a semi and we blow it and allowing for crap officials in some of these big games, we had never had the belief to win the competitions. Example v Man City at Maine Road, second leg, when we went ahead, 3 years ago.

At the moment, Sigurdsson scores and creates more chances than the rest of the team in proportion, accepting Charlie, is our top goal scorer.

The formation we play with the players we have, means Siggy is playing most games out of synch, and the team is also out of synch.

Well never be Man City or Liverpool, but there's no creative runs, no team play, no spark and most games no clue. Football is a simple game but we play eleven aside like crab football or 5 - aside across the width of the pitch. We stifle all rapid interchange by keeping sideways and backwards possession, and Pickford increasingly kicks into touch. He's got time to learn and improve as a goalkeeper.

I have to say Goodison Park has become so quiet and lacks the passion as the play by the teams the last 4 years has been poor. Not just poor but consistently rank poor. It's back to the days of the 90s and staying in the pub until the last few minutes.

This is the way it is, but it feels like another season in the no-man's land. We are making up the fixtures and aren't in contention again for any trophy, and bar a miracle, won't get into Europa.

How can Everton FC, attract top players? Top class scouting is Everton's only hope now. Time will prove.

A good read and very thoughtful but like myself, some of the younger players who shone briefly last season in the darkest days are now out on a limb, in no-man's land. I hope they make a breakthrough and succeed in the game.

Let's hope Tom as I'm sure he'll start tomorrow, has a stormer and then batters Man City. Tough to take but we need to beat Man City to keep the long term project alive, and get some vigour and belief into this season.

Don Alexander
5 Posted 01/02/2019 at 22:31:56
Good grief, Andy, if you ever thought "pressing" was part of Barkley's make-up I just wonder what match that might have been. He went to some lengths never to get close enough to really worry the guy in possession every time I watched him, and as for bringing Jags back, Jeez.
Kevin Prytherch
6 Posted 01/02/2019 at 22:48:48
I do agree with dropping Sigurdsson; I also think we should get what we can for him in the summer.

I don't agree with your midfield 3 though. As far as I see, we have limited midfielders. For Gana or McCarthy to be effective, we need someone disciplined to hold position (Schniederlin is the only player at the club who can do this), then we need someone who can break with the ball and carry it, while still playing the pressing role – either Gomes or Davies.

Therefore a solid midfield 3 would consist of Schneiderlin, Gana or McCarthy, and Davies or Gomes.

Although (I didn't see the game so I've only read reports), did Gomes sit deep and play well against Huddersfield? If so, could he take the Schniederlin role and open up a space for Davies and Gomes to play together alongside Gana or McCarthy?

Phillip Warrington
7 Posted 01/02/2019 at 23:01:19
The trouble with Everton at the moment is their movement with the football is too slow and allows teams to flood back, take control of the ball and catch Everton players out of position with the pace of their counter-attacks.

Under Moyes, Everton was a very tough team to break down; then, in Martinez's first season, we had those Moyes traits but we became one of the fastest teams on the break. Yes, we had a great centre-forward but let's not forget his conversion rate was below 50%, but it showed as an attacking force we were creating so many chances which then took so much pressure of our back line. Giving them confidence that the opposition wouldn't be so gung-ho at attacking them.

The other worrying thing is I have never seen an Everton team so easily pushed off the ball and what's worse, they don't want to stand tall against opposing players. Never forget the Liverpool game when, just before they scored, their centre-half was fouled by our forward, grabbed him by the chest, virtually threw him out of the way in anger, took the free-kick and they went on and scored. I know it was a goalkeeper error but it would not have happened if the Everton player stood tall and was not thrown out of the way like a rag doll.

We will never attract the better players playing the football we play. Take the 3 players we got from Barcelona: they showed promise but also proved unreliable; hence, we get them and Barcelona make a profit. Our current squad is full of players from top teams who could no longer get a game at their clubs so they sell them to teams like Everton at a profit and end up on as high or higher wages, making it near impossible for teams like Everton to move them on again.

Beni Baningime is a prime example: if he was at a better club, they would be giving him game time instead of farming him out to a lesser club, hoping they might develop him or, in most cases, stunt their development.

I do think Brands will get it right but he has a tough couple of years getting rid of some of the most ridiculous transfers this club has ever seen.

Steve Ferns
8 Posted 01/02/2019 at 23:09:51
Kevin, I never wanted Gylfi. I thought at the time he was a colossal waste of money. He's been about what I expected to be honest. Hit and miss. So-so. Yes, one of our best players and a match winner. But he's £45M and on more than £150k a week. He will never justify that.

Anyway Kevin, at 29, what we gonna get for him? £15M? £20M tops? Will anyone cover those wages? I think we're stuck with him. Therefore, we either unearth a gem that justifies Gylfi getting the heave ho onto the bench, or we continue to build the side around him. He's good for at least two more seasons. He's only got three more on his contract.

The problem for me is Gylfi and Gueye don't fit a 4-3-3. They make us play a 4-2-3-1. So we're going to continue having problems as we can't get better than Gomes.

Laurie Hartley
9 Posted 02/02/2019 at 00:59:42
Andy, why did you leave Zouma out of your team? Surely he is our best centre-back at the moment. The impression I get is that he is playing for a permanent move to Everton.

Another question I would like to ask is - is our squad better suited to what is now considered an old fashioned 4-4-2 set up? The reason I ask this is because I think we have the players for this system. It was very noticeable to me that when we went down to 10 men against Huddersfield we seemed to revert to a 4-4-1 set up and the players looked like they knew what they were doing.

Sigurdsson is a bit of a conundrum for me – he does score goals. I think his best position is just behind the striker but Richarlison is better than him for that role so maybe he should be benched and come on for Richarlison when he or Tosun runs himself out of steam.

About Tosun – I had just about given up on him but against Huddersfield he showed he could play with his back to the goal. I can't understand how a player who scored 64 goals and provided 13 assists in 142 games is not scoring more goals at Everton. We didn't sign a striker so maybe he deserves a run of starts.

I would like to see how this team performs:-

Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne
Lookman, Gueye, Gomes, Bernard
Richarlison, Tosun.

Bench: Walcott, Sigurdsson, Davies, Baines, Calvert-Lewin, Mina, Stekelenburg.

I know Digne can't start against Wolves so I am hoping Baines will be OK.

Paul Birmingham
10 Posted 02/02/2019 at 01:19:28
This thread, amongst many, is the best summary of what, EFC, should be. It's the way it is now.

That would be the Team! One Day... Some Day, soon?

Rob Rothwell
12 Posted 02/02/2019 at 01:51:45
Laurie (9).

That's the line up I would like to see also. 👍

Darren Hind
13 Posted 02/02/2019 at 06:38:23
"Plan B where we can send a long ball to Tosun and hope he wins it". .NO, just no.

Tosun looked a lot better doing a decent impersonation of Shane Long last week, but he isn't your double figure man. Calvert-Lewin on the other hand has scored one less than the much vaunted Jamie Vardy this season without having anywhere near as many starts (or chances). His goals per time on the pitch would suggest he would easily get into double figures given more starts. He probably will anyway

Sigurdsson scores some screamers, but in the words of Ian Dury; "What a fucking waste", Very talented, he works hard, jogs a million miles, but I've seen more mobile lighthouses. Most games pass him by. His penalties boost his scoring record, but his "Im-good-player" attitude when taking penalties hardly fill you with confidence. I'd miss his occasional worldy, but he needs to go... He's not alone. other talented players in our midfield should hang their heads in shame. Week after week they are quite literally carried by a tacklng machine who was at the back of the queue when God was handing out the football skills.

A back three of Mina Jags and Keane would give Freddy Krueger nightmares. although their private who-can-run-under-the-most-balls competition would be interesting.
Colemans finished as a wing back and Digne is having his game management skills Ruthlessly exposed.

I was going to heavily criticise this Article Andy, especially as much of your plan revolves around Baningime, but fair do's You didnt know about him.
I'll put this one down as a brave attempt. The thoughts of yet another Evertonian racking his brains trying to get the best out of and make sense of this mish mash of a set up.

I doubt there is a single one amongst us who wouldn't just love to rip it up and start again.

Clive Rogers
14 Posted 02/02/2019 at 18:48:43
Lookman is definitely striking fear into defenders. Unfortunately they are ours when he gives the ball away carelessly. He was awful against Millwall and doesn’t look interested at present. It may have been better if he had gone to Germany. Poor attitude.
David Pearl
15 Posted 02/02/2019 at 18:56:40
Too many changes too soon and stuck with millions on the wage bill for players that are not contributing. Either because we can't sell them or Silva doesn't know his best team, his best formation and how to get them to play with the freedom and confidence needed to be successful.

Jagielka and Baines are not finished and can still contribute. We have too many players on the books, that's obvious. I still think McCarthy and even Schneiderlin and yes Walcott too can be successful here with the right manager.

The problem has been that the players we have bought in are not much better than the ones they were bought in to replace. On paper, we have the 7th best squad but they could be over-achieving instead of underachieving... Silva has either run out of ideas or the players have stopped listening.

My preferred formation leans towards a 3 centre-backs, 2 wing-backs and I'd have a holding player and two passing and harrying midfielders ahead. That leaves us with 2 up top... and Walcott would be one of them, probably next to Tosun. The two midfielders behind could be any of them... nobody stands out unfortunately at the moment but their is talent in our squad that's not being realised.

Unfortunately I can't see Silva turning anything around. I'm pretty sure he is out of ideas. All he can do is sub players for the sake of making a change and throw on all his attacking options. He fails to read the game and make any formation changes, not that he should have to if he does his homework on who we are facing.

The way he has used the squad has been unbelievably bad. Sticking with Calvert-Lewin too long, sticking with the same formation. We are not compact, we are crap. I could of just said only that (we are crap) but somehow I've had a few things to say.

I'm also not blaming Kenwright or Moshiri as some do. They've been let down by an over-zealous recruitment policy but that at least showed ambition that we were all pleased with at the time. We've seen Spurs do this for years before finally getting it right; a lot of that is luck. It will take time but we will get there and narrow the gap...

Of course, it will take a couple top signings but I like Brands and have more confidence in him than the manager, I'm sure his job is safe. Changing managers sometimes means a change in system and turning over players isn't as easy as we'd like it to be. We need a manager that's able to fill the team with confidence like Ole has at Man Utd. Anyway, I'm done with Everton at the moment. Goodison isn't my happy place.

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