I have to say I’m sick and tired of 4-2-3-1. Sick of it, sick that we don’t defend, sick that we don’t create and sick that we don’t score. I just want simplicity.
Maybe I’m old fashioned (first Goodison game 1969) but now all I want to see is nothing fancy. I just want simplicity.
I want 4-4-2, I don’t want zonal marking, I don’t want my full backs bombing down the wings, I want clean sheets, centre halves winning headers, full backs stopping crosses. I just want simplicity.
I want 4-4-2, I want my midfield to have a defined shape, give me two wide men (we use to call them wingers you know) one hard tackling mid and one playmaker. I just want simplicity.
I want 4-4-2, give me 2 up top, I know it’s radical but I was brought up on usually “one big’un and one little ‘un” playing off each other, creating mayhem throughout defences. I just want simplicity.
I don’t want my players “profiling” or “trending” on Twitter; Facebook, Snapchat or Tik fucking Tok. I just want simplicity.
I don’t want our manager to be a TV pundit, a radio jock, a community care officer. I want a manager who has the balls to make decisions, pick players on form not transfer fee, holds players accountable and moulds a team greater than the sum of its parts. I just want simplicity.
I want my 11 players to know their jobs, what’s expected of them, carry out instructions, to have tirelessly worked on set pieces in training, run their arses off for 95 minutes and be bloody grateful that they have a job all supporters would die for. I just want simplicity.
I’m just a simple guy who simply wants simplicity.
Reader Comments (116)
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1 Posted 08/10/2019 at 13:41:28
Why? because the game is much more compact now. Forwards defend, defenders attack, defenders create, defenders score. Football has evolved. Football is not simple. Anyone who thinks it is so hasn't watched a Serie A match. The globalisation of the game and the advance in fitness has led to formations being devised to get as many people close to the ball as possible.
When 442 ruled the game, the gap between defence and attack was wide. Often teams attacked with two wingers and the two strikers, so four players. The back four defended as a unit. Contrast that with 4231 defending, there is 6. Attacking there is still four, but with fullbacks pushing on it can be six. Then there is the main reason, control of the ball. This comes from the midfield and with 4231 you have 5 in midfield outnumbering 442's four.
Where does 4231 come from? It's 442. That's what people often miss. 4231 is the evolution of 442. Those who argue for 442 and want to make it work often talk about dropping one of the strikers into midfield in defence. That is how 4231 started!
4231 can be played in many different ways. It does not have to have two defensive midfielders, those two can be pushed a lot further up the pitch in an attacking formation.
Then there is the formation Ronald Koeman wanted to play but quickly abandoned, with three no10s. Very narrow across the middle, leaving space for fullbacks to attack.
4231 can be played as a defensive formation with 10 men behind the ball, it can be played as a counter attacking formation where the back 6 and the front 4 become stretched. It can be played as a possession based formation where it is narrow and stretches wider in possession trying to get as many people close to the ball as possible.
There's lots of problems with 4231 now though. It's not new, it's no longer innovative and people are coming up with other formations to combat it. One problem I see is the lines. there is 4 lines (the 4, the 2, the 3 and the 1), which means it is never quite as compact as the 433. Then there is the fatigue factor. The formation relies on fitness, but players aren't robots and they cannot run all game. Eventually, the game becomes stretched, and like for us with now, there is a big gap between the back 6 and the front 4 and it seems like we do not actually have a midfield. The wide players in the midfield 3 can also get sucked into their defensive work and get pinned back and stop doing their primary function of attacking. But this also happens in a 442, where you can see a 433 pin it right back so you end up with the wingers as full backs, defending against the opposing fullbacks, with the back 4 very narrow and combating the opposition front 3. It then becomes a 622.
433 is favoured by more of the top teams right now, and that is due to the compact nature of the formation, the fact that it suits a pressing game more by how the players are positioned, as they have better zonal coverage, if the front 3 press as a whole, whereas a 4231 can see the shape lost if the midfield 2 are sucked out into pressing. 4231 has often become 442 for Silva as he tries to press the opposition intensively, and this has worked very well, but we've always struggled to support the guy who wins the ball, often the player is just far too isolated and weakly just coughs possession straight back to the opposition.
The future, I think, is a formation that has been around for a long time, but has never really worked properly, and that is 343. Whenever it is employed effectively, the wide players seem to operate as wing backs and it looks more like a 523 or even a 541. However, Bielsa was effective with a 343 for Chile, without more than a couple of top players, and his formation was devoid of wingers, wingbacks or full backs, although he did use wide forwards at the very top of the pitch. His formation was devised based on the best way of pressing the opposition, and obtaining the best zonal coverage. When he tried to implement it at Bilbao, he failed, at first and soon switched to a 4231 and modified it heavily.
And that's the point, 4231 is very, very flexible. Modern tactics are all about getting as many people involved as possible, maximising passing options, maximising space, then in defence, denying space, denying passing options, maximising coverage. 442 lacks the flexibility in it's rigid shape to get enough players involved and so they simply get outnumbered. Whereas if you go with a 4411 variation of a 442, then you are in 4231 territory anyway, it's just a moot point as to what your wingers are doing, is it a rigid 4 or some flexibility and if flexibility then it's 4231. If you go 442 diamond, then you're into the realms of a 433, there is very little difference unless you are talking a rigid 433 and few teams play with such rigid formations in the modern game.
I do not think we have seen the last of 442 though. Formations come and go in cycles. I doubt that 442 will go the way of the WM, and perhaps there is mileage in using it at the end of games when games become stretched and even the modern players struggle to get up and down the pitch like they did earlier in the match.
2 Posted 08/10/2019 at 13:56:29
I'm going for a little lie down now I think.
3 Posted 08/10/2019 at 13:58:46
Conte and Chelsea with a 343.
Pep and City, 41221 (depending how you see it).
What the hell Silva and Everton are doing l don't know. Nobody does.
There is no rhyme or reason for us to be so open and stretched. Why we struggle with set pieces (nothing to do with pace, more to do with shirking responsibility).
We looked better against City with 4411 and you could see Siggy making a difference joining either midfield or attack. The players seem more comfortable with anything but the shape we play. The fact Silva continues with the same thing just amazes me. Even if we turn it around now and finish on a high again we still need a change in manager if we want to reach another level.
4 Posted 08/10/2019 at 13:59:19
Of course its simple, its just the money that has changed, which has led to too many cooks spoiling the broth.
I hate the term out-dated, especially when I watch football nowadays, and come to the conclusion that its usually just about the latest fashion, with most teams hitting the 60 yard diagonal switch to their bombarding fullback, simply because not many teams play with natural wingers these days?
Football, like most sports is about talent, desire and energy, because if you have got these tools, then Im sure a simple coach (one that doesnt complicate things) would definitely be able take care of the rest.
5 Posted 08/10/2019 at 14:12:33
I can imagine one of our players having the ball passed to him and saying to himself 'hell what am I suppose to do next, I cant remember, I know I'll pass it back to who gave it to me'.
Whatever system is played its useless if the players lack the natural ability to play it.
6 Posted 08/10/2019 at 14:17:02
7 Posted 08/10/2019 at 14:31:13
8 Posted 08/10/2019 at 14:43:37
Tony, if you had the 11 best kids you could find, all of whom needed coaching and could not rely on what they already knew, and Guardiola got 11 mediocre kids, but was able to coach them. He would beat your boys because the right system can beat superior players. A modern formation would swarm an old-fashioned 442 and superior positioning and fitness would make it seem like the other side had 2 extra men.
The fundamentals might be simple. But football is a complicated sport. There is more things you can do with a football than a rugby ball, there is less restriction on how to use it, be it a pass forwards, backwards, sideways, dribble, shot. And this goes for most sports. You have more freedom to use the ball, more ways to manipulate it. Then the defensive aspects of the game.
Whether you like it or not, it is a complicated game. That does not mean you cannot keep things simple for individual players and complete morons like Paul Merson can still thrive because you keep their thinking to a minimum. Its the coach who needs to have all the calculations and foresight in his head, not the players, which is why it's Silva everyone is after and not the players.
9 Posted 08/10/2019 at 14:46:20
10 Posted 08/10/2019 at 14:46:59
Our 4-2-3-1 works against the better teams when we have wide players who tuck back into Midfield when we havent got the ball, and when Sigurdsson and Calvert Lewin press the defence - effectively turning into a 4-4-2. This was very evident against City until their second goal.
Our 4-2-3-1 doesnt work against poor teams because Sigurdsson becomes a passenger. He doesnt score or create, leaving the front player isolated against a wall of defenders. Our wingers end up trying to compensate and play as wingers, we then run the risk of leaving ourselves in scenario 1.
Whats the solution? I actually think that 4-4-2 against the poorer teams could work, as long as we dont have Schneiderlin in the team. We need two competent central midfielders and wide players who will attack and defend. Keep Calvert-Lewin as a focal point and have Kean causing problems around him trying to win the second ball.
Has there been a team in England who have won the league with 4-2-3-1?
(Not researched it, dont know the answer, feel free to name any that have).
11 Posted 08/10/2019 at 14:49:19
12 Posted 08/10/2019 at 14:50:06
13 Posted 08/10/2019 at 14:53:28
As for translating it on the pitch, that's what training is for. Players aren't meant to be thinking on the pitch. They have no time. The game is too fast. The drills are meant to make them move, pass, run, without thinking. And only the clever players like Gomes and Sigurdsson who can improvise to take the time to see what's going on and make something unplanned happen.
Guardiola's City might look spontaneous. It's all pre-planned. It's not simple. It's all very complicated, very clever, well rehearsed and carefully coordinated. Stirling doesn't look confused. His role is simple. Guardiola makes it so. But that role is complicated when taken with the roles of others within the side.
14 Posted 08/10/2019 at 14:55:42
15 Posted 08/10/2019 at 14:58:47
During the first half against City, the fella next to me said look theyre playing on Coleman because hes gone, I said look theyre playing on Digne now, because our fullbacks were over covering for the centre-halfs, but this system definitely doesnt give them enough cover, to really allow them to do this effectively?
Thats the other big issue, because although Everton dominate possession in a lot of games, they very rarely play on the front foot, which is usually what causes the most damage to your opponent?
16 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:06:24
17 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:07:04
18 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:07:43
Mourinho last first stint at Chelsea had Makélélé playing in front of the defence with Essien and Lampard in the centre of midfield. Lampard always got forward, but didnt play in the supposed number 10 role. He then had 2 wingers in Robben and Duff with Drogba up front. More of a 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 than anything.
Ferguson always liked two strikers, although often had one playing as a withdrawn striker. His wide players were often midfielders and not wingers (Giggs being the obvious exception, but his game evolved that much that he was eventually). He also liked balance when he did have a winger, for example when Giggs was more of an out and out winger, he liked Beckham on the other flank, while when Ronaldo was there Giggs was more defensive on the other flank. This then meant he always had at least a midfield 3 when defending.
19 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:08:45
20 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:09:57
Regardless of systems, if you don't have the courage to accept the ball in tight situations, the courage to play on the front foot and the speed of thought and application to turn defensive situations into attacking situations, formations are an irrelevance.
21 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:11:18
22 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:11:31
23 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:12:48
24 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:12:53
It's highly complicated and pre-planned, co-ordinated and so on.
If we accept that, then, we also have to accept that Silva must be completely useless because for a year and a half he has not imparted one iota of pre-planning and co-ordination to our bunch. Even teams that have ancients in charge somehow manage to nullify our pre-planned complicated system.
Is giving 100%, showing pride in yourself, your team and your Club, Showing respect to the supporters. Self motivation, also complicated? If so Silva is dramatically failing there too
We appear to be making our game far more complicated than every other team, or maybe our wasters are just thicker than other teams?.
25 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:13:02
Their first was an example of this, where Digne is sucked forward into a poor challenge, Delph is then forced to leave De Bruyne to cover for Digne, our shape is lost, Its passed to De Bruyne, cross and goal.
26 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:15:31
The formation is one thing but end of the day the main thing is that each player plays for the team. Attack as a team and defend as a team. High energy, high press, hunt in packs. If you watch Barca, all their front players defend. Their defence starts once the opposition has the ball, regardless where they get it. Pressure the opposition at all times. When they have the ball they look to attack as a team. This doesnt really have anything to do with formation.
If I had to choose a specific formation Id choose 433 but this isnt the most important thing. The team needs to play as a team and fight for each other for the full 90. You also need to pick a formation that suits the players at your disposal rather than squeezing square pegs into round holes. I quite like attacking full backs but it only works if the requisite cover is there - again that involves another team member recognising whats going on and covering his team mate. (Bombing full backs chucking crosses in is a bit pointless if theres no one at the end of the cross or the FBs cant cross very well or the cover isnt there when possession is lost.)
All about fighting for each other first and foremost. Dont have that, tactics and formations are irrelevant.
27 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:15:38
28 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:16:10
29 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:20:17
Steavey, Pickford lacks the height and strength to challenge on corners. Big Nev was the same height, but he had more about him to knock people flying, Pickford doesn't have that ability. If I'm correct about that, then that's a good reason to be rooted to the goal-line, where he could be more effective.
30 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:24:34
31 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:27:30
Is 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 better for defending set pieces?
Which is better for running a corner kick routine that doesn't go offside?
Which is better for coming back from a goal down to win a game?
Sorry to be so cynical, but this is an empty exercise.
32 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:28:14
33 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:29:05
34 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:32:43
And yes... for this team, and this manager, at this point in time, it's all bollocks. Pointless.
35 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:33:23
you could well be right.
The plan could be flawed - Silva's had over a year to change it. Not done
The instructions could be unclear - Silva's had over a year to clarify them. Not done
Luck is against us - not every game for over a season plus we've been bloody lucky in games where we've got something
Players give up too easily - definitely 100% agree but again that has been like that over a season and is down to Silva's motivational skills, or not. Silva accepts players giving up as he keeps picking them
It could be one, some or all of the above Steve and the players, individually, and as a group, are equally culpable, however, it is the managers job to rectify issues not allow them to continue.
This is down to Silva alone.
36 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:38:13
John, you and others have said motivation time and again. Why is that? How do you know that the players are not motivated. I am not saying you are wrong, but how do you know that it is not just confidence? How do you know Silva cannot motivate them?
Is it based on press-conferences rather than how he is on the training pitch or in the dressing room? Is it because of shite Richard Keys says (best mate of Sam Allardyce)?
37 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:41:45
For instance, let's say your full-backs - when in possession - have the pace, skill and energy to play wide and attacking. This will have an impact on the central midfield 2 - one of whom might need to generally sit deep as an auxiliary defender - encouraging the centre-backs to split slightly. It would also mean that the "wider" players in the midfield 4 might tuck in more centrally to allow the full-backs to operate along the line.
Alternatively, let's say the full-backs are more defensively-minded - and the back four is going to aim to retain its shape throughout, with the full-backs will only join the attack when an overload is possible. This system would encourage two old-fashioned side-by-side all-energy central midfielders (as opposed to one DM, one CM), and encourages the two wider midfielders to play closer to the touchline.
I'd like our manager - whoever they are - to choose a system that suits our players. Hopefully there are more than one to choose from. Sadly Silva seems to be wishing 4231 into existence rather than try anything else.
One last thing; you mention that one of the problems with Silva's current 4231 is that it can lead to an eventual gap between the defensive midfield 2 and the attacking 3; I would say that another (probably bigger) problem has been the distance between the attacking midfield 3 and the isolated one up front.
38 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:49:45
The rest as they say is history.
I hate to say it but he single handedly turned them from Division 2 also rans to the bigger team on Merseyside.
Hang you heads in shame Everton because we allowed that to happen and continue with the mediocrity to this day. Can you imagine them putting up with Kenwright for over 20 years. Can you imagine them ever considering to appoint Marco Silva.
Forget tactics its more about culture and where you set your standards as a club.
We have fallen from a solid position of one of the big 5 to not even being considered in the top 7.
What are you going to do about it Mosh?
39 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:50:29
you go the games.
You have sat and watched us, more bad than good it has to be said.
Please, you see exactly what I and 30k plus others see.
There is absolutely no motivation from our players as soon as things start to unwind
Silva shows hardly anything on the sidelines that in any way could be motivational
The players themselves, apart, from the odd comment from Delph, are as quiet as church mice. Their interaction in play and when we have let one inis totally defeatist.
Yes Steve I mention motivation a lot because I see nothing during the game that would indicate to me that there is any motivation.
No doubt Steve you are very intelligent and articulate but you have to be truthful with what your own eyes tell you.
40 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:54:14
The tweaks you describe are moving a 442 into something else though, it no longer resembles a 442. The 4231 does not have to be as rigid as we play it. Last season Gueye was roaming far from his position and getting forwards. So silva allows that. Schneiderlin however, never vacates position. This is a strength and a weakness for sure. Good against the likes of City, bad against the likes of Burnley. You could play Paul Pogba and Doucoure as the midfield 2. Both of whom can get forward well and make the formation very attacking.
Back to the Silva system and the gaps, yes the striker is very isolated, but this is earlier in the matches, and this is why I want to see a 433, to have Richarlison pushed right up alongside Calvert-Lewin and not to leave him isolated. The gap I described is later in games as we become more and more ragged.
41 Posted 08/10/2019 at 15:58:40
As for the side-lines, where do you sit? I sit in the Park End, dead centre, so I get to look to my left and watch Silva. The guy is not passive in game, he is active. More so than most other opposition managers. He is certainly not Klopp. But ask yourself, if you are an elite level professional (as all Premier League players are) then do you really need a clown like Klopp doing a routine on the sidelines to make you roll your sleeves up and get stuck in? If so, how the hell did you ever make it as a pro?
The question mark over Silva has always been what happens when the going gets tough. He'd never been tested, he'd never learned the skills to adapt. His first taste was at Watford and he was sacked, but you can make excuses for that. Then next was last season, and he came through it. I hope he had learnt the skills to do so, and it would stand him in good stead. The opposite looks more likely. but the story is not written yet. I think he now has until Christmas, unless there is another international break (think there is) and so he could prove he has got what it takes.
42 Posted 08/10/2019 at 16:05:19
43 Posted 08/10/2019 at 16:05:31
44 Posted 08/10/2019 at 16:11:08
45 Posted 08/10/2019 at 18:50:05
442 is for now, as redundant as left halfs, right halfs and inside rights and lefts.
46 Posted 08/10/2019 at 19:24:25
My biggest gripe is midfield though because I think if you have got space in this area of the pitch, you should mostly look to carry the ball forward, so its very disheartening to watch us never looking to utilise space.
Definitely agree with you about Bernard, Kevin, because although I dont think hes been great, (who has?) he has got a big heart, keeps on trying, and Digne has looked only half the player without him
47 Posted 08/10/2019 at 19:36:06
Tony, Richarlison is forever covering Coleman. So much so that he's one of the top tacklers in the league. I think he needs to be told to track back less. And whilst City pulled us apart, we did similar to them. They were playing well and we caused them a lot of problems. I thought there was a lot of positives from that game.
As for midfield. It's the big issue. It's a mess. Sigurdsson is far below where he was last season. Gueye is gone and Gomes has been injured. Gueye's replacement has been injured before he can get settled, Delph is on his second injury in 8 games, and Davies can't get a game despite all of this. Meantime, Schneiderlin cannot be dropped because there's no one else left. My biggest gripe with Silva this season, other than the marking, is why he doesn't shift to a midfield 3. He can leave Schneiderlin at the base to play his usual game but have Delph and Gomes flanking him and try to get more of the ball. Both Delph and Gomes can carry the ball forwards. Gomes was one of our best dribblers on the stats last season because of his ability to do this. Without Gomes we have really struggled. I think we need another central midfielder ASAP, but it's unlikely to happen in January.
48 Posted 08/10/2019 at 20:55:13
Not sure “old fashioned” is a good enough reason for dismissal of 4-4-2 especially with such a flimsy rationale as “football has changed”.
“Why? because the game is much more compact now. Forwards defend, defenders attack, defenders create, defenders score. Football has evolved. Football is not simple. Anyone who thinks it is so hasn't watched a Serie A match.”
Ian Rush was LFC first line of defence. Derek Mountfield scored more times than I remember. Stevens & Hinchcliffe created again more than I can remember.
There is a certain pretentiousness in thinking the wheel has been reinvented.
The reason the managers you quote have done so well is in part to them having a outstanding individual player or geniuses in some cases not solely down to their formations.
Messi, Ronaldo, Dalglish, Rooney, Maradona etc. In these teams really the formation most of the time was immaterial. Even Salah over the park. Outstanding individual match winners.
You mention Serie A, I just watched the new Maradona documentary and his genius of virtually single handedly dragging a relegation team to two Serie A titles. Nothing to do with sublime innovative Italian tactics.
Lets look at, as I said, teams that were “greater than the sum of its parts” our 80s team, 4-4-2. Leicester title winning team, however you want to spin it they were 4-4-2 with Okazaki partnering Vardy upfront. United with Ferguson mostly played 4-4-2 at their best.
You might just want to spin a 4-4-2 as a 4-4-1-1 but a striker on the edge of the box and one on the 6 yard line is a 4-4-2.
Actually rather than “old fashioned”, which is quite dismissive, you need a number of intelligent hard working (yes they have to run) players to make it work and keep the banks of 4 tight to minimise space. Defenders actually have to defend, yes one on one defending. Centre mid
have to be canny, position themselves properly and wingers have to work their bollocks off tracking back.
I give you Diego Simeone and Atlético Madrid. I would have this guy as our manager in a heartbeat and gladly pay to see to them play every week. 100% organisation & 100% commitment. Plus they win trophies. 4-4-2.
You might think 4-4-2 old fashioned but Id put money our mid 80s team playing 4-4-2 would finish top 4 nowadays.
Give me Pickford, Digne, Keane, Mina, Coleman, Richarlison, Delph, Gomes, Bernard, Kean, Tosun in a 4-4-2, all drilled, full commitment and well start winning.
Thanks all for some great and thoughtful contributions.
49 Posted 08/10/2019 at 21:03:57
50 Posted 08/10/2019 at 21:25:45
We have three issues; poor in our own box, poor in the opposition box, lacking support & cohesion all over the pitch. Sort out those three, we won't be talking about formations and our individual perceptions of them.
'Old fashioned'? I remember Kendall talking about playing in the opposition half. That become the modern concept 'pressing', which I first heard in the early 1990s.
In any walk of life, the best practitioners find better ways of doing things. The best among them explain these 'complicated' ideas in a simple, easy to understand way. We need a manager who can do this.
51 Posted 08/10/2019 at 22:25:14
You seem to have the answers though Steve, keep picking Schneiderlin, but get players who can compliment him though, because the law of averages say we will then have to win a game with him in the team soon.
52 Posted 08/10/2019 at 23:58:44
This was the Champions playing well, not how they played against Norwich or at the weekend and we were not devoid of ideas and getting thrashed. From that game there was signs we could have gone on to beat Burnley, but obviously we did not.
As for Schneiderlin, I'd love to see a midfield trio with Gbamin in it instead of him, but that ain't happening any time soon. Instead of that, Delph and Gomes could be alright, they looked alright earlier in the season, but only against teams where we have more of the ball. Otherwise, lack of alternatives means Schneiderlin keeps getting a game.
53 Posted 09/10/2019 at 02:53:33
54 Posted 09/10/2019 at 08:11:44
As soon as the opposition score we are beat. The players know this.
At kick off there is optimism but as soon as we go a goal down the heads drop fast.
An inability to find a goal scorer in nearly 3 years has finally caught up with us. You can all blow sunshine up Marcel Brands arse and gush over the Kean's mum t-shirt pantomime but where is our striker Marcel Brands?
55 Posted 09/10/2019 at 08:36:54
In answer to your request:
Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne
Richarlison, Gomes, Delph, Bernard
Kean, Calvert Lewin.
56 Posted 09/10/2019 at 09:24:34
For my two penneth on tactics and formations. The manager is limited to what the players abilities are. It's no use trying to get players to do stuff they aren't capable of.
We tried that with Sigurdsson during our multiple number 10 season. You can't get Bernard,Iwobi,Delph, Schneiderlan, Gomes,Davies,
gbamin to score more than a couple of goals per season.
No matter what formation we play we rely on Richarleson and Sigurdssons goals.
57 Posted 09/10/2019 at 09:31:58
I honestly think that team would Work against teams who sit back and defend.
And it would give Pickford the kick up the arse he needs.
58 Posted 09/10/2019 at 11:57:36
59 Posted 09/10/2019 at 12:18:27
At Estoril, he played an interesting 4-4-2, where the midfield 4 had a Carsley type sat deep so it looked like a 4-1-3-2. The front two were more like wingers and they ran the channels and vacated the middle. The tactic was mainly about defending deep in a 4-4-2 and playing the "low block" or to use the common parlance, parking the bus. His team then played long ball style on the counter with precise passing to the flanks were he had two rapid forward who would race clear down the flanks, dragging defenders wide. This created space in the middle whereby Silva's favourite player, Evandro, would come into the space and try and arrive late to score the goals. Thereby turning a 4-4-2 into a 4-3-3 in attack.
Sadly, we've not seen enough of this tactical innovation at Everton. With Richarlison in particular we do have the forwards needed to play with way. He did use it at Hull where Niasse was utilised in such a forward role, but he had also signed Evandro to come to Hull and play the Evandro role. Sadly, Evandro was well out of his depth in the Premier League. I believe Evandro is now back in Brazil.
60 Posted 09/10/2019 at 13:24:17
If Everton play well I'm happy, and although I left Goodison feeling it was as well as we have played this season, I also felt we played the game wrong considering City, had a major weakness in the middle of their defence, and other than from set-pieces I don't think we tried to exploit this enough.
Sometimes football is about more than tactics, it's about heart and desire, and being savvy. Sometimes it's about trying to play a game that doesn't suit your opposition, instead of playing a game that suits them instead.
61 Posted 09/10/2019 at 13:48:15
I still advocate Sigurdsson against the better teams (and potentially even Schneiderlin) as I think he does a brilliant job against them, but against weaker teams I definitely think that Kean and Calvert-Lewin up-front would work; as long as Schneiderlin is not in midfield.
62 Posted 09/10/2019 at 14:05:56
If the answers to both of those questions is yes, I thank God that I witnessed Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Alex young, George Best and countless others, when football was a sport and not a science. There was certainly a lot more enjoyment and entertainment in those days, and yes, played properly football [in my opinion] is a simple game made complicated by Managers and Coaches.
63 Posted 09/10/2019 at 14:57:06
Some people find tactics dead interesting but I'd bet that 99% of professional footballers find tactics boring, unless the coach can make them easy to understand, which is something Paul T tells us every single week!
I've even got Steve saying I'm glossing over the fact that Man City's goalie made loads of saves, although I could argue that I was getting mixed up with the Burnley keeper.
64 Posted 09/10/2019 at 15:10:45
I think tactics matter more for weaker teams. I saw Scholes saying Fergie's tactics were pretty much "Attack. If you keep passing sideways or backwards you'll be subbed."
Pleat and Hodgson have both had occasions when they cause upsets on the back of great tactical plans but if you're talking Stanley Matthews, Messi etc, just let them do their thing.
65 Posted 09/10/2019 at 15:10:50
66 Posted 09/10/2019 at 16:21:04
I would like to see Calvert-Lewin and Kean, play together sometime though, and think if Silva was flexible, he could make it work quite easily imo.
Start 4-4-2, with Bernard/Iwobi and Richarlison, on the flanks, and if the other team have a good spell, he could easily change to a five-man midfield by putting Dominic out wide for a bit and bringing either Bernard or Iwobi inside?
Pressing is good if you've got the players but, if you haven't, then be tight and compact, and, once you win the ball, look for a fast counter-attack.
67 Posted 09/10/2019 at 22:24:56
From the outset, Everton dominated the game. The commentator, Kenneth Wolstenholme said something along the lines of “there is much talk these days of formations and tactics but from what I can see here Everton are playin 1-9!” In other words, the whole team was playing as a unit. There were no passengers.
In my opinion there are the players in this squad that are capable of playing with that sort of unity. As Kevin #61 pointed out, they did last season. As a result, we saw them overrun very good teams.
That is why I am bewildered with what is happening this season. Perhaps Idrissa Gana Gueye is the big difference... I don't know.
I believe if we saw Calvert-Lewin and Kean given a run together and Bernard and Richarlison playing a disciplined game helping the defence out when we don't have the ball, we would see a big turnaround in results.
These are professional footballers, not robots. To have made it to this level, as well as a high level of skill, they must all have an inbuilt sense of danger and opportunity. It's got me flummoxed.
68 Posted 10/10/2019 at 07:36:57
Maybe this should be a separate "Talking Point".
I am sure most of us (over whatever period we have supported the Toffees) have said "when will we get a break?" usually interjected with a choice of profanities.
I guess all supporters feel the same but honestly sometimes I cannot believe how we can fluff a great chance, miss a last minute opportunity, gift a goal (Pickford's calamity as exhibit number one), never pick up the ball just outside the box and drill in a winner.
Only two periods (players) stand out to me as bucking that trend, that was with Tim Cahill in the team and the mid-80s team.
The mid-80s title winning team was the only time I confidently, I mean 100% believed we would win the matches, in 87, Norwich & Spurs away, I never had a doubt.
Tim Cahill, some players are just blessed with (apart from skill, and determination) with being in the right place at the right time.
Of course they work at it, it's not all chance and Gary Players "the harder I work the luckier I get" comes to mind but Tim had that gift, you know when the ball is a magnet to some players.
For those who remember "Billy's Boots" from the comic "The Scorcher", a kid who's boots magically took him into the goal scoring positions, that was Tim.
Confidence, any of us who have played sport at whatever level have hopefully had the feeling when you are right at the top of your game, also known as being in "the zone" when you are playing almost on instinct and not letting fear, tactics or your mind getting in the way.
So back to the Blues, confidence is a key aspect, it grows with winning games, we've all seen that, but what Everton seem to miss (and over the park they get in abundance) time and time again is just a little bit of luck.
Having re-read this, I feel I should be sitting in a dimly lit bar, at 1am with a shot of whiskey and ten empty glasses in front of me looking around for someone to shout out "I could've been a contender".
69 Posted 10/10/2019 at 12:45:02
4-2-3-1 is a shit system that simply doesn't work for our club,with us it is always way to negative and slow as well as being predictable and fucking boring to watch and listen to, we simply have no guille or style to our play,no one takes players on or shoot on sight, all our Midfielder's play the same way,we need three (ideally) that all bring different skill sets at the heart of our engine room... one that tackles, one that picks passes and one that just shoots from range, all nippy and ideally small scurrying type players that are hard to track and mark up.
For me, the three in Midfield would be Chair (QPR), Pearson (Preston) and Lolley (Forrest); all bring something different to the table, wouldn't break the bank, and would bust a bollock to be given a shot at the Premier big league... they'll make it anyroad but I want them playing for us, it would enable us to play three (imagine that!) up-front too.
4-4-2 would be fine with me but 3-4-3 could be tried too. As it stands, 4-3-3 would be ideal with the midfield listed above... with Alex Neil on the touchline (a Blue can dream).
70 Posted 10/10/2019 at 14:27:47
Hi Dave , I'm afraid you may well be right when you imply that today's players are not allowed to think for themselves, as I posted on one thread or another, thank God we got to see Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Alex Young, and George Best plus countless more. I wonder in 100 years from now, what the record fee for an 'Oil Can' will be, and will there be an 'Oil Can of the Year Award'.
Hi Laurie , from your post, I gather that you are of a certain age group, a privileged age group I might add, who witnessed football of the highest quality. If you are in a younger age group, I sincerely apologize, and if you are accepting new members into the 'Flummoxed Club' can you find a place for me?
71 Posted 10/10/2019 at 21:48:09
Consider yourself accepted into the “flummoxed club” - we are growing in numbers.
72 Posted 10/10/2019 at 23:10:20
73 Posted 10/10/2019 at 23:53:33
I think it's good for anyone to have a hobby. Someone who takes time out and learns something new, new formations, tactics, stats etc, but in spewing dissertation length rebuttals with an underlying sense of trying to belittle mere mortals who don't understand or to try and pass their opinion off as “science" or "fact” does little to change the indisputable fact that football is a simple game, made complicated by NFL playbook numptys.
Now, just imagine if the main coach and the majority of the backroom staff doesn't count English as his first language, the forward coach has a thick Scottish accent barely legible to an Englishman... The majority of the first team squad doesn't count English as their first language, just imagine. Imagine. How fucking confusing all this tactical “genius” is. Some managers and coaches try to be too clever and it never works, now combine this with a language barrier. It's not rocket science.
74 Posted 12/10/2019 at 15:15:08
In your earlier post  you wrote. 'Tony, If you had the 11 best kids you could find, all of whom needed coaching and could not rely on what they already knew, and Guardiola got 11 mediocre kids, but was able to coach them, he would beat your boys because the right system can beat superior players. A modern formation would swarm an old fashioned 4-4-2, and superior and positioning and fitness would make it seem like the other side had 2 extra men.'
Steve, I can't believe that you could possibly arrive at that conclusion, mainly because you are assuming that the gifted kids are all going to be less fit than the mediocre kids, and that they wouldn't have sufficient possession of the ball to make their superior skill count. If I could subtract 70 years off my 81 I know which team [and manager], I would like to play for. I don't expect a reply to this post because you appear to have used your allotted 20 submissions.
75 Posted 12/10/2019 at 15:41:13
We don't score goals, we play shit football, there's no passion, no skill, no excitement. There's rumours the imaginary new stadium is having problems, Goodison is falling down, and Bill Kenwright is still at the helm – grinning and clapping at every game like a demented seal waiting for a fish to be thrown.
What's the solution from our fans? Discuss tactics in depth and argue about 4-4-2 or other shit formations Silva plays. It's a joke, lads. No wonder there's no passion on the pitch when our own fans don't have any fire in their bellies. Have we all given up?
How about some hard-hitting raw-to-the-bone posts that go for the jugular instead of all this nice stuff? Steve Ferns, why not dissect the twats running EFC rather than dissect that prick Silva's tactics?? I mean ToffeeWeb has really gone soft. It's a shame, thereused to be real energy on this site; now it's just like old men arguing about odd socks.
Wake up, lads – the club is going down the shitter and some of you are more interested in trying to look clever than writing something worth reading. It's becoming boring.
76 Posted 12/10/2019 at 16:42:53
Steve can be my talent spotter, I couldn't trust him with being one of my coaches because I don't think he concentrates enough on some of the things I write down!
77 Posted 12/10/2019 at 17:33:32
It was particularly interesting regarding his time at Leeds. It failed because although Leeds had played great football under Revie, they were also very dirty, which Clough hated.
It struck me that Clough should have managed Everton, because we also played great football, fancier stuff than Leeds, but were never dirty. We were hard but fair. Imagine if Clough had managed us, it might have been great, like Kendal in the mid-80s.
Clough seemed to take a simple approach to tactics and formations. They were important, but didn't seem complicated. They seemed to work because he got his players well organised, and, equally importantly, inspired. They would 'walk across the Sahara for him', as one player put it. Even Leeds' Johnny Giles said he was a genius at this.
The thing is, formations do seem important, but during a game they might need to be adapted and changed depending on what's happening and who's playing well or badly. But no matter what the formation, it surely won't be very effective unless the players are inspired to perform, i.e. unless they want to play for the manager and ultimately walk across the Sahara for him.
Last season, there were times when we had very good team spirit, and the players seemed to want to play, to enjoy it. We struggle when this doesn't happen, regardless of the formation used. But surely the formation is a means to an end, to aiding the players in gelling together in such a way that they want to play. And surely a point is that, the formations can and do change during a game, in order to help achieve this outcome in the players.
The fact that Silva had successes in this respect last season gives hope that we can do it this season.
78 Posted 12/10/2019 at 17:51:00
And if over coaching doesn't exist why does the thick as mince sub who's about to enter the fray require a Professor of Tactics to spend ten fuckin' minutes explaining where he should stand when we concede from another corner.
Why do we have the little fucker from The Crankies (Bernard) “defending“ at corners when he should be on the half-way line to offer an outlet in the off-chance that we are not picking the ball out of the back of the net but, instead, are playing it up-field?
Frustrated from Wales.
79 Posted 12/10/2019 at 17:56:58
I think 4-4-1 is when one of your forwards has been sent off.
80 Posted 12/10/2019 at 18:00:19
Maybe it's me who's thick as mince. 🤦🏻♂️
81 Posted 12/10/2019 at 18:03:33
It's a job well worth doing that requires hours of dedication, but the satisfaction of seeing the players reaping the benefits of a hot OXO at half-time makes it all worthwhile. There are [ like football itself] many ways to prepare the perfect OXO, I preferred a decent addition of pepper, and without blowing my own trumpet I believe that it attracted many a player. No matter how many games we lost, [and there were many] everyone went home feeling a warm glow.
I'll have to close now as there are two gentlemen approaching me, one is carrying a mug of OXO and the other a strait- jacket.
82 Posted 12/10/2019 at 18:07:49
Clough and Shankly were outstanding man-managers.
Imagine Silva saying to big Dunc "Now listen, young man".
Modern managers just don't get respect because they don't earn it or demand it.
83 Posted 12/10/2019 at 18:26:59
No, you're not thick as mince. When I was a young man playing Sunday league, a man called Billy Southall who drank in our boozer who played with Pongo Waring, tried to explain 4-4-2 as:
“When you are defending, 2 wide midfielders drop back and the full-backs squeeze in; when you are attacking, your fullbacks push up allowing the wide midfielders to push up."
Which means you are playing 6-4-4 in his words. Genius! And he was a true gent, as hard as nails.
84 Posted 12/10/2019 at 18:50:26
85 Posted 12/10/2019 at 19:00:50
I'm not convinced that, say, George Best ever thought ‘should I be in this position? Am I the 2 in the 4-3-2-1 or the 1?' But the argument always is that the game has changed, the implication being that only those with up to date tactical acumen understand. Well, I notice that tactical acumen means that marking the posts from corners is yesterday's (and therefore out-of-date) news – and yet, week after week, I see goals conceded which may have been prevented with a man on the stick.
I also see many long balls played to the man ‘up top' as they say, which bypass any formation you care to name. Old school but effective on many occasions.
There are too many outstanding players in the game who seem to rely on talent and instinct, which for me negate any tactics or formation you care to name. It's not a chess match – and maybe Silva should be worrying less about tactics and formation and more about trying to instill some heart and bottle in the team and a culture that just will not accept second best. When we do what it says on the badge, then I for one will be a happy man, and I suspect many more will be too...
86 Posted 12/10/2019 at 19:15:07
Football is and always will be, like life itself, a simple game made complicated by people desperate to do far more than necessary.
The concept of formation and tactics isn't new, perhaps the concept disecting them into minutea ad infinitum is?
Once we have a team playing well, scoring goals and winning games, we'll have more interesting things to talk about.
87 Posted 12/10/2019 at 19:26:56
88 Posted 12/10/2019 at 19:50:52
89 Posted 12/10/2019 at 19:51:02
Prior to Kendall's time, other managers would give one of their forwards a harrying role (Rush being a classic example) but it was Kendall who got the whole team at it. Indeed I was fortunate enough some time back to have an illuminating conversation with Graeme Sharp who put the change in Everton's fortunes down to all the players finally getting how to do it, pressing up the park simultaneously so that no space was being left between the lines.
90 Posted 12/10/2019 at 19:54:39
91 Posted 12/10/2019 at 20:04:51
If I am not mistaken, Howard nearly signed Ravinelli. It would never have worked out, though.
92 Posted 12/10/2019 at 20:06:37
How can a team play a high press, when they have got no pace in the middle of their defence? Although that obviously doesnt mean that Silva, has got anything right so far this season.
93 Posted 12/10/2019 at 21:11:30
That said, I know football has always been analysed to death by various experts, and I have genuine respect for the detail that Steve elaborates, but football is a simple game. If players perfect "control, pass and move forwards" they're likely to occasionally get me on my feet, especially when they make an attempt on goal, but when they can't even achieve these basics it's nail-clipper time, again.
94 Posted 12/10/2019 at 22:00:54
Hi Kevin  Welcome to the Club, I'm sure that we are about to see an increase in numbers, if things don't improve rapidly. I've just reread my post and noticed that I spelled "Flummoxation incorrectly, that rules me out of recording any minutes of meetings [thankfully].
Hi Don  you would be a perfect addition to the 'Flummoxed Association' you have all the qualities that our movement needs, it's a pity that the team lacks the movement we expect from them. I'll take the liberty of enrolling you as a member, if you don't wish to be included please accept my sincere apologies.
95 Posted 12/10/2019 at 23:10:22
Football is no different.
Big Sam had a reputation for percentage long ball football but was one of the first to use sports science to analyse opposition and tactics. Probably one of the reasons why his team's had reputations for upsetting the apple cart and beating the big boys.
The worrying thing for us is that opposition managers are beating us with inferior players as their tactics and formations beat ours.
The stats about not coming back from deficits and conceding at set pieces are damming for the manager and his tactics.
96 Posted 14/10/2019 at 02:10:24
It's not about 4-2-3-1 vs 4-4-2; all have their good and bad points, both can be effective and – as we are witnessing –ineffective.
It's about flexible vs inflexible.
In short; when we have the ball, we are all attackers and the quicker the better. When we don't, we're all defenders.
Forget the numbers, the 4-4-2s etc. It's all about the transition from (say) 2 banks of 5, aka under the cosh. To (say) 2-3-5 and laying siege to their goal.
If there were such a thing... bear with me... as an 'automatic football formation number counter' when you attack (or defend) it should flip round like a demented airport destination board in full meltdown until every line reads GOAL!
Not stuck on one number (say) 4-2-3-1 or, to continue the airport metaphor – DELAYED.
KISS... (and fast!)
97 Posted 14/10/2019 at 05:26:53
A rose by any other peony...
98 Posted 14/10/2019 at 09:31:02
As this dawned on me I decided to revisit this thread to see how it had developed and discovered that it wasnt just myself and John Mc who were suffering from this dreadful malaise. It seems it is wide spread and I find it quite alarming.
To add to my consternation Tony Marshs post @ 75 was the clincher for me “its just like old men arguing about odd socks”. That rattled me that did Tony especially when I had to go back three times to check your post number because I kept on forgetting it.
As the saying goes “if the cap fits wear it”. Here I am 56 years on from watching Alex Young hanging in the air before planting a header past Bill Brown to clinch the title from Spurs, worrying about numbers like 442, 4132, 4312, and so on. How did it come to this?
I do think the time has come for us to do something about it. In the olden days one of the flummoxed club would probably have decided to start a fight and that would have relieved the sense of frustration but we are getting a bit long in the tooth for that now (although I am quite sure many of us would still have a go).
What to do? I think we should beat our walking sticks into clubs and get some bin lids (you know like the old fashioned tin ones). Then on the morning of the next game at Goodison we should march round the ground for two hours banging the bin lids and shouting in unison - WE ARE FLUMMOXED!!!
That will give them something to think about.
99 Posted 14/10/2019 at 10:01:31
100 Posted 14/10/2019 at 10:51:37
I have over the years, fought hard to justify the nickname of 'Johnny McFossil' which was bestowed on me for my efforts of keeping the past in the present.
Hi Laurie  you had me worried for a while, I thought that you had been the first victim of 'Flummoxation', I feel a great sense of relief on learning that you have [with the aid of dustbin lids] been 'Drumming up interest' I wasn't aware that things had reached such an alarming level, keep up the good work.
101 Posted 14/10/2019 at 11:34:23
102 Posted 14/10/2019 at 11:55:28
It would be great if George and his mob from The Dark House came out and joined us on the second or third circuit – it would be good for the TV cameras.
Alan - my knees are holding up alright it's my head that is the problem.
John Mc, I will be alright – once a blue, always a blue.
103 Posted 14/10/2019 at 12:37:24
104 Posted 14/10/2019 at 13:41:06
"He hit it with his favourite left foot" How many left feet has he got? "Only one team is going to win this game." well, they both can't win it can they? "He gave it away cheaply" surely if he gave it away there's no cost involved.
There are many others, but due to a mental blockage, and a feeble mind I'm unable to quote them at the moment, perhaps someone may jog my memory. The one I've selected for you is, "He's leading from the back" the mind boggles.
Hi Tony  Aren't you afraid of losing 'Street Credibility' mixing with the 'Vintage Unhinged'? Your choice of a marching song is commendable, but may I suggest a song recorded by numerous Country artistes, that being 'My Elusive Dreams'.
105 Posted 14/10/2019 at 13:52:01
106 Posted 14/10/2019 at 13:56:54
107 Posted 14/10/2019 at 14:43:48
108 Posted 14/10/2019 at 15:18:31
My all-time favourites are from David Coleman, 'Juantorena opens his legs and shows the world his talent.' and Ron Atkinson, 'That was a shocking tackle, took his back legs away from him'.
109 Posted 14/10/2019 at 15:30:33
On the point of pundits' expressions, the one I hate most (which in many ways shows how the game has changed) is ‘he was entitled to go down there' when there is the least contact. There was a time when a player would try to stay on his feet at all costs but now they'd rather fall down than try to score. And as far as being ‘entitled', well it's completely beyond me.
110 Posted 15/10/2019 at 19:10:48
111 Posted 15/10/2019 at 19:30:14
It's causing us so much embarrassment we've become the laughing stock of football.
112 Posted 16/10/2019 at 15:39:43
I totally agree with the poster in that the game has become complicated. While I admire what Steve Ferns has to say on the tactical front, I would question his point that players are more multi faceted in the modern game.
How many centre halves score a lot these days? I remember Steve Bruce, Dave Watson and Derek Mountfield getting amongst the goals in 4-4-2 systems.
But more pertinently, a 4-4-2 wouldn't have a DCM in it, instead it would have two CM's who can do everything required of a midfielder, one being more skilful and the other being the deeper tackler. My problem with Steve's theory is that Gueye and Schneiderlin are DCM's and do nothing else. They don't perform other roles, they are redundant once the team crosses the halfway line.
Some will say they give cover to full backs to go forward but I would counter that in a 4-4-2, you will have proper wingers (not frustrated or failed strikers) so the full backs are not expected to play so high up. Remember, in a 4-4-2, you'd have two CM's going through the middle thus creating options.
My problem with current formations is that you end up not going through the middle and just down the sides. The great Everton teams and those of United in the 1990's tended to shift the ball centrally and out again at the optimum moments as they got the run on opponents.
Just my slant but, like the main poster, I have long wondered about 4-4-2 returning to rid us of CDM's and lone strikers being isolated up front.
113 Posted 16/10/2019 at 16:36:28
Another thing I find disturbing, and the only part of your post that caused me discomfort, was your use of acronyms, luckily I managed to decipher them I think. I assume that CMs are central mid-fielders, and DCMs are defensive central mid-fielders, I know you meant no harm, but the use of acronyms causes flash backs to my army days, when I had to obey the orders of NCOs Non Commissioned Officer's, CSMs Company Sergeant Major's, and RSMs Regimental Sergeant Major's.
That last paragraph Andrew was my attempt at humour, I hope you don't take offence, none intended.
114 Posted 16/10/2019 at 22:30:25
Sorry for the acronyms, just typing the words out on my dodgy keyboard was getting on my nerves.
No offence taken sir.
I do enjoy some of the tactical discussions on here because I am an amateur football historian and try understanding how the game has evolved. But I am wary of "philosophy" because sometimes you should just do the most effective thing to score, however direct or basic some might regard it.
But some of the false "Number 9" nonsense is lazy media talk. Gimmicky rubbish. What next? A false "Number 1"? A keeper who wears the jersey but doesn't actually stand between the posts.
115 Posted 17/10/2019 at 13:45:54
Despite my dislike of stats, formations, and acronyms I will make my way to the GOL on Saturday morning, where I will yell as loud as I can, COYB, I hope that MS picks another striker to play alongside DCL, in a conventional 4-4-2 system. That's another feeble attempt at sarcastic humour, and probably cause for another apology.
116 Posted 17/10/2019 at 13:59:02
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