The Italian Job

by   |   20/06/2020  19 Comments  [Jump to last]

Man for man, none of our team would replace his equivalent in Liverpool’s team.

I would expect that contention is passed with full agreement.

Faced with such a challenge… what to do?

In the last derby, Klopp frustratingly outwitted Carlo Ancelotti in the FA Cup but it was “early doors” and he was still coming to terms with the squad he had inherited. This time, even given our injuries, I am looking for a tactically savvy display from “El Maestro”.

Even before Carlo's arrival, I was a proponent of 4-4-2, mainly based on our history of “burning” strikers due to the expectations that they plough a furrow on their own, get little support, and never benefit from a partner to exploit our opposition weaknesses.

My hope tomorrow is Carlo serves us a tactical masterclass in good old fashioned Italian “shut-up shop football” – take a point or snatch a 1-0 win.

Even given my 4-4-2 propensity, I would change it tomorrow and play 4-1-4-1. We simply do not have the quality of player to play 4-4-2 against the top 6. The pace and flexibility these teams possess clearly highlights our limitations and we simply get exposed, see Chelsea for the prime example.

Play deep, rigidity in shape, soak up and frustrate and hope for a set-piece opportunity from Sigurdsson. A draw should give us the confidence for the remaining upcoming matches because we need 6 points to be safe. My fear is a kicking will decimate confidence and lead to a downward spiral.

My team would be: Pickford, Digne, Holgate, Keane, Coleman, Richarlison, Davies, Sigurdsson, Gomes, Sidibé, Calvert-Lewin.

Andre Gomes sitting as defensive cover as he’s clearly our most gifted midfielder for retaining possession, leaving Davies and Sigurdsson in centre mid.

I don’t want pretty, we can’t do pretty. I do want frustration, any organised team can frustrate, I will take 0-0 now.

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Reader Comments (19)

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Ajay Gopal
1 Posted 20/06/2020 at 12:21:57
Dave, probably Richarlison might replace Firmino, Holgate might replace Gomez, Gomes might replace one of their central midfielders, who are just okay.

While being pragmatic (like Allardyce was when he did well to snatch a point) is certainly a possibility, I believe this is the best time for Carlo to have a go and get the result that Evertonians are desperate for, and set us up for staring them in the eyes when next season's derby comes around.

Surely, we HAVE to, SOMEDAY, turn around the awful record we have had for the past decade. We may all just be pleasantly surprised tomorrow. My prediction: 3-1.

Dave McDowell
2 Posted 20/06/2020 at 15:33:03
Ajay, I admire your optimism but our first team could not even go toe to toe with Liverpool reserves in the FA Cup.

My thought process (painful as it is) for this match is let's not get turned over as we did at Chelsea, take a point and let Carlo rebuild in the summer, mould a team with his philosophy and pray for better days (and performances) next season.

My pragmatism is based on this season's woeful performances (Duncan's teams excused) and our clear lack of quality and character.

I hope your prediction comes true but I fear “having a go at them” with this set of players is asking for (another) serious hiding.

Kevin Prytherch
3 Posted 20/06/2020 at 16:09:28
We could throw a spanner in the works and do what Liverpool did with a load of kids.

Pickford
Coleman, Branthwaite, Holgate, Digne
Adeniran, Baningime, Davies, Gordon
Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.

Ultimate no-pressure team and put the onus firmly on Liverpool.

Lose – and we were expected to – they've not won the title anyway.
Get a result – brag that anything they can do, we can do.

Tony Everan
4 Posted 20/06/2020 at 16:17:55
Dave, they would love to sign Richarlison, when they trade out of Salah or Mane next season. But we know that would never happen. Richarlison is the next generation of that sort of class.

I agree with you regards trying to find a way to get a result, but I think here there is no easy answer. The 4-1-4-1 may just invite more pressure and have us permanently on the back foot.

The familiarity of the 4-4-2 will be used, I think, with Richarlison dropping a little bit deeper, feeding off Calvert-Lewin and being fed through the channels from midfield.

The two of them up front have to retain a bit of possession in the Liverpool half so we can keep some composure. It's a tough ask, but they have to do this job for the team.

Probably the best chance of us scoring the one or two goals we will need for a result, because I can't see us shutting Liverpool out entirely.

Derek Taylor
5 Posted 20/06/2020 at 16:59:57
Only a positive Blues victory will make a story out of this one. Local bookies seem to be taking a 4 or 5 margin for the other side for granted and one even told me that 80% of the interest centred on size of this margin rather than the overall result.

Of course, the appalling performance against our rivals' reserves at Anfield was embarrassing beyond words but Klopp won't pull that one again as he needs to get mileage into his stars for the run-in.

Having said that, 4-0 to them seems just about the likely outcome – whatever team he fields!

Jerome Shields
6 Posted 20/06/2020 at 17:28:06
It will take an all-round performance to get a result from this game. Setting up shop with this current Everton squad would be disastrous.
Tim Welsh
7 Posted 20/06/2020 at 17:49:33
If the extant Everton players were to replace their RS counterparts, they would still win the league... and everyone knows why.
Clive Rogers
8 Posted 21/06/2020 at 15:21:22
I can't agree with Sidibé, he's a disaster waiting to happen. Plus, the option to buy him for £12M has not been taken up, so he won't be in a positive mind-frame.
Ajay Gopal
9 Posted 23/06/2020 at 10:49:22
Dave, your wish did come true! ;-)
Mark Louch
10 Posted 23/06/2020 at 11:24:34
So a sterile 0-0 but in truth, a positive evening in many ways:

a) We didn't get the thumping one or two of us feared;

b) Ancelotti showed clearly that he is a pragmatist who can organise this under-performing squad. Coleman was defensively at his best, Holgate and Keane strong and the mis-firing Digne had a decent game. The midfield is our weak point but, collectively, they did well. All had been asked to do a "team job" and this meant that none of them stood out. The two up top were excellent in difficult circumstances.

c) Hope for the future. This final point is the most positive; there is the makings of a strong spine to the team and every winning team has it.

Pickford: maturing and still learning the game.

Holgate: excellent.

Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison: promising a lot as young players.

Throw into the mix Gomes and Digne as potentially excellent Premier League players plus Keane and Davies as excellent squad players.

That leaves Iwobi: yet to truly convince. Gordon: bags of potential. And the dependable but ageing Coleman: rarely lets anyone down.

Of the others not involved, Kean, Mina and maybe Delph can be excellent squad players or better?
This leaves Sigurdsson, Walcott, Sidibé and maybe Bernard as well as, of course, Bolasie, Besic, Niasse, Martina and probably Tosun as wage-earners to be sacrificed to refresh the squad.

In my view, Ancelotti will go 4-3-3 as a preferred option next season and the absolute key signing is that solid, mobile centre-midfielder (think Kante, Fabinho, Fernandinho, Ndidi and Gueye) around whom two more creative box-to-box midfielders (Gomes plus one) can operate. Clearly we have Gbamin but his injuries mean we need somebody else for that role and then hope he gets back to really compete.

The next signing is a central defender to play alongside Holgate with Mina and Keane backing up and supporting. These two signings will really strengthen the spine and, with Calvert-Lewin spearheading a front line supported by the hard-working Richarlison, Kean and Gordon...??

The right-back issue is the final piece in the medium-term jigsaw. Let Sidibé go and, if Kenny is not yet ready, give him another year to develop in Germany and bring in someone short-term to keep Coleman on his toes.

With Gibson, Branthwaite and maybe one or two other youngsters a year or two away, these improvements could be enough to really trouble the 4-7th type positions next season.

Just my optimistic thoughts after the most boring derby in years!

Tom Bowers
11 Posted 23/06/2020 at 11:52:59
Whilst nobody expected Burnley to beat Man City, it is apparent these days that teams like them and Everton do not have a Plan B when necessary and that's what sets them aside from the more successful clubs.

What I mean is that they basically set out in a defensive mode to preserve a point and hope for the one opportunity that they can benefit from. When they concede first, they do not have the Plan B to strike back (usually because they do not have the personnel).

It all comes down to the size and quality of your squad, which is governed by the big money that can tempt the better players.

RS usually always get a goal in the end to win games and the aforementioned reasons tell you why. Everton played well defensively against a lack-lustre RS and that afforded them the opportunity to win the game at the end but very little else and Plan B wasn't an option needed (if they ever had one).

Dave McDowell
12 Posted 23/06/2020 at 12:04:35
Yes Ajay, thankfully Carlo did a number on Klopp, played Napoli (away) tactics, soak up the pressure and strike on the break.

I thought our back four were excellent with Seamus the pick as he was up against probably the stand out player of the Premier League this season in Mane.

I actually hope Carlo sticks with this system and we win all our final 8 games 1-0 and “get the hell out of Dodge.”

Look at Mark's summary of our current squad – we just don't have the personnel to outplay teams; our midfield is just not at the quality required to dominate Premier League opposition.

However, we do have players like Richarlison & Dom (Kean, jury still out) who can capitalise on the break.

Play to our strengths, let's not kid ourselves we are something we are not.

We are 12th for a reason.

Darren Hind
13 Posted 23/06/2020 at 12:54:44
I hope you are wrong, Dave.

TGT upset an awful lot of people by setting up two banks and knocking lot percentage balls ten years ago.

KITAP1 Does not look any prettier in Italian.

Brian Harrison
14 Posted 23/06/2020 at 13:21:15
I think the great thing about Carlo is he realises points win prizes and playing pretty football sometimes won't win any points. He knew that with having to play Keane at centre back he had to play deep to stop them playing the ball in behind Keane which would expose his lack of pace. The tactic worked a treat as he also knew they didn't have the craft in midfield to open us up.

The problem he has on Wednesday is he will be expected to play a more offensive game and with Keane at the back his lack of pace must be a major worry, but Norwich don't carry the same pacy threat as Furlough FC did.

Seeing all the names of centre-backs being linked with us, and seeing Zouma looks like he will leave Chelsea this summer, surely he would be an upgrade on both Mina and Keane.

Paul Tran
15 Posted 23/06/2020 at 13:32:15
Darren #13, problem with TGT was that he couldn't get beyond KITAP1 consistently enough. I'm happy starting off with a mean defence, as long as there's good work further up the pitch. Chief concern for Wednesday is seeing if we can attack as well as defend. Then it'll be whether we do both consistently well. And I'd like to see consistent belief from the players that they can do both well.
Andrew Clare
16 Posted 23/06/2020 at 13:44:37
If we back Carlo in the transfer market we will reap the rewards.
Italian managers are very savvy tactically and Carlo is one of the all time great Italian coaches.
It’s all up to Moshiri to provide the funds. I am confident that Carlo will succeed.
Also with DCL, Richarlison and Holgate we have three great young players to build a team around.
Paul Tran
17 Posted 23/06/2020 at 14:01:00
In other news, Schneiderlin's move to Nice confirmed. 'Undisclosed' fee.
Dave McDowell
18 Posted 23/06/2020 at 14:09:24
Yes Darren I agree but I have higher expectations of Carlo than Moyes (winner & loser) so my philosophy is purely based on the hand he’s been dealt.

The issue of course is Carlo is on the shitty end of four years of crap recruitment so if he gets us competitive playing any sort of attractive style next season then I think he will have worked a miracle.

Too be fair the only two managers in recent years who had any philosophy that manifested itself on the pitch were Martinez and Allardyce (two extremes).

Carlo knows what style he wants to play, you’ve heard him talk of his “brave & vertical football”.

The wily old fox knows what’s needed so I for one will put my trust in him to eventually get the job done without reliance on KITAP1.

But for now I’ll take.

Tony Abrahams
19 Posted 23/06/2020 at 14:31:26
The wily old fox, is still to sign a player, and this is the only way this squad of players will really improve.

The first out the door is Schneiderlin, a man who you never felt had any semblance of a sense of belonging, but looking round the pitch on Sunday, we have quite a few players who do, and that’s why the next window is vital, because we all know a few better players could improve us immensely, especially if we sign a couple with leadership qualities, to really help bring this squad on.

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