What Do Everton Need To Do To Salvage Their Season And Steer Clear Of The Drop?
The world cup is at the quarter final stage, and eyes are now turning back to Boxing Day as Everton & the premier league return to action. The world cup came probably as not only a welcome break to Everton as a club, as results started to plummet & fan frustrations returned, but came at a decent time for selection of EFC fans in terms of a break. EFC find themselves 17th in the PL, 1 point above 18th placed Nottingham Forest & only 4 points above bottom placed Wolves who they face on Boxing Day at Goodison Park. It feels very much again like EFC are in trouble and once again facing a battle to keep their top flight status intact. The underlying stats of EFC’s season aren’t good, showing very little (if any) progress from final 6 months of the last season despite 7/8 new additions who should be making an impact. Despite going on a mini unbeaten run a few weeks back, the underlying stats had EFC exactly where they had them now, fighting amongst the league’s bottom clubs. So upon return what do Everton football club as a whole need to do to improve things?
Act swiftly & efficiently in the January Transfer window.
No secret to anyone, EFC once again need reinforcements in the January window, and in my personal opinion it is imperative they’re brought in swiftly to ensure EFC have a shot at survival at a quicker rate. EFC’s forward line & creativity is struggling big time, the chances aren’t being created, and absolutely nothing is happening in the forward areas, despite the two additions of Neal Maupay & Dwight McNeil in the summer. There is such a heavy reliance on the form of Alex Iwobi to create for EFC, whilst wingers/attackers & fullbacks struggle to provide anything in that category. The wingers are struggling for me especially, those that follow me on twitter will know all about my distaste for the impact of EFC’s current winger options, relegation worthy. I done the below tweet November 8th looking in to sheer shot/goal creating actions of EFC’s forward options behind the striker & it wasn’t pretty reading. EFC need an attacking reinforcement to help create chances and be a threat to opposition defences. The Dwight McNeil addition now makes me actively sit there & scratch my head, I don’t mind McNeil, but in the situation we were in was it wise to pick up a squad player for players such as Gordon & Gray who were already deemed not good enough to fire EFC higher up in the table? The Maupay deal I liked originally as an option of ‘something different’ but without the further recruitment needed (a DCL shaped figure to fill in that gap) the Maupay deal as an isolated addition now looks ridiculous. EFC need to do better & be better in recruiting attackers in the January market, whether that be permanent additions, or loan additions as they wish to not overpay in the usual inflated January markets.
again, according to Fbref
SCA = shot creating actions
GCA = goal creating actions
xAG = expected assisted goals
Alex Iwobi = 34SCA, 4GCA & xAG = 2.4
Anthony Gordon = 18SCA, 0GCA & xAG = 0.5
Demarai Gray = 50SCA, 3GCA & xAG = 2
Dwight McNeil = 27SCA, 2GCA & xAG = 1.2
— Danny (@Danny_EFC6) November 8, 2022
Frank Lampard has to be better, he has to decide on a formation & what he actually wants to do with this EFC side.
People don’t like the idea of criticising the manager yet, ‘WHAT’S HE SUPPOSED TO DO!?’ is the common question I get when I do criticise, I expect him to do better. Frank Lampard walked in to a mess, granted, so the Jan-June period of last season was just about one thing, survival at all costs. The manager has now had a full pre-season & brought in 8 additions of his own including established figures such as James Tarkowski, Conor Coady & Idrissa Gana Gueye. Yet EFC are not improving at all, the defence is facing as many shots as it ever has, the attack isn’t creating or scoring, the pressing instructions are amateurish at best & the actual set up of his players is just bizarre. The set ups haven’t been consistent, which never helps players actually develop in to that system, starting the season with 3 at the back, going to a 433, Palace game was a 4231 then just bailed completely? Back to a 3 at the back in the cup and then again to the 433. I’m all for tactical adaptation in helping you try and win football matches, it makes sense to have different types of approach against different opponents, but it’s no wonder EFC players don’t look settled in any formation as it seems the manager is still unsure in which way he actually wants this current crop to set up. The Midfield is his most used 433 seems to perplex us all, the weird obsession he has with playing Iwobi RCM instead of LCM (where he works better) and pushing Onana really high up despite his evident lack of attacking play and his best performances coming in deeper roles. As previously mentioned EFC’s best display this year came in a 4231 set up at home to Palace, but then it wasn’t used in that way again despite Onana & Gana working terrifically together in a pivoted 2, Gana isn’t a lone 6 & Onana is a great partner for him in that department. The pushing up higher of Onana impacts both Iwobi & Gana, as Iwobi gets reigned in more from it, and it also isolates Gana completely, making it so easy for opposition to go at EFC defence and get shots off on Jordan Pickford’s goal. So the manager for me has to be better & has to stop making these stupid mistakes, there was a soundbite recently of Lampard talking about Onana’s role & highlighting him losing the ball in a deep position against Newcastle for maybe a reason he doesn’t play too deep. For me this is absolutely absurd, Onana is a young player still adapting to PL of course, but to highlight one mistake in that process as justification for this weird phase we’re in with Onana being forced higher up is so odd, and not something I expect to hear from someone as intelligent as Lampard. It’s no justification, he’s had more good games deeper for EFC than he has any game playing higher up for EFC, so why would you highlight one mistake in changing that?
Lampard has to decide what he wants this side to be, I get the argument of ‘it’s clear he wants us to be like we were against Palace!’ then why haven’t we set up similarly since? Why haven’t we played to that strength again? Pick something & try and pick some momentum up with it before it’s too late & we inevitably have to go back to the back 5 holding on for every point we can muster up.
Keep the fans engaged & on side.
As we saw both occasions down south at Bournemouth before the international break, tempers are once again starting to boil for EFC fan base, and I think after those two showing they were completely within their right to do so. Losing 7-1 over two fixtures to Bournemouth is unacceptable at Everton football club, no excuses. A large portion of the fan base seem still behind the manager’s connection to them, despite stuttering performances, if EFC are to continue with faith in Frank Lampard (I think he’s very lucky to still be in the job personally) then to put it completely simply he needs to keep that connection strong by putting a stop to these dreadful performances EFC have churned out now for weeks. Know that’s easier said than done but it ties in with above in me saying the manager HAS to do better, now is the time to prove he has anything about him as a coach. Again for me personally, I’m not seeing absolutely anything from this manager to suggest he’s the man going forward that Everton need.
Keeping the fans engaged and on side can also be righting the wrongs of last summer, when no axes were swung in the EFC boardroom despite the absolute pinnacle of failure in EFC only scraping PL survival with a game to spare. I’m writing this on the day the 27Campaign have just released another letter to Farhad Moshiri asking for the removal of Chairman Bill Kenwright, who has overseen the clubs longest period of failure in its entire history & also the removal of CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale. The EFC boardroom needed change and that didn’t come in the summer, despite it being glaringly obvious it was absolutely time to do so. There has been change in other footballing side as Kevin Thelwell looks to have really put a stamp on EFC’s academy, however as I wrote I the summer, the fish rots from the head down, EFC cannot & will not move forwards positively with the same boardroom in tact that has brought nothing but absolute failure. Whether that change would be made mid-season is beyond me, but I think it would certainly be at least a positive step in another chapter of EFC owner Farhad Moshiri repairing relationship with EFC fans. Whether Moshiri will even acknowledge the letter is another thing, Moshiri is still absent from all EFC matches since October 2021, a project he was once so keen to attend as much as possible, now looks like a place he wants to avoid at all costs. With rumours still strong about Moshiri’s intention to sell EFC alongside this 14 month absence, I don’t think it’s ridiculous to say it looks pretty clear Moshiri is actively looking for a way out
To conclude I know I’ve only really looked at 3 *headlines* in what EFC could improve, but they’re 3 huge factors that really need addressing, EFC need attacking recruits in Jan, there can be no excuse for failure in doing so.
The manager has to be better tactically & just in general, if not as is the way in football he’ll lose his job sooner rather than later whilst EFC slip further in to the Abyss.
The fans need to be kept engaged & on board form EFC, it’s not down to us every time, it has to go both ways, without the fans EFC would be playing championship football right now & be looking down the barrel of a financial mess.
Personally, I think once again its very worrying times to be a blue, it was never going to be fixed in one window, but the lack of improvement is startling to say the least.