The Disturbing Conundrums of the Everton Attack

“What is speed? The sports press often confuses speed with insight. See, if I start running slightly earlier than someone else, I seem faster.” A quote from one of the greats, Johan Cruyff. The 3 time Ballon d’Or winner is idolised by many Dutch players of his time even to this day, Ronald Koeman is included in this bracket. This article isn’t to slander Koeman’s intelligence, he has a better CV than I will ever possess, but as football supporters we have a right to speak our minds. Everton fans particularly like to raise their points-of-view, especially as patience is incredibly thin. Results need to be produced, especially after £140m has been spent in one window. Four defeats in 5 (regardless of who against) is completely unacceptable, not only that but not even picking up a win after two European games has severely damaged our hopes. Somethings really need to be changed at Goodison if Koeman wants to keep his £6m-a-year salary and his reputation at the club.

The Team Selections

Before the season started, I posted an article on Everton’s formations and how many times each PL team changed their formations last campaign. We’ve played 7 matches and Koeman has started with 5 different formations already. Koeman’s failure to put us into a system our new boys can ease into has completely deteriorated our performances. In comparison, Man United and Man City have changed twice; Tottenham 3 times.

Our best attacking formation is a 433, somehow, he’s only put us in that formation once (surprisingly we won that game). Not only that but his refusal to play wingers such as Lookman and Vlasic (with pace) for the past-his-prime Rooney and 28-year-old central-midfielder, Sigurdsson, is mind-blowing. We want to expose the final-third and most chances in football are all created from the wings, so surely you should put actual wingers there, right?

Another problem with his selection is the choice between Gueye and Schneiderlin. On their days, both players can be our best on the pitch, but both provide nothing going forward. Schneiderlin can sometimes bring traits of Barry to his play in terms of his long passing, but even this is very rare. Instead of having two defensive midfielders at home to Burnley or Bournemouth, why not start another attacking midfielder or put Sigurdsson in his natural position?

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Everton’s average positions map for our 2-2 home draw at home to Apollon Limassol has so far defined our season. Too many number 10s, no width, no striker to aim for. Walsh done no favours for Koeman, not replacing Lukaku the biggest issue, but chips without mayonnaise is no chips and football without tactics is no football. The lack of an actual game plan is a horrible afterthought.

Reliance on Calvert-Lewin

This isn’t criticising DCL, he has been by far our best player in the final third by quite some distance and that’s because Pickford and the Everton defence have somebody to aim for. When he isn’t there, you can really see how much we miss his presence. Here is Paul Riley’s video from our game vs Bournemouth.

It’s astonishing to see the lack of runs going forward just a few minutes into the game, although what do you expect when Sigurdsson and Rooney are in your front three? It seems like our only gameplan for the season was entirely based on if we had Giroud in an Everton shirt considering the amount of long balls we make.

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As a result, Pickford’s distribution results are an eye-waterer. Only Ben Foster (42%) has had a worse distribution rate than Pickford (51%) this season out of keepers that have played every game. Managers are known for the style and systems they play, Guardiola for tiki-taka, Klopp for gengen-press, Wenger for generating as many shots as possible, whilst Koeman doesn’t really have anything (unless slow and narrow counts).

I certainly believe that every single football side across the world should believe in playing young players, however Koeman has a history of failing to give many young players the opportunity to flourish. He realises how important Calvert-Lewin, but why not Lookman or even Davies at many times? Everton suffered under Martinez for not having a plan B, now Everton suffer under Koeman for not having a plan A.

Creating Chances and Scoring Them

Romelu Lukaku is currently on the form of his life, scoring 7 goals in 7 games for Man United. He has proven to be an important asset, however his contribution to the goals the team score in total is actually quite less compared to Alvaro Morata (50%) and Harry Kane (43%). Lukaku sits on 33% contribution for his goals, which is a big decrease compared to his time at Goodison. He will 100% smash the 25 goals he scored last year if he continues this form and the reason why is because he has creative players such as Mkhitaryan and Mata behind him.

Meanwhile at Everton, not only have we not replaced our £90m striker, but we didn’t even buy the creator we so desperately needed. Klaassen can certainly be our go-to player in midfield if we give him the time, but we desperately needed someone that can be our playmaker and we failed miserably to bring someone in.

Everton so far this season have only created 6 chances that have had a high possibility of scoring, which is never ever going to get us anywhere near a top 6 finish. The clubs above us have a considerable amount more than we do.

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This isn’t the last of Everton’s poor statistics from our attackers, we’ve managed to have just a 5.2% shot conversion rate and only 17 shots on target in 7 games. Working our way into the opposition penalty area is a huge problem for us and has been for a number of years.

It’s not just our shots that are painful viewing, but the amount of dribbles we’ve attempted is by far the worst in the league. Everton have attempted just 4.4 dribbles per game, which is lower than any other team in the Premier League this season. What makes this statistic even more odd is the fact that we’ve had more of the ball on the right side of the pitch than any other club, having possession in that area 43% of the time.

The imbalance of our attacking play is affecting us badly. On one side, we maintain the ball mostly in that area, on the other side, nothing ever happens. Baines and Martina are horribly exposed every game when the ball is down their flanks because of the lack of cover.

Conclusion

Chop and changing too much, failure to put players in their most comfortable position and no number 10 or 9 to supply the goals. Currently, there are so many, many problems that are going on at the club so far (I haven’t even analysed our defence), the result on Sunday certainly put the nail in the coffin for our top 6 hopes and has applied the pressure on Koeman even more. It’s not all the Dutchman’s fault for sure, but he hasn’t done himself any good with these mistakes. He still has time to turn the boat, but the seas are unforgiving and the chances of capsizing are increasing. Sort it Ronald. Up the Toffees.

 

Thanks to @footballfactman, Squawka and WhoScored.

 

 

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