Friday, 11 January 2019

Rival Lines: 'We've got to stick with Marco Silva'

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Everton v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Grand Old Team
Twitter @grandoldteamcom
Andy's personal thoughts and opinions
Andy on Twitter @AndyCostigan1

I chatted to Everton blogger Andy at Grand Old Team this week to preview the Everton v Bournemouth match. I wonder if Bournemouth have risen to Everton's level or if Everton are starting to fall back to Bournemouth's level as the two teams sit right next to each other in the league on 27 points from there 21 games. In the past, Goodison has not been a good place for the Cherries to go visiting but this time Bournemouth will perhaps have one or two ex-Liverpool players who just might up the performance of AFCB in this game.

CC: Everton are being linked with Barcelona winger Malcom. Is he the kind of player you need or do you feel Bernard and Theo Walcott are doing okay

GOT: I think whenever you’re linked with a player from Barcelona, you have to be interested. That’s a club who’ve truly built up a enviable reputation for recruiting top talent and if they’re not commanding a place in their first team, there’s surely an opportunity to try and make the most of them in England... if they can adjust.

As for the Bernard/Walcott element, Bernard is settling in well, getting stronger and fitter with every game, and for me, his willingness to get involved is critical. He appears to have a really good work ethic and is skilled on the ball – I like him. Walcott is a different issue – he seems to be something of an enigma. Even Arsene Wenger couldn’t get a level of consistency from him to make him a regular fixture on the Arsenal team. Sometimes, he looks almost disinterested, I’d venture nervous, but that should be ridiculous given his experience. We’re tended to play him wide right and maybe, just maybe, he needs to be tried more centrally. He’s played almost a #9 position for Arsenal and England and with his undoubted pace and ability to shoot with either foot, if we don’t give him the opportunity to play there – succeeding or failing – we might be doing ourselves a mis-service.

CC: The 5-1 win against Burnley was some win. Why do you think Everton found it hard to build on that result in their next two games?

GOT: Whilst the Boxing Day win at Burnley was extremely welcome and we did play well, it was a performance massively owed due to the poor run of results since the Anfield ‘derby’. A lot has been said about the squad being tired for the subsequent games at Brighton and at home to Leicester, and it has to be pointed out that over the four festive period games, Everton had the shortest ‘recovery’ time of any of the Premier League sides. I think certainly we the fans and maybe the team underestimated Brighton on their own pitch, they’re no pushover these days as you guys found out in the cup tie. As for the Leicester game, well the Foxes came with their counter-attacking tactics and beat us without breaking sweat. We huffed and puffed, but didn’t find anything like the cutting edge and guile to undo Evans and Maguire. And they countered as they perfected in the title-winning season using the pace and clinical finishing of Vardy.

CC: What is the verdict on Marco Silva now? Is he the manager that will bring Everton fans Silverware?

GOT: I think it’s fair to say that the jury on Marco Silva is very much out and considering. We have to stick with him as we can’t keep changing managers every season (or less), but his adoption of zonal marking is causing mayhem at the back and we’re beginning to look very easy to play against. As it happens, I’ve just published a blog article on exactly this conundrum, what was it that made us pursue Silva so hard and what the effect of ZM is having on our squad.

CC: Do you think the gap to the top six can be closed by Everton this season?

GOT: In a word, No. The gap between Everton and indeed the rest of the best of the rest and the ‘big six’ is too big this season. We have the intent, but I’m not sure we’ve yet got a fully credible plan as to how to mount a real challenge for a Champions League qualifying place. In Marcel Brands, I think we have a progressive Director of Football, but he is going to need more than one season, probably nearer three and the accompanying six transfer windows, in which rectify the deficiencies within our squad, attract the right new players and determine the style of football that he has to oversee and that the manager must coach to. To my mind, the hierarchy of a DoF determining all policies and the manager and his coaching staff then working to implement said policies is vital. You can’t have a manager working at odds or differently to the overall scheme and determination of the DoF.

Coastal Garden Buildings

CC: If Liverpool win the title will you look away or applaud them?

GOT: If Liverpool win the title, I will neither applaud nor look away. Let’s be fair, they’re a very good side and Klopp has repaired the faults they had last season. They do play some very good football, but they also enjoy an incredible amount of luck, good fortune and let’s say favourable decisions going their way. If they win it, they’ll probably deserve it because the Premier League is the toughest in Europe, but their fans and the sycophantic media will make life nauseating for all of us for years to come.

CC: Richarlison is the leading goalscorer for Everton. Do you think he needs a strike partner this January?

GOT: Yes, we definitely need a striker. Whether we can acquire one this month is a huge ask and I’m not holding my breath. But we do need to find one in the summer if we can’t this month, as Tosun and Calvert-Lewin, for all their honest endeavour and effort are simply not good enough. As for Richarlison, I’m not personally convinced that he should play as our #9. As before, I think we should give Walcott a chance in that role, but we need to do it quickly to see if it can bring out the best in him.

CC: Ademola Lookman impressed in the FA Cup - would you like to see him given some starts now? And are there any players you would like to see leave the club this window?

GOT: Lookman is probably, no definitely the single most exciting player we have that we haven’t given enough game time too. He’s quick, can play off either flank, likes to take people on and can shoot with either foot. This lad is, in my opinion, one of the players we need to be building upon for the future.I think there’s a strong case for a number of players being allowed, maybe even encouraged to go out on loan. The problem we have is we spent a lot of money acquiring so many of them that if we sell them at a big loss on their book value, it damages the balance sheet and end of year accounts. Better to loan them out, saving on the wage bill while reducing their book value as their contracts run down. As for names, I’d suggest that on top of Holgate to West Brom and Dowell to Sheffield United, we should look for loans/sales for Niasse, Tosun, Tom Davies, Calvert-Lewin and Schneiderlin.

CC: Which player has improved most this season in an Everton shirt?

GOT: The most improved this season as against last season is without doubt Michael Keane. He endured a torrid first season with an awful injury, was rushed back into the team far too quickly and subsequently lost a massive degree of confidence. This season, he looks much more like the player we thought he might be when we lashed out £25 million on him. Of the new players, Lucas Digne and Andre Gomes have quickly become fan favourites.

CC: Everton were 0-2 up against Bournemouth in the reverse fixture and came out with a draw. Do you expect a much different game this time around?

GOT: Given your recent run of poor results, heaven only knows how the game on Sunday will pan out. I might be wrong, but I don’t see you guys coming to Goodison to defend. I think Eddie Howe will sense a chance given our defensive frailties to get at our back four. Naturally, I’ve got to suggest Everton will win, and with a full week to prepare for it, I think we will but, I can see it being a very close game.

CC: How do you think Everton will line up for the game?

GOT: My team selection would be... Pickford, Digne, Zouma, Keane, Kenny, Gueye, Gomes, Sigurdsson, Lookman, Bernard and Richarlison.

CC: It's good to hear at least one Everton fan who wants to give their manager a fair crack at managing the team. It took Klopp a few years to build Liverpool into title contenders and Everton are probably coming from further back so need to give Marco Silva time. AFCB have given Eddie Howe lots of time but there are only so many clubs that can be successful and competing with teams like Everton is success for AFCB. I expect a goal-filled game, but would welcome not conceding three or more goals for a change at Goodison!

You can read more of the Grand Old Team  and Andy's own Wordpress site by clicking on the links.

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