This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Everton have underperformed this season, particularly away from home, but their fortunes could change if Marco Silva opts for a 3-5-2 formation.
There are many concerns with the Everton team currently. They look lacklustre in attack, at times lacking in ideas – as shown by their average of 3.4 shots on target per game – whilst last season’s weakness at defending set-pieces has continued this term, with three in five matches.
Added to that, there is concern over a lack of leadership in the squad. Gary Neville has pointed to a lack of faith amongst the players, and that meant the side capitulated when falling behind for the second time against Bournemouth.
“Still a fragility with them and belief issue. It frustrates me so it must frustrate Everton fans.”
– Gary Neville on Everton’s away form
In fact, Everton have never come from behind to win under Silva in the league, and that is partly due to their inability to apply pressure on the opposition for prolonged periods. Even if they do, they often fail to create an opening, as the Aston Villa match showed.
A change in approach to play with a high press has helped, and it nearly led to a goal on Sunday, so Silva should continue with it.
To make it most effective, however, he needs his attacking players to sit high up the pitch, and that would be most easily achieved by playing two up-front.
Firstly, playing two strikers would give the opposition more to think about, whilst allowing the Toffees to defend from the front, which is necessary given their recent rate of conceding.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Moise Kean have both looked out of sorts so far, with one goal between them, but the opportunity to play off one another could allow them more space in the final third and from that more chances on goal could open up.
Kean’s pace would be very effective when pressing too, with Richarlison operating just behind him in a role which would grant him the freedom to roam – and that is what gets the best out of the Brazilian, as he had chances to score from the left and the right flank against the Cherries.
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Silva has rarely played with two strikers since his arrival in England, possibly due to his concerns over the defence after conceding three goals inside 32 minutes against Manchester United whilst at Watford.
However, playing three centre-backs – which would include Mason Holgate – would provide greater protection, making the Toffees more resolute at set-pieces whilst allowing the full-backs to get forward, something they thrive upon.