This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Former Everton defender Michael Ball has backed Marco Silva to make tactical changes at Goodison Park as a good manager knows when to change his plans, with the Portuguese facing a run of games that could define the Blues’ season.
Everton entered the October international break lingering inside the bottom three of the Premier League standings, as a run of four games without a win saw the Merseyside outfit plummet down the rankings after a promising start.
The opening four fixtures of the term saw the Toffees sit sixth in the table, joint on points with fourth-placed Crystal Palace, but were the only top-flight side without a point in the following four encounters, while also conceding the third-most goals.
Scoring has been a key plight of the Toffees efforts this season, as well, with only four men so far managing to break the goal line, while Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are the only to score more than once (WhoScored).
Everton have not failed to create chances with an average 12.8 shots per game, but only 3.8 of those have been on target.
Watch Everton Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv Below
To solve the crisis developing at Goodison Park, ex-Everton left-back Ball has suggested Silva should consider a change of tack and move away from his traditionally favoured 4-2-3-1 by starting a second striker.
Silva has only used a two-up-top formation from kick-off twice since his arrival on Merseyside in 2018 (Transfermarkt), and started with a two-man strike force just once while at Watford.
If Silva is unable to orchestrate strong results in Everton’s next three games, Ball fears the implications could result in change at the helm.
Writing in his column for the Liverpool Echo, he said:
“Not many managers are going to change their philosophy, but if it’s not working, you need to find a way to get the best out of the players at your disposal. A good manager will listen to other people and tweak things.
“He might not want to do that, but if it works, everyone will give him plaudits for it. The fans are crying out for two strikers up front. Do we need to play with two deep-lying midfielders? We’ve still got time to turn the season around.
“There’s other teams around us struggling and we need to make the most of this and get on a run of wins. The next three games are crucial for Marco Silva. I’m not a fan of chopping and changing managers because I don’t think it gets you anywhere, but Silva will know this is not good enough.”
By naming a second striker from the off, Silva could open his tactics to have a more direct central attacking option, rather than one tasked purely with holding the ball up and flicking it on for an overlapping winger or down to Gylfi Sigurdsson.
No player has won more aerial duels for Everton this season than Calvert-Lewin with 6.6 successful battles per ninety minutes, per WhoScored data, but the 22-year-old has not been a consistent goal threat despite his two strikes.
Moise Kean has not been able to demonstrate himself as a lethal finisher as of yet, either, but the Italian could be offered a greater opportunity to do so if he is free to express himself.
Against Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup, the Toffees’ summer arrival from Juventus showed great power and pace to be a direct threat on the break, and narrowly missed out on opening his Blues account when his thunderous effort crashed back off the post.
Add Kean’s fast-breaking nature with Calvert-Lewin’s natural target man abilities, and Everton could create a strike force that sees the Blues move back up the table and save Silva from the threat of being fired.