Everton play their first game in over two weeks on Tuesday when they travel to Cardiff, and Marco Silva should attempt to replicate his former club’s performance against the Bluebirds.
When Silva swapped Vicarage Road for Goodison Park, Everton fans were certain he had made the right decision, but the manager has come under intense scrutiny recently.
The Toffees have lost five of their last six games in all competitions, and the only win in that period was a 1-0 victory over last-placed Huddersfield.
A trip to the Cardiff City stadium to take on the Bluebirds represents a chance to get back on track though after Watford pummelled the Welsh outfit 5-1 on Friday night, and Silva should take a page out of Javi Gracia’s book and deploy a 4-2-2-2 formation on Tuesday night.
Watford set up with a pretty traditional back four on Friday night, but Gracia switched things up in midfield, pushing his wide players further forward and more central.
By doing this, the Hornets were able to create situations where the attacking players outnumbered Cardiff’s back three, something Troy Deeney and ex-Toffee Gerard Deulofeu took full advantage of, scoring all five goals between them.
Silva and Everton have the players to replicate this strategy if Cardiff continue with a back three, and the pace, skill and guile of both Ademola Lookman and Bernard make them perfect for those advanced positions in midfield.
At the base of midfield, a combination of any two of Andre Gomes, Idrissa Gueye and Tom Davies should be more than capable of fulfilling the roles that Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure carried out on Friday night.
The biggest beneficiary of this system could be Richarlison, who has lost his way a little bit during the Toffees’ poor run of form.
The 21 year-old has bagged ten Premier League goals this season, but has cut an increasingly isolated and frustrated figure recently, particularly when deployed up front on his own.
Putting him in the Deulofeu role, with a traditional target man like Cenk Tosun carrying out Deeney’s duties, would allow him much more space to get on the ball and work his magic.
It may hurt Silva’s pride, but the man who replaced him at Vicarage Road dropped a master-class in Wales on Friday night and he would be a fool not to try and emulate it.