Magic Eighth?

Jack Garrett 13/05/2019 18comments  |  Jump to last

Amidst the euphoria of celebrating Man City’s win (I’m only joking, sort of), I was delighted to see us secure 8th position. Neutrals would consider the difference between 8th and 9th to be negligible, and no Evertonian would ever aim for 8th from the outset. However, in the context of this being Silva’s first season, I always felt it was very important – psychologically – not to finish lower than Allardyce the season before.

Admittedly I’ve not been to the game as often as I would have liked this season but I remained unconvinced about the ‘better style’ I was hearing we were playing with. What’s the point of a better style if you’re getting knocked out of the cup by Millwall or finishing in the bottom half (as was looking likely at the midway point)?

Only the best is good enough. But, at the beginning of the season, I was of the opinion that, at the very least, only better would be good enough for our new man. I’m pleased that we’ve found a better style, and now I’m pleased that we’ve secured no worse a position and a better points tally than the previous season. There’s now a foundation for further improvement in place. From what has been a far from perfect season, it’s certainly worth celebrating that we found some form at the end... and that something seems to be stirring.

That said, I was a fully signed-up member of the ‘Silva Out' club not so long ago and I do think it’s important to look closely at his failures:


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In my opinion, the cons column reads something like this:

  • Failure to win the league
  • Failure to win (or come close to) any trophy
  • Failure to finish top four
  • Failure to finish top six
  • Failure to finish higher than last season and subsequently qualify for Europe
  • Failure to win a derby match
  • Failure to win away from home against any of the top six

Without a doubt, if the upturn in form hadn’t have happened, sacking him was fully justified based on this list alone. NSNO!

However, the pros list now reads like this:

  • A more attractive team
  • A far healthier atmosphere generated at Goodison Park
  • Impressive first seasons for the majority of new signings
  • 8th position (crucially no worse than the previous season)
  • More points won

So... progress is tangible. And this season’s standings now have to serve as the barometer for determining whether next season is a success. Good on Silva. He has earned the right to carry on.

When the season gets underway in August, our target must be to win the Premier League. However, the minimum requirement (only better is good enough) must be European qualification – either confidently in the Premier League (hence breaking into the top six), or by staying 7th/8th but winning one of the cups. And, on that note, anyone who has heard Seamus Coleman’s interview on the All Together Now Podcast would surely agree with him that winning a piece of silverware is the preferred route into Europe! God knows, we’re a club who need a trophy.

Play it again, Marco!

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Reader Comments (18)

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David Ellis
1 Posted 14/05/2019 at 02:59:26
I agree with the statement that its important that we finished at least as high as last season...but really only so that it would shut down some of the "Silva out" arguments which were far too premature. Almost every manager (including Klopp, Ferguson and Guardiola, and also Moyes in his second season at Everton) have dips in form and dodgy periods, especially early on... simply bringing in another manager every time this happens is foolish.

The list of "cons" in the OP is not a ground for sacking anyone – they simply reflect where we are as a club. Achieving any of these things (i.e. finish 6th or above or winning a cup) is above par, or, in the case of winning one random match against Liverpool or away against the other members of the top 6, not really indicative of overall progress.

What matters more is style of play, potential of the playing staff, and above all momentum of the club. We have a decent style and definitely finished the season with momentum. A total sea change from the end of last season.

I was worried that Silva was untested in the Premier League and also dodgy defensively. Both concerns have now been laid to rest. The existing players have improved; the signings since Brands came in have been excellent. Onwards and upwards. We need a top 7th next season to show progress and get back into Europe.

Alan J Thompson
2 Posted 14/05/2019 at 05:39:43
A couple of points. How is that better style and foundation for improvement going to look if we don't get Zouma and Gomes on a more permanent basis? Start again and hope for another eighth and more foundation? And if that is a sign of improving then what might we expect next serason from the likes of Wolves, in particular, or Leicester, Watford or West Ham who all seem to be in the same boat as us, i.e improved performances under recently appointed managers.

I don't want to knock optimism but reality would seem to rest, as it has been, on recruitment which may depend on lowering the wage bill. On field performance might have improved but any further improvement might depend on off field performance.

Jim Bennings
3 Posted 14/05/2019 at 07:52:04
I’m not satisfied with 8th at all but to be honest nor would I have been 7th.

I want the very best for Everton and every single summer we shouldn’t always have those ambitions and not just stand still.

Ever since the late 80’s we seemed to shift the mentality from challenging for the title to then just acceptance that we were just another team, it went from 1st to 2nd, from 4th to 9th and then eventually relegation battles in the 1990’s, that was all the result of a change in the clubs psyche, the people at the club lost that ambition and hunger to win.

This is still haunting the club today and it’s down to Marco Silva, Marcel Brands and Farhad Moshiri to drag the clubs mentality into this century and make Everton what Tottenham are, if not winning things then at least challenging for the trophies and competing at the top end.

To finish 8th this season with a better style is ok yes, but to have the same finish next season and still have won no Cups, no derby win ect then it will feel no further down the line.

We need every season from now on to be one that sees progression.

David Pearl
4 Posted 14/05/2019 at 10:38:31
Well Jim you could say that the European Ban knocked the stuffing out of us and we have never recovered. We should of sued the RS for loss of earnings. A 5 year ban. Just for the English teams?! What was the true cost to us as a club? Were is the justice for the 85 and 87.

The eastern European and Italian sides should all be getting bans for the rasict chanting and fighting they consistently get away with. Instead they'll get a €6000 fine. Me and my mum sat next to German ulttas when we played against the Italian side Atalanta last season. There is trouble throughout Europe during all football games and I have no idea how they are allowed to get away with it. Look at the warnings to travelling fans for our game with Split. Disgusting.

So yes 1st to 17th and 4th and 13th and 8th, and now... well we have Moshiri. BK did what he said he would do and found a billionaire. We tried to nick the Leicester mojo but ended up with Walsh, Alardyce, kopite Sam, Shakespeare, jobs for the boys. Finally he has realised you cant do that. Now we have Brands, we have better players and l hope that if we do lose or fail to retain the loanees that we can replace them with better ones. As long as we don't make more than 4 changes to the starting 11 we should be able to continue the form we've shown... and try to win the league

Lenny Kingman
5 Posted 14/05/2019 at 12:38:12
David #4

I thoroughly concur with your opening paragraph.

Hopefully there will be another con in the file of Klopp of the Kop in a few weeks time.

Come on you Spurs.

Jon Withey
6 Posted 14/05/2019 at 13:56:50
I don't see a lot of cons - when it is Silva vs Allardyce anyway.

It's been good to see us compete with top six teams on our home turf again.

We've been erratic for sure but there are clear signs of improvement so Silva should get more time.

It's difficult to separate him from Brands at the moment - but it takes both of them doing a decent job for progress. I'm liking the Portuguese/Brazil influx of players because they have an edge to their game.

Steve Ferns
7 Posted 14/05/2019 at 14:00:28
Pros should read like this:

- More Points
- More wins
- Less defeats
- Wins against top 6
- More goals scored
- more goals scored against top 6
- less goals conceded
- less goals conceded against top 6
- positive and better goal difference (massive 22 goal swing)
- more attacking football (shots on target etc)

There's also a 33 point list on the Echo website where the only improvement that did not happen is that we drew less games than last season.

Now next season we need to focus on the 65 point barrier. This was a marker Moyes only hit once in his 11 year tenure, one Koeman was short of, and one Martinez surpassed once. Utd got 66 this season, and so if we can get past it, we would be in the race for the top 6. It's only 4 more wins, and I am sure we could all look back at 4 games of the course of last season that we should have won, and so it's a marker that's not unreasonable nor unrealistic.

Dennis Stevens
8 Posted 14/05/2019 at 14:18:22
Hear! Hear! Steve. In the same way that the top 4 became a top 6 as City & Spurs elbowed their way in, we need to do likewise by elvbowing our way into that group regularly & thereby turning it into a top seven, leaving the other to compete for "best of the rest".

Incidentally, I note that performing as well as we have this seasonwould have acheived 7th place last season. So, whilst I think we've definitely improved, our competition for success has improved as well. However, running to stand still isn't enough - we must make real progress.

Steve Ferns
9 Posted 14/05/2019 at 14:26:51
Yes Dennis, I think that mid-table is much stronger this season than last. For example, Newcastle got 44 points last season and finished a respectable 10th. This season they got one more, 45, and ended up down in 13th.

More importantly Wolves and Leicester look to have good young squads, money to spend, and decent managers (did I really say that about Brenda?). I believe that they will also push on next season and maybe it's not just us joining the "Big 6" as much as us all pulling a couple more down the table and seeing someone like Man Utd struggling in 9th. West Ham also have a decent squad and could not ruled out.

Jack Garrett
10 Posted 14/05/2019 at 17:37:30
I probably didn't quite make the point I wanted to: in a nutshell, I was trying to map out my logical thought process: I'm really pleased that Silva has salvaged something from the season - even happier if there's a list of 33 improvements - and now it feels like we are on a path and there's something to buy-in to.

Whilst I wouldn't advocate sacking him if he doesn't win the league or finish top four next season, I do think it would be fair to get rid if he finished 8th again: only BETTER is good enough each year.

I love the idea of aiming for a specific points target each year - an extra 5 or 6 each year would seem fair (until we get to the number required to win the league: 98!)
Simon Dalzell
12 Posted 16/05/2019 at 18:21:09
Well said, Jack. It's just a shame that some people have no tact and come across as almost arrogant in their replies. They could add to what you correctly stated. No! They tell you what you should have said!!
Tony Hill
13 Posted 16/05/2019 at 19:29:47
We should have done better, we have better players. The crap mid-season was a major test (what if we'd lost to Cardiff?) but he's come through it and I think he's the right man.

The main thing is that he has had us playing some lovely stuff and we're going to be doing much more of that. I also expect we'll buy well in the summer. There's a sort of calmness about us.

Very promising times.

Jay Harris
14 Posted 16/05/2019 at 19:50:43
If you take the point we should have got at Anfield and the 3 we should have got at Newcastle plus the disgraceful performance at Fulham. Those games alone we see us a solid 7th.

Add to that Jags disgraceful sending off that cost us 2 points and correct our Winter collapse and you can see us in 6th.

My only concern is it looks like Zouma wont be with us next season.

John Pierce
15 Posted 16/05/2019 at 20:42:41
Minimum is always 7th given our resources and that most years it carries European qualification. So I'm underwhelmed, especially since the gap to both 7th was one game and the jump to 6th not unrealistic.

The biggest issue for me was the depth of the dip we had. Whilst all managers endure poor spells, the very best, regardless of any mitigation you want to entertain, find a way to curtail the spin and keep eking out points.

Silva didn't and only after the ironic enforced break of 17 days due to our scandalous FA Cup exit did Silva find a solution. He didn't need a full solution just a way to stem the bleed and that worries me. In particular with we all know our squad depth is shallow. He failed when the games came thick and fast running several players into the ground. He didn't rest players and target games to maximize points. The home games v Newcastle, Watford and Huddersfield stand out.

Besting Allardyce is no achievement, and if that's the bar you want to set then all but Allardyce himself would fail to stumble over it. So it's no surprise we are 'better' than last year.

If we are to get near 4th, then Everton cannot go more than a game or so without getting back to winning ways.

Can Silva do this? That's the question and one which leaves me still doubtful we have the right guy.

Karl Masters
16 Posted 19/05/2019 at 19:35:16
Goal difference swing from -14 to +8, a 22 goal swing which is a very good indication that things are improving.

If City are kicked out of CL for financial irregularities, everything shifts a place downwards and 8th puts us in Europe League.

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 19/05/2019 at 19:49:00
Some good points JP, and I’d love to know what Silva was thinking during the months of December and January.

Did he not trust too many of his squad? Did he underestimate how much stress the Xmas period can put on a team? Or did he just stop getting through to his players?

They say you learn more in defeat, so I’d say the biggest game of our season was the one we threw away at Newcastle, but it’s still very early days, with regards to Everton being on the road to real recovery?

Jay Harris
18 Posted 19/05/2019 at 20:08:29
If you take our average attendance and wage bill we should be about 7th or 8th.
This reflects the years of stagnation under BK and the lack of a ground move.

I have begun to believe we are turning things around and will see significant improvement over the next couple of years.

Ron Sear
19 Posted 21/05/2019 at 20:20:39
According to one websites table we should have been seventh, who says money doesn't buy you your position?

Ranking of Premier League Clubs on the Market Value of Their 2018/19 Squads
1. Manchester City - £953.55m
2. Liverpool - £801.9m
3. Chelsea - £787.28m
4. Manchester United - £769.5m
5. Tottenham - £751.05m
6. Arsenal - £498.6m
7. Everton - £389.70m

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