The recipe for survival

by   |   16/03/2022  17 Comments  [Jump to last]

  1. Install a back 4 and stick to it. The back 3/5 never works. The central defenders get in each others way and no one knows what they are doing.
  2. Play Allan, Doucoure and Van de Beek in every game, if fit and ensure the 2 wide men work hard and help to protect the full-backs making the formation 4-5-1 and only 4-3-3 when we are on the ascendency. With five in midfield, it helps to protect the defence and stop the opposition from getting a grip on a game.
  3. Keep a settled formation and team, when possible. The more the players get used to playing with the same players, the more the understanding builds, the more they will look organised and the team will start to play with more fluency.
  4. Keep the tactics simple.
  5. It's now all about player character and fight than tactics. We need them to feel determined rather than scared. So it's now all about the right kind of motivation and keeping their heads and not going over the top with tackles etc.
  6. The fans must still play their part and must back the players on the park no matter what. No more songs slagging them off. That will only make a player freeze. That is helping no one at the club.

To summarise: a settled formation and team is a must. It is one of the most important fundamentals in football. If the manager doesn't recognise this, he shouldn't be in the job.

4-3-3 (or 4-5-1 depending on how you use it) should be played and stuck to.

Van de Beek, Allan and Doucouré playing in every game, if fit, is essential

5 at the back and only 2 midfielders in the team is an absolute no-no.

We must become hard to beat and winning a point in a game is better than getting beat. We need simple tactics, team spirit, character and fight now.

There are plenty of beatable teams in the Premier League. If we get organised and get a bit of confidence going, we can beat quite a few of them.


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Reader Comments (17)

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Francis McLaughlin
1 Posted 17/03/2022 at 07:56:43

Perhaps it was my youth but I just didn't see us ending up in a last match survival decider against either Wimbledon or Coventry back in the day.

I always thought several games out back then, we would undoubtedly put enough points on the board to survive and I certainly didn't expect it to come down to the final match in either season.

This time it feels different. I don't think we'll pull Leeds back and for me, it's very unlikely that one of Watford or Burnley won't overtake us in the run-in.

Maybe it was just as dark in the Wimbledon and Coventry seasons and I've just forgotten?

Jim Wilson
2 Posted 17/03/2022 at 11:18:57
I agree, Francis. It's as though the spirit and soul of the team has been ripped apart because of constant changes in recent seasons and then Benitez came along and put the final knife in.

I was hoping Lampard would settle things down but his constant changing of formations has not helped us, and I desperately wanted us to sign a midfield ball winner in the January window who would also act as a leader.

We must get the team organised, keep it tight and get some kind of fluency and pattern of play going, but there isn't much time left. Being ready for the away games at Watford and Burnley is crucial.

And we need some luck!

Ajay Gopal
3 Posted 17/03/2022 at 11:49:10

I agree with everything you say, we need to keep things simple and stable. I don't care if we become more boring than Allardyce's team in 2016-17. At least we ground out a few results including a negative 0-0 draw with Liverpool if memory serves me right.

Having said that, right now what we need is goals – fast! We have not scored in the last 4 Premier League games against decent but not great opposition (Man City apart). We have one of Brazil's main forwards, Calvert-Lewin who until recently was touted as Kane's back-up, Gray, Alli and Van de Beek, who contributed so many goals and assists in that excellent Ajax side.

So, we just need to somehow start finding the back of the net – otherwise it puts enormous pressure on the defence, which is really unfair. I have said this on previous threads, the key to our survival this season will be the ability of our forwards to start firing again.

Yes, our defence is leaky, but we need to get a grip of the midfield and start creating and putting away our chances.

Jim Wilson
4 Posted 17/03/2022 at 16:12:22
I agree Ajay. Richarlison is top-drawer but has hardly scored for us. I think it's all to do with the fact that there has been change after change and that has caused the lack of fluency and creativity.

We have been unlucky with injuries and that makes it all the more important to keep changes to a minimum. The cycle we are in of back 5 then back 4 then back 5 etc, has caused enormous damage to the team in my opinion.

We did well against City and Leeds with the back 4 so that tells me stick with that, with Van de Beek, Doucoure and Allan in the middle.

Kieran Kinsella
5 Posted 17/03/2022 at 16:17:12

I'll partially disagree with you. I did think the 98 team would be in a last day battler and having watched that lousy performance I am still baffled as to how we survived. But, despite "bigger name" players, this team is far worse than that.

Tony Everan
6 Posted 17/03/2022 at 16:44:27
Jim, Well said, exactly as I see the situation and solution too.

“Keep a settled formation and team, when possible. The more the players get used to playing with the same players, the more the understanding builds, the more they will look organised and the team will start to play with more fluency.”

Also, this gives players a ‘responsibility’ for their position and their contribution to the team, which can improve a players mentality and motivation.

I think we will be fine if Frank sees things this way, we can get confidence and build a fairly resilient team to finish the season, but as we know it’s not guaranteed is it.

And Ajay, yes, some goals would be a bonus.

Robert Tressell
7 Posted 17/03/2022 at 16:51:35
Jim, completely agree with this.

The weird thing is, it's what Benitez did at the start of the season to good effect.

Injuries made life hard, but both Benitez and Lampard have overcomplicated things for a group of players that lacked confidence and rhythm anyway. The result is confusion and confidence totally shot in some cases.

The 433 / 451 variant puts the most amount of square pegs in round holes. It's not rocket science either as most of the players have played this way regularly for us and other clubs.

If we do this and get some luck, we will stay up.

Jim Wilson
8 Posted 18/03/2022 at 10:33:43
Kieran, Tony and Robert - I completely agree with everything said.

And just to compound things Van De Beek is now ill and Allan facing a suspension. You couldn't make it up!

So it's now up to Lampard to come up with something for the midfield and reverting back to a back 5 is definitely not the answer for me.

A great result last night but there is a long long way to go.


Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
9 Posted 18/03/2022 at 12:54:12
TBF we have been dealt a bad hand this year

1. Manager walks out just before the season starts
2. Main creative midfielder banned for the season
3. Main striker injured after 3 games
4. Stubborn owner appoints a toxic manager
5. FFP came back to bite us, last summer of all summers.

After the dark days of the 90s - I thought this was all behind us. It may have been turgid in the mid noughties, but it is times like this when the Moyes years were so much easier on the nerves.

Heard a rumour that Megafon is to be replaced as sponsor by British Heart Foundation. An organisation that has been dealing with Everton supporters for the last 20 years. 😉

Michael Kenrick
10 Posted 18/03/2022 at 15:35:46
Just a pedantic point on my part, perhaps, Phil, but our main creative midfielder was not banned for the season by some malicious external force.

Our beloved club, in their infinite wisdom, took the unilateral action to suspend him... on the basis of what exactly? We have no idea.

And now, fully 8 months later, we still have no idea because he has not been charged with any crime. But guilty by accusation, apparently. Utterly shameful self-inflicted detriment to our season.

Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 18/03/2022 at 15:58:40
Michael (10), a very good point about our main creative midfielder being suspended by the club without any reasons for the suspension and we are still possibly paying his wages, we all know there is a criminal charge hanging over his head but nobody knows the full circumstances of the alleged crime, the only thing that might have happened was could he have handled the crowds reactions both home, if he was having one of his off days, and more especially the away crowds, we’ll never know unfortunately.
Kieran Kinsella
12 Posted 18/03/2022 at 17:16:17

Following up on Michael’s point. We weren’t really dealt a “bad” hand on point 4 and 5 either. Mosh, Kenwright and co knew our income when they spent beyond our means and knew the FFP rules so that was self induced. Likewise Rafa wasn’t forced upon us, the club decided to hire him. And you could even argue Carlo left because he knew we were screwed by FFP so we were never going to bring in the reinforcements he said we needed last summer. DCL Being injured was bad luck but again yiu mitigate that risk by spending wisely and not buying Tosun, or the whole Moise Kean fiasco. So essentially, all of our problems were self induced.

Lyndon Lloyd
13 Posted 18/03/2022 at 17:39:27
The club will never be able to win with some but they had no real option but to suspend him given the allegations against him. And without knowing the full extent of his legal jeopardy, none of us can really fault Everton for the decision they took.

The word is that his association with EFC is already over due to not being able to fulfil his contractual obligations so we can all just move on.

Jerome Shields
14 Posted 19/03/2022 at 09:28:51
Everton IMO may scrape through and there may be similar Newcastle type games at Goodison that may put them through. Getting the rub of the green, with moments of individual brilliance getting them a goal.

But some players are very inconsistent and not good when pressurised. Frank's tactics are wishy washy and can be completely wrong in some games. His attempt against Wolves to play defensive was half baked. A kind of structure with open play going forward. The fact he played two in midfield said it all. Against Spurs the high line was naive.

Jim if only Frank would follow your structure the rest of your ideas would fall into place. But Frank has been consistent in playing a open attacking football, with high pressing in ones and twos. Under him when Everton get possession players fan out leaving them vunerable to counterattack. There are too many gaps between lines and attempts at a high line defending are poor. No evidence of structure, organisation, or knowledge of the pace of the players involved.

I fully expect a rollcoaster ride till the end of the season, with hopefully better individual defensive play and individual brilliance being rewarded. Frank tactically is a unknown.

Tony Everan
15 Posted 20/03/2022 at 18:07:52
Jim, I don’t think Frank has read or adopted the sound advice in this thread. Maybe he’ll eventually work it out for himself.
David Currie
16 Posted 22/03/2022 at 02:50:04
Play a back four of Holgate and Godfrey as full-backs and Keane and Mina when fit as centre-backs. They did well together last season.
Sean Roe
17 Posted 22/03/2022 at 05:31:01
Lampard needs to stop distancing himself from the performances every time we lose and start sorting out an already abysmal defence that has become substantially worse since he took over.

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