6 August 2022

Much has been made of the way Frank Lampard wants his teams, and this Everton team, to play.  Lampard has spoken about the need to be pragmatic and get results at the end of last season. He has also recently said that a transition to how he wants his team to play will be gradual. And he has said he isn’t fixed in playing one formation – but that it is the principles that will remain the same regardless of what system they play.

This is my early assessment of how Lampard’s Everton are shaping up (noting I am no tactics expert, just an Everton fan with a keen interest in this side of the game).

In possession, Everton play a 3-2-5 shape, with the wing backs pushing high on the outside of the front 3. Playing with 5 attackers in possession is fairly common. Steve Holland explains some of the benefits in this video.

Article continues below video content

One key feature of Everton in this shape in possession is that they look to make the pitch big and create space. The right- and left-sided centre-backs split very wide – this will look to stretch the opposition and give Everton more opportunity to build their play through midfield. In terms of personnel, having centre-backs who are comfortable in full-back positions (Godfrey, Holgate, Mykolenko) makes sense. Having players good at receiving the ball on the half-turn and playing progressive passes in central midfield is also helpful here (Iwobi and possibly to a lesser extent, Doucouré).

The other key feature I noticed of Everton’s in-possession tactics is the two Number 10s (initially Gray and McNeil – both very definitely not playing as orthodox wingers), drop into the ‘half-space’ to pick up possession. This is coordinated with the wingbacks making the opposite movement to stretch the opponent’s defence – allowing Everton to play into their most technical players in dangerous spaces in front of opposition defences, or look to play in the wingbacks behind the defence. This gives opposition defenders hesitation as to which run to track – see the point in the video linked above.

Out of possession, Everton play a 5-2-2-1 shape (sometimes looking like a 5-2-3, sometimes like a 5-4-1). Whilst in possession, Everton look to make the pitch big, out of possession, they look to condense it. In this game (against a system with two central midfielders), Gordon would sit in between Kante and Jorginho when Chelsea’s centre-backs were in possession. Gray and McNeil were either side of the central midfielders, also blocking passing lanes into Chelsea’s Number 10s – this set-up is designed to prevent Chelsea from building through the midfield.

When Chelsea moved the ball wide, Everton would often quickly press this pass to attempt to turnover possession. Iwobi and Doucouré also step forward to put further pressure on the two central midfielders and hem the opposition in. This was also a tactic when Everton sometimes played long passes forward from Pickford – Iwobi and Doucouré clearly push forward to ensure there is pressure on the second ball and a good chance of regaining possession high up the pitch.

It will be interesting to see how this Everton side develops and how playing against different teams, new signings or changes to the formation alter how Lampard looks to play. For now, it looks like there are some promising signs but it will take time for a new way of playing to become natural to the team. Let’s hope we pick up some good results in the meantime!

Reader Comments (3)

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Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
1 Posted 13/08/2022 at 09:11:43
Good stuff, Graham.

Sorry, we seem to have lost the link to the Steve Holland video?

Jerome Shields
2 Posted 13/08/2022 at 09:47:01
The main changes in the transfer window are to reduce errors, which wreck any system. Holgate is a weak point in your back trio in this regard, though he is suited to the role you advise.

As you say, Graham, there is a big emphasis in midfield both defending and attacking. The priority for change has been in defence and midfield. It will be interesting to see what Frank's plans are for forward positions, which he has been forced into earlier than Premier League Profit and Sustainability rules were allowing. Badly needs a pivotal player in attack. Rondon in your attacking tactics may do okay.

Speak to a Chelsea Fan and he thinks the Broja loan is still a possibility because he expects a forward to arrive in.

Graham Holliday
3 Posted 16/08/2022 at 10:49:59
Not sure what happened there Michael - the link to the Steve Holland video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3sAWHFZXoc

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