Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Marco Silva’s team can’t defend

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 21 Aug 2019

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In the last 18 months, some have accused Everton boss Marco Silva of being unable to coach defences effectively. The main accusation seemed to be that the Portuguese’s teams played attacking football, but struggled defensively.

However, the Toffees start to the Premier League campaign seems to be disproving that theory. Everton are the only team in the English top-flight yet to concede a goal.

Solid defensive record goes back to last season

The Merseysider’s defensive improvement has not started this season, but rather towards the end of the Premier League campaign. In fact, the Toffees have now kept a very credible record ten clean sheets from their last 13 matches in the English top-flight.

Only Manchester City have conceded fewer goals than the Toffees in the calendar year. It is an incredible turnaround from some of last seasons terrible defensive display early in the campaign.

It is obvious that Silva’s coaching methods finally kicked in those final few months of the Premier League season. Those displays show that the Portuguese boss is not just one dimension when it comes to his coaching methods.

Solid so far this season

We may only be two games into the season, but Everton have looked pretty solid in defence. The centre-back pairing of Michael Keane and Yerry Mina seems to be working perfectly. Keane was much-improved last season from his debut campaign on Merseyside. He became a key player to Everton’s defensive displays towards the end of last season.

Mina endured a stop-start debut campaign with the Toffees last season. Injuries and the presence of on-loan French centre-back Kurt Zouma hindered his chances of nailing down a regular starting position.

The Colombian has started the new campaign in a good fashion after a stellar Copa America with his national side. It is vital that both Mina and Keane stay fit and injury-free, as the Toffees are worryingly short of central defensive cover.

The only senior central defensive option available is Mason Holgate, with highly-rated youngster Lewis Gibson the Toffees fourth-choice centre-back. The Keane-Mina partnership is working, but they are one injury away from a defensive crisis.

At least the worries about the lack of Zouma in defence and Idrissa Gueye in the defensive midfield have proven unfounded. Mina is proving a fine alternative to Zouma, while new central midfielder Jean Philippe Gbamin looked more comfortable last time out against Watford than on his debut.

Worth of the outsiders for top six tag

Many see Everton as one of the teams that could finish in the top-six of the Premier League this season. The Toffees are currently odds of 3/1 to finish in the top-six this season.

If the Toffees forward players can hit their stride then the Merseysider’s tag of outsiders for the top-six is a worthy one. The likes of Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Moise Kean have not hot their best form yet.

The latter has made some exciting cameos from the benches. However, there are certainly signs that there is much more to come from the 19-year-old hot prospect. If Silva’s team can maintain their recent defensive solidity with the undoubted attacking talent in the squad, then they will be there or thereabouts the top-six this season.

Can Everton maintain their defensive solidity for the whole season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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