Everton

Silva restores Everton edge after Big Sam negativity

 • by Matt Gault
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In May, Sam Allardyce was relieved of his duties as Everton manager.

Toffees fans were delighted. Following Ronald Koeman’s dismissal, Allardyce was drafted in by Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri to guide the club away from relegation.

He left Goodison Park with his reputation as a ‘firefighter’ intact. But that was it. Although he led the club to eighth – an impressive result considering the wreckage of Koeman’s final days – the alarming lack of ambition in Everton’s style of play left fans crying for another change in management.

In Silva, who had been the first choice to succeed Koeman, they got their man. Admittedly, the Silva era has not been without its bumps. After 12 games, Everton are ninth, with five wins, four draws and three defeats, reflecting a mixed bag of the good, the bad and the ugly.

However, despite a few frustrating results, there is a feeling that the club have confidence in Silva. Unlike his maligned predecessor, the Portuguese coach appears to have instilled a much more attractive brand of football; bold, daring and adventurous.

With a clutch of new signings still getting to grips with the Premier League, there is renewed confidence that results will improve and Silva will propel Everton back up knocking on the top-six.

Silva’s high-pressing style of football has been a hit. This season, Everton have won possession in the attacking third 77 times, more than any other side. Second in that category are Manchester City with 55. Considering Pep Guardiola’s revered tactical teachings that involve around winning the ball back, Silva’s influence on this Everton side has been significant.

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Indeed, Cenk Tosun (11), Gylfi Sigurdßon (10) and Richarlison (10) have won possession high up the pitch a combined 31 times. All three players rank inside the top-six with teammates Theo Walcott (8) and Bernard (8) also inside the top-20.

Comparing it to Everton under Allardyce does not reflect well on the England manager. Under Silva, the Merseyside club have won the ball in the attacking third 6.41 per 90 minutes, up from 3.79 during Allardyce’s reign.

They are also turning possession over in midfield more effectively (up to 25.75 per 90 from 23.87) while, considering how deep the Toffees back-line became under ‘Big Sam,’ it comes as no surprise that they were winning possession in defence more last season.

This term, Everton are also creating more chances, scoring more goals from open play and are enjoying longer spells in possession, all indicators of how they have been a more enterprising unit under the former Watford boss.

Much like Silva’s Watford, Everton are a proactive, hard-pressing unit. Their fixtures over the next month include trips to Liverpool and Manchester City before hosting Tottenham Hotspur. They will almost certainly be up against it in those games but, rest assured, Silva’s Everton won’t be nearly as passive.

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