Everton results improve with 4-3-3

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Richarlison of Everton celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Everton FC at St Mary's Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Richarlison of Everton celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Everton FC at St Mary's Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

As we reflect on the results Everton have achieved since the last international break, it seems no coincidence that this decent run has come as the Blues finally started playing a new system.

Formations are not everything and of course you need to adjust your approach sometimes to your circumstances. But along with many others, I have been a long time advocate of Everton playing in a 4-3-3 type system.

And I don’t think it’s a total coincidence that the Toffees results have improved, if only marginally, since Marco Silva finally began adopting a new formation and tactics.

The Blues are more solid and better balanced and such a system seems more suited to the players Everton have.

Going into the last international break, the Toffees looked in desperate trouble, on a terrible run of results and dropping alarmingly down the table with constant questions about the manager’s future.

The club didn’t move to change manager and so Everton went into the next tranche of Premier League games with a great deal of uncertainty still surrounding the manager and his team.

Silva has always indicated that he wanted to play 4-3-3, that was his preferred system. But ironically given how he seemed to persist constantly with two in the middle and a three behind the centre-forward, the manager has only started playing 4-3-3 because of injuries and poor form.

With half his midfield out injured and the ongoing problems scoring goals, Silva finally started moving towards it.

The first game after that break was at Goodison Park against West Ham. Silva stuck with his 4-2-3-1 set up although with Alex Iwobi playing between midfield and attack it was almost at times like a three in the middle.

The Blues won that match and then went to Brighton away where once again the wheels fell off as the Toffees crashed to a 3-2 defeat. In truth the intervention of VAR made a significant impact on that game with the absurd decision to award Brighton a penalty when Everton were leading 2-1.

Then came a league cup game against Watford, which the Blues eventually won after a less than perfect performance!

Through all this the team formation was evolving as Silva experimented again bringing Tom Davies in, putting Richarlison up front and with Iwobi playing as a much more mobile No 10 able to drop back into midfield, making a three.

So to the Tottenham game where Silva’s side looked more like a conventional 4-3-3. Although Everton weren’t brilliant, they did have the better of the game and I think could, (and if not for another disgraceful VAR decision), would have probably won it.

Losing Andre Gomes to that awful injury was of course another dreadful piece of bad luck. However in a way it just might turn out to a blessing in disguise. When Gomes is available, because of his quality, Silva always seems to want to play him alongside one other midfielder so meaning he doesn’t use a 4-3-3.

More from Prince Rupert's Tower

Don’t get me wrong I’d always rather have the graceful Portuguese player available. It’s just possible that his absence could end up being beneficial as it will force Silva to continue playing Davies and a combination of Fabian Delph, Morgan Schniederlin, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Iwobi.

Saturday’s match at St Mary’s, was another test. Could Everton finally slay their dragon away from home? In the end, despite a wobble at the beginning of the second half, the Toffees found a way to win and claim three vital points and a potentially crucial win for Silva’s future.

Next up after the international break Everton take on Norwich City at Goodison Park. Let’s hope the Blues can maintain their emerging decent form.