Some will say that pre-season games mean very little to football teams. However, some pre-season campaigns just highlight the team’s deficiencies perfectly. Take for example, Everton.
The Toffees have been poor defensively since the beginning of last season. This was a factor in former boss Sam Allardyce playing such defensive football. He knew the defence had to sit deep if they were to avoid conceding sheds full of goals.
Defenders do not suit Silva’s style
New boss Marco Silva does not do sitting deep. His teams press high up the pitch in an attempt at winning the ball back. Unfortunately, as seemingly everybody apart from the men in positions of power at Everton know, the Toffees defenders cannot play that way.
The fact that the Toffees have conceded seven goals in two pre-season games against Blackburn and Rennes from France has really hammered the message home for Silva. The Portuguese boss needs more defensive options.
Not good enough
Quite simply the centre-backs at Everton are not good enough. They cannot play Silva’s way. In fact, they struggle to play any style of football. In the last two pre-season games, the Merseysiders have been horribly exposed whichever pair has played at centre-back.
Phil Jagielka has been an excellent servant to the club, but the former England international will be 36 in a couple of weeks and is starting to show his age. However, he is not the worst defender at the club.
Welsh international Ashley Williams produced some terrible displays last season. His short cameos in pre-season have been any different. There is a feeling amongst Evertonian’s that he should be released.
Former Burnley centre-back Michael Keane is maybe the biggest disappointment. The 25-year-old arrived on Merseyside for a big fee last summer. Since then his performances have been poor, to say the least. At least Williams and Jagielka have the excuse of getting older for their poor performances. Keane should be at the peak of his powers at his age. Instead, he looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights every time he takes to the pitch.
Youngster Mason Holgate has produced some decent displays for the Toffees in the past. However, he is still learning and has played a limited role in pre-season. At the moment he looks the best bet of any of the Toffees centre-backs at the minute.
Brands needs to be busy
Silva stated earlier this summer that he believed the team needed 5-6 new players. He has one new signing in Richarlison, but the man responsible for signing players director of football Marcel Brands needs to be busy in the next few weeks.
Time is running out for the Toffees to sign the players they need to strengthen their team. A deal for Barcelona left-back Lucas Digne seems all but done, while the Merseysiders are also attempting to tie-up a deal for teammate Yerry Mina, who starred at centre-back for Colombia at the World Cup. However, Manchester United are now reportedly interested in the former Palmeiras star.
Those two signings are not enough to improve the defence significantly. Brands and co may need to look to sign another centre-back, as the defensive situation at Everton has been shocking since the start of last season, with Allardyce’s anti-football the only time the Toffees defence looked secured.
The situation is massively concerning for Everton fans, who seem to be the victims of false dawns far too often. Hopefully, for the long-suffering Toffees, they can bring in the necessary players to avoid another wasted season.
How many players will Everton sign before the transfer window shuts?