Leading Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas questioned Marco Silva’s use of Morgan Schneiderlin and Fabian Delph in a midfield partnership at home to Sheffield United, after the Blades beat Everton on Saturday.
Silva called on Schneiderlin to partner Delph as his holding midfield duo against Chris Wilder’s Premier League new boys after Andre Gomes was deemed unfit to play, as the Portuguese midfielder continues his recovery from the rib injury (Liverpool Echo) which prevented him from featuring at AFC Bournemouth.
The Toffees may not have needed the Frenchman’s defensive presence, however, as they dominated for large periods of the Blades’ trip to Goodison Park (BBC) and mounted sizeable pressure on their guest’s goal.
Wilder’s Bramall Lane natives withstood the challenge presented by Silva’s side, and maintained their unbeaten away record in the Premier League this season, after the ball deflected off Yerry Mina and a late Lys Mousset strike decided the result.
Schneiderlin’s game was neither here nor there, either, as the 29-year-old offered no key passes within his 32 balls to teammates, and saw his sole effort on Dean Henderson’s net sail wide of the goal frame (WhoScored) before being taken off in the 55th minute.
For Nicholas, Silva should have looked elsewhere for his starting midfielder than to rely on Schneiderlin, and told Soccer Saturday (September 21, 17:31) following the Blues’ defeat: “They didn’t really play that way, [and] this is why I’m not working out what Everton’s balance is.
“Delph was the holding one, Schneiderlin played slightly further forward, and then [Gylfi] Sigurdsson plays in a slightly more advanced role, and you get the three and you just get the balance right, they don’t have that.
“It’s like one’s deep, and then the one of the left – Schneiderlin’s on the left – he’s ten yards further forward [than Delph]. Sigurdsson’s allowed to float on the right side, further forward, and then you’ve got a front three and you’re trying to work it out. And the lad who was the best one, for me, was Bernard, and they took him off.”
If Silva had envisaged one of his two holding midfielders offering a creative and offensive threat rather than to focus on defending against Sheffield United, as appeared to be the case on Saturday, then questions must be raised why he overlooked Tom Davies once again.
The England U21 international returned to the Toffees’ bench at Bournemouth after missing out on a spot against Wolves (TransferMarkt), but like on the south coast never made it out of the dugout, and continues to be without an outing since the opening weekend draw at Crystal Palace.
Instead, he watched on as Silva rotated his side’s shape to have Sigurdsson partner Delph in behind Alex Iwobi – a shape the Portuguese head coach could have favoured from the off, if he wanted to be truly aggressive in a bid to inject positivity following the defeat at Bournemouth.
Everton fans, could you see any reason in Silva starting Schneiderlin against Sheffield United? Let us know in the comments below…
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