Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier has shared his verdict on Marco Silva’s tactics, after Everton were beaten 1-0 at Burnley thanks to a goal scored from a corner kick routine.
Defending set-pieces has been a regular plight of the Blues under the tenure of Silva, with the Toffees conceding a league-high 16 goals from dead-ball situations excluding penalties last season, per WhoScored data.
After eight games in the current campaign, things are looking uncomfortably similar for the Goodison Park natives, as Saturday’s trip to Turf Moor saw Everton once again beaten from a set-piece routine, when Jeff Hendrick fired home the only goal of the day in the 72nd minute to further punish Silva’s 10-man side.
It was the fifth goal Everton have seen hit their net this term from a free-kick or corner routine, which accounts for 38 per cent of the total strikes netted against Jordan Pickford thus far.
Losing at Burnley left Everton sat above the relegation zone come full-time, with one point all that is separating the Blues from last season’s Championship winners Norwich City, and a win for Newcastle United against Manchester United on Sunday will see that Everton end the weekend inside the bottom three.
For former Southampton star Le Tissier, the tactical shape favoured by Silva when defending corners is causing him particular concern, and leaves Everton in a worrisome position.
“This is a really worrying time for Everton,” Le Tissier stated on Sky Sports‘ Soccer Saturday (October 5, 17:29). “I have never been a fan of zonal marking. I much prefer players to take responsibility, get a man and if that man scores, you know where to point the finger.
“I’m sure there’s lots of research been done as to why people do use zonal marking, but no manner of statistics will ever back up what I felt like on a football pitch.
“It was a simple corner, which they almost got done by in the first-half. Corner to the back post, Hendrick’s right ’round the back, no one marking him, nearly scored from it the first-half, [Everton] didn’t learn from it at all, second corner [of the] second-half and this time he volleys it into the roof of the net.”
While Le Tissier points to zonal marking being the route cause of Everton’s struggles, it is a system, perhaps, favoured by many sides around the world thanks to its structured nature of handing certain players, certain responsibilities and areas they must cover should an opposing player enter them.
It can be argued that this awards the attacking team an advantage as their players can get a run on a defender, and benefit from that should they be forced into an aerial battle for possession, but with Everton’s goal conceded at Burnley, the issue was more through players not tracking Hendrick’s run, which left the Clarets midfielder with space to operate in.
Had one of Silva’s preferred defenders kept track of the 27-year-old, or intercepted the ball while in flight, they may not have left Turf Moor empty-handed and mounted more pressure on their head coach’s position.
Everton fans, is Silva the man to turn things around, or will he not be favoured a second chance for a second season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…
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