Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has issued a brutal verdict on Marco Silva’s hopes at Everton, as he feels the Portuguese is facing a must-win game against West Ham United on Saturday with the pressure mounting on his position at Goodison Park.
The Toffees have taken just seven points from the first eight games of the Premier League season, which have included defeats to last season’s Championship runners-up Sheffield United and play-off winners Aston Villa.
Only their encounter with Manchester City saw Everton play against one of last season’s top six, with defeat to Pep Guardiola’s Citizens and Burnley the following week leading to the Blues dropping inside the bottom three of the standings, and widespread speculation that Silva’s position is under threat.
Silva is thought to have met with Everton’s majority owner Farhad Moshiri following the Toffees’ bleak run of results (Telegraph), though, in which he was told he had the club’s support as they are desperate to see him succeed and deliver their long-term vision.
But the Portuguese head coach also accepts that West Ham present a must-win game for his position at Goodison Park, and Nicholas feels likewise, with Everton heading for a bottom-half finish while Saturday’s opponents have eyes further up the table.
“This is an interesting game,” the former Celtic and Arsenal striker wrote in his weekly predictions for Sky Sports. “Marco Silva is still there and has a thumbs up from owners. West Ham are a dangerous side, and I expect them to finish in the top half and Everton to finish in the bottom half.
“Their home record has been the reason Silva is still there. The Man City game was a game which was nothing to lose. This is a must-win, I think – we don’t have the authority or power to say that, but it looks like it is getting close.
“Everton fans will think they should beat West Ham, but there is a shrewdness about a Manuel Pellegrini team and they are dangerous up front with Sebastian Haller. They will agitate, frustrate and counter-attack for 20 minutes and sit in, which will cause Everton a lot of problems, especially if they don’t score.”
Everton struggled against Sheffield United when the Blades sat in to absorb the pressure offered by Silva’s men, before benefiting from a deflection off Yerry Mina shortly before half-time and later hit the Toffees on the break to secure the points.
It will be very telling of whether Everton are progressing under Silva if they can demonstrate strides being made to prevent a repeat of the Blades result against West Ham, who rank fourth in the Premier League for long balls per game when on the road with an average of 68, per WhoScored data.
The Hammers are not often penned inside their defensive third when away from the London Stadium either, with just 28% of their road games played in that area of the pitch on average compared to 45% in the middle third – the joint-fourth most.
As for Silva’s position going forward, Nicholas is not wrong in speculating that it looks like it is getting close to things being unrepairable for the Portuguese, as his record for the season will match that of Ronald Koeman when he was fired should West Ham win on Saturday.
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