Everton are joint top of the Premier League in a very unwanted category - goals conceded from setpieces.
The number currently stands at 10, and after the Blues conceded three more of that variety at Championship bottom-feeders Millwall to crash out of the FA Cup and effectively end the 2018-19 season, Marco Silva must make at least one change.
The Blues haven’t covered themselves with glory in defending setpieces over the last couple of years, but this season has been a new low especially because of Silva’s zonal marking system.
Director of Football Marcel Brands has done an excellent job in recruiting some behemoths to add to the presence of Michael Keane in the backline, it’s time for Silva to trust the bigger players and switch to a man-marking system on setpieces.
The book is out on how to destroy Everton’s zonal marking system - rely on either shorter setpieces and the ball headed on into the path of onrushing players, or else go long, and drive the ball back across the face of the goal.
In both situations the Everton defence is invariably caught flatfooted resulting in situations like earlier today with two or three Millwall players unmarked in front of Jordan Pickford, or else mismatches like Lucas Digne trying to mark the other team’s centerforward.
And for having all those giants on the pitch, the Blues still don’t reap any of those advantages on the other end of the pitch when attacking either.
The zonal marking system might work for other (better?) teams, but it's quite clear that either Silva is not coaching it well, or the players he has simply don't get it. Either way, it needs to be changed. Six months into the season and the Blues are as shambolic at defending set pieces as at the beginning of the year.
This season might be a lost cause and Silva may save his job for now with the Board by asking for more time to get his own players and build a system, but unless he completely gets rid of the zonal marking at setpieces, Farhad Moshiri might find his hand forced in removing Silva sooner than later.