When Plan A works for Marco Silva, it works really well. And this was the perfect demonstration of how Silva wants his Everton teams to setup and perform. Everton were on the front foot, pressing high where possible and creating lots of chances.
But what do the numbers tell us about this much-needed win over West Ham United?
The First 20 Minutes Remain Key
Last 7 wins have seen the Blues open the scoring within 20 minutes
One of the biggest weaknesses I’ve highlighted in Silva’s Everton is our inability to come from behind.
However, as we’ve pointed out before, when the Blues take the lead, they tend to hold out. But the key ingredient to any good Everton performance is a goal in the first 20 minutes.
Indeed, of the last seven league games Everton have won under Silva, the Blues have scored the opening goal within the first 20 minutes in every single game.
Silva’s Blues nearly always start games well, but big questions remain over what our back-up plan is if we don’t get the early reward we so desperately crave.
Shut Up Shop
Everton have lost just 2 games from winning positions under Silva
Some are quick to put Silva in the same bracket as Roberto Martinez. And while there are some similarity between the pair, there is one key area in which Silva thrives where Martinez did not: Silva knows how to manage a game when we’re in front.
Since the start of 2017/18, Everton have lost just two games from winning positions (the 2-6 drubbing by Spurs and the 2-3 collapse against Newcastle).
A record seven shots from Theo
Whenever I hear Theo Walcott’s name on the teamsheet I get so frustrated.
Barring his first few games after signing, he has been an absolute spectator whenever he’s played. He’s lacked aggression, barely touches the ball and creates virtually zero.
Against West Ham, he was outstanding.
Whether the motivation to prove a point after being out of the team has helped, I don’t know. But he was at the centre of the action yesterday driving at players. He was very unlucky not to score an absolute worldie with a volley from outside the box. He completely deserved the standing ovation he received when he was substituted on 85 minutes.
He had seven shots on goal, made two key passes and had three tackles – all of which are record numbers in a single game for Theo since 2017/18.
More. Of. This.
Are the Blues in a “False” Position?
Expected Goals stats have us 5th in the league
In football, there are some games that you deserve to lose, but win, and some you deserve to win but lose.
And, according to Premier League Expected Goals stats, the Blues should have scored five more goals than they have this season, and conceded two less. This would have resulted in the Blues picking up four more points so far, which would have put us around fifth or sixth in the league – a position which certainly wouldn’t leave Silva under pressure.
Based on Expected Goals (i.e. the likelihood of scoring based on the chances created), Everton should have picked up three points at Burnley and beaten Sheffield United and Aston Villa – although the same stats hint we got a bit lucky in wins over Watford FC and Wolverhampton.
What is clear, though, is that the Blues need to start taking their chances in games. Against West Ham, even the Blues certainly should have scored through Tom Davies in the first half and Alex Iwobi also needs to be putting the chance he had in the second half away.
Youngster had the best pass accuracy on the pitch (85%)
When a team struggles, you’ll often get people calling for changes for changes’ sake. Tom Davies was certainly a name being bandied around in such conversations in recent weeks.
And while I wasn’t desperate to see him in the team, I was perplexed as to why he wasn’t sent out on loan if he was only going to be our fifth or even sixth choice central midfielder.
The major criticism of Davies in the past has been that he is often loose in possession, giving away the ball needlessly.
However, against West Ham he kept the ball better than any player on the pitch with an 85% passing accuracy – much of which also involved forward passing through the lines that it often lacking from Morgan Schneiderlin.
This performance will surely see him rewarded with more game time in the coming weeks – and that is exactly what the 21-year-old needs over everything else.