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Silva likely to get reprieve, for now

Circumstances and schedule might work in manager's favour

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Brighton & Hove Albion v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Here's what we know so far.

  • Everton have lost seven of their thirteen Premier League games this season.
  • Marco Silva's tenure as Everton manager is definitely on thin ice.
  • The Board met immediately in the aftermath of yesterday's debacle against Norwich City, the third loss against a newly-promoted opponent [Telegraph].
  • Silva also spoke with majority shareowner Farhad Moshiri and no decision to sack him right away was made yesterday.
  • David Moyes is apparently standing by and very interested in getting his back former role as manager, likely on an interim basis [Telegraph].
  • Moshiri made the Silva appointment well before Director of Football Marcel Brands was brought into the picture.
  • Silva is reportedly well-liked by the players and they have spoken on his behalf in the past as well.
  • Everton play three league games in seven days starting next Sunday - away at 2nd place Leicester City, away at leaders Liverpool midweek, then home against 4th place Chelsea.

As far as things we know, that is where we stand. From here on out though it’s all speculation so bear with us.

The players’ performance yesterday was so discordant and lackadaisical that we could be seeing the first signs that Silva is starting to lose the dressing room, so to speak. There were too many no-shows on the pitch for Silva’s lineup selection to get a free pass from the fans, and crucially the players themselves.

Silva’s tactics, especially when the Blues fall behind more so at home, is another area that has come under increasing scrutiny. Throwing forwards at the problem, reverting to some outlandish 2-1-4-3 formation and hoofing long balls into the box are the kind of immature moves made in Sunday Leagues, not at Premier League level.

There should almost be no doubt at this point that Silva has to go. He is out of his depth despite having more talent on his hands than we’ve seen at Finch Farm in a decade. The 42-year-old’s inability to line up a coherent side that plays to its strengths and the opponents’ weaknesses while rotating his resources remains his largest flaw and will be his ultimate undoing.

However, Silva might be very fortunate that a number of factors will be playing in his favour in the next couple of weeks that could keep him in his job, despite TalkSport posting a crew at the gates of Finch Farm today.

As has been pointed out by a number of noted football correspondents, the Blues don’t have a shortlist of long-term candidates ready to go should they decide to give Silva the sack. They would have to jump through a number of hoops at this point to poach a settled manager from another team at this juncture of the season. Logically the best move would be to get an interim in who stabilizes the tiller until the end of the season. The rest of the season is still salvageable, but would need the right man to come in for that which eliminates David Unsworth (even less tactically aware than Silva) and likely David Moyes too (abysmal at just about every stop since he left the Blues and currently completely out of football, and not in a good way either).

The other factor is the killer schedule coming up, and Silva’s somewhat decent record against the top six sides compared to past managers. The Portuguese boss does well when preparing his side to face a team that will hold possession and control the ball, as it brings out the best of his pressing & counterattacking system. However, even that has not been entirely successful for him, especially away from home where the Blues have fought gamely for most of the ninety minutes but have still managed to lose on a boneheaded error or two somewhere, usually setpieces.

Keeping Silva for the next week or two while they start their conversations with other managers could work to the Board’s benefit as well. If Everton do indeed lose their next three games to three of the top four sides in the league, the blowback from that will still fall on Silva’s feet. Bringing in a new manager and then having him lose the first three games of his tenure could be debilitating for his future and would also somehow worsen the ‘toxic atmosphere’ at Goodison that has been such an issue.

If the Board really were going to sack Silva then the time to do that was exactly two weeks ago immediately after the Southampton win - that would have given the club the international break fortnight to get in a new manager, get him familiar with the players and prepared for the gruelling upcoming holiday schedule. But once again, with the win against the Saints Silva pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes and promised yet another false dawn for this struggling once-great club.

Of course, the Blues could actually make a smart appointment that turns the team’s fortunes around in a jiffy and actually get some points in the next few games, but who really among us has the faith that the Board will ever do that?