As 5 matchweeks have passed in this Premier League season already, Sean Dyche‘s Everton side continues to search for their first win in the Premier League this season. Under immense pressure to find a solution, Dyche goes to Brentford Community Stadium this Saturday looking to snatch a victory from Thomas Frank‘s Brentford side, who themselves have blown hot and cold searching for a good run of form themselves.
As we look ahead to the game, let’s find out what can each coach concentrate on to tactically get better of one other:
Everton- Keep Faith in their 4-5-1 block and in their ability to play good possession
Let me start off by saying this: Everton can sustain possession against many sides easily if they put effort into it.
Dyche’s gameplan transitioning from his mid/lowblock had some great elements against Sheffield, the ability to form combinational play shapes on the wide areas, diagonal runs from midfielders to open space in the middle and Beto, their new hitman who at his best can pin and hold any Premier League CB to lay off balls behind space. Granted Sheffield aren’t amongst the cream of the crop in the Premier League but Everton have loads of technical ability to break down sides with their 4-1 buildup, someone like Onana having some good passing range and Nathan Patterson able to keep width very well.
Speaking about their 4-5-1 block, them sticking will help them eventually. They kept smaller distances between lines, instead of forcing Arsenal to recycle, they would encourage to risk it and in this process win possession. Of course Thomas Frank’s Brentford aren’t Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal so they can find far more benefits and opportunities to hurt Brentford in transitions.
Once again the biggest takeaway would be if Everton after winning possession keep faith to recycle and progress or directly progress. Coming back to our video above again, the entire sequence came from Everton winning possession and recycling the ball instead of trying to directly go on transition.
To end it off, Dyche’s players are also good at counterpress, key being them keeping confidence that they could risk a transition or 2 but benefit if they win possession to create more chances. Once again, the Sheffield game gives a good example, Onana and Patterson put great shifts to keep Sheffield pinned, make so many opportunities.
Brentford – Thomas Frank’s Obstacles to Stable the “The Bees” Ship
Pic 2, 3: Brentford’s defensive shape vs. Bournemouth and Newcastle respectively
Brentford’s biggest obstacle is their concentration: Let me explain why – Brentford have conceded goals late in 2nd half in 3 different games this season, all 3 conceded at gamestates where Brentford are either leading or are even with the opponent.
Do note that it’s not a criticism of Thomas Frank’s defensive setup which I feel has adapted according to opponents a lot this season (against Bournemouth and Newcastle, Frank’s ability to adjust to a 5-4-1 with 2 lines of wide players or a 5-3-2 to clog more central presence did help a lot), but rather that holes are being found at critical points.
Take Pic 3 for example, it’s the opening minutes but already situations emerge where 3v2’s are able to be formed in Newcastle’s favor (I put the arrows to depict actions that were possible next) when the sync between 2nd and 3rd line is lost and bigger gaps are emerging between CB’s and wingbacks.
Perhaps the much bigger obstacle is the fact Brentford missed chances a LOT. I mean it when I say just watch the footage above and tell me how 3 chances went by where they could have scored easily. And the video ends with Brentford conceding the goal to Bournemouth with an amateur mistake. Thomas Frank’s side’s ability to rake points has largely come down to this and though they eventually scored in the 90th minute (Thank Mbeumo for that), Everton will have hope that Brentford leave spaces behind in desperation where they could aim to score against the Bees.
Pic 4: Not surprising Brentford are second on the table in most Big chances missed behind Chelsea
And to end it with some data backing it up, it’s no coincidence that Brentford lead the 23/24 season so far for Big chances missed, just 1 behind Chelsea. It’s what probably held back Brentford from being much higher in the table.
Conclusion: It’s gonna be a big night for both sets of supporters
Everton needs points on the table, doesn’t get much simpler than that. Brentford need points too in order to not get dragged into the murky waters of the relegation places. Perhaps it’s best to conclude the article with thoughts of both coaches ahead of the game:
Ahead of the game, Thomas Frank admitted similar feelings over the results: “Every game in the Premier League is so difficult. We’ve played five games, won one, with three draws. Each one of those draws we could have won but we need to get over the line.”
Sean Dyche was perhaps more calm, but assertive on the point that Everton needs to do more on the ball: “You’ve got to play with a smile on your face and the feeling of what it is to perform. We’ve shown that this season, we lost it against Arsenal. Too many players didn’t take respinsibility with the ball. That comes from a feel-good factor. When the team plays well, you have cohesion but you have to earn it.”