Days going into this game, the air around Goodison Park was tense as the toffees supporters were vary of the looming relegation fight fears once again. That Luton defeat at home last week didn’t help Sean Dyche’s already precarious position, which has been uncertain since the beginning of the season.
A similar situation was unfolding on the Bournemouth coast, where Andoni Iraola, despite his success with Rayo last season, was increasingly facing criticism for not producing results and lifting Bournemouth out of the bottom three in the league standings.
However, it was Sean Dyche who emerged victorious in Saturday’s game, and it would be intriguing to analyze this match from Dyche’s perspective to understand the strategies that led to the 3-0 victory.
The Lineups: Calvert Lewin kept his place as Beto dropped to the bench, and Harrison-Mcneil started out wide.
While it was widely anticipated that Sean Dyche could start Beto and Calvert Lewin together, he stuck to his guns and named the same lineup that lost to Luton last week while Andoni Iraola went with almost a similar lineup that we saw against Arsenal, with Dango Outtara and Smith the only changes coming in for Kluivert and Max Aarons.
The 4-5-1 shape for Everton was one that Dyche has been keen to get the best of as it provided the ideal platform to play his football: 2 sets of wide men on both flanks with Mcneil-Harrison and Young-Mykolenko, 3 midfielders with Garner-Doucoure and Onana and a big man up front with Calvert Lewin.
Everton’s Ideas in and out of Possession: What areas did Dyche want to target and Protect
Pics 2, 3, 4, 5: Everton’s ideas in possession and their settled and transitive defensive structure
By virtue of what the 4-5-1 shape could offer Dyche tactically, it is fair enough to guess that he mainly wanted to generate numerical situations in the wide areas to create space in the center where likely aerial targets such as Calvert-Lewin and Doucoure would wait at.
Let’s take Pic 2 for example: Here we see James Garner drifting wide to help out Mcneil who carries the ball inside as Mykolenko makes the overlap. This affords the advantage of making 3v2 situations in the wide pockets. Given Doucoure’s movements in and around the box, it managed to create separations in the Everton backline, especially between their fullback and centreback.
This is emphasized further in Pic 3, where Bournemouth in a 4-4-2 would exclusively have to stretch as when Fullbacks (Mykolenko or Young) make overlapping runs for Mcneil or Harrison who would carry the ball inside while midfielders Garner and Onana work hard to create space.
Out of Possession though, Pic 4 would symbolize the fact what Iraola had in mind: Target Young’s lack of pace and larger physical play to tilt Everton to protect that right flank, and hence take advantage this could create in the middle for 4 man box midfield to make inroads. But despite this, you had to credit the work of Onana and Young himself to ensure they could keep Dango Ouattara or a drifting Solanke off their pace with some tenacious work in the middle.
Pic 5 symbolizes the buildup phase of Everton, and it was indeed refreshing to see Dyche use Pickford more in the buildup and help the fullbacks to spread or draw Bournemouth’s press, this way it was easy for Garner or Onana to escape cover shadows, aiding in better buildup than use Pickford for the sake of punting the ball long alone.
A) Everton’s Press: The interesting patterns
Vid 1: Everton’s pressing yielded their 1st goal of the game
Everton’s pressing against Bournemouth was one of the most noteworthy aspects of the game. Bournemouth’s buildup with a 4-1/4-2 structure meant Everton had the opportunity to press from the 4-4-2 shape.
Let’s look at the video above for example: Doucoure and Calvert Lewin close direct passing lanes to the 6 (in this case Philip Billing who dropped down as Cook and Christie pushed forward for Brighton). Everton’s pressing trigger was every back pass to the CB from FB and the subsequent passes where all lanes are closed using a man-to-man orientation.
Once that is done, it’s easier to either force long or make Bournemouth play a riskier pass inside. The Latter was what led to Garner’s goal as we see in the video as Everton were 1-0 up within the opening 1o minutes.
Vid 2: Another Instance of Everton’s press against Bournemouth
Perhaps the 2nd video above summarizes the fact that Iraola’s plan with a 4-1 buildup, keeping the 2 other midfielders Cook and Christie high played right into the hands of Everton, whose 4-4-2 pressing shape yielded the numerical advantage needed to choke Bournemouth in their own half.
Once again the “wide traps” were effective as Everton triggered the press in an impressive way for each backpass, forcing Bournemouth to cycle around the pitch or hit a hopeless long ball only for Everton’s more aerially adept players could handle easily.
B) Everton in Possession: Usage of 3rd man combinations, wide channel runs from the 6/8’s
Vid 3: Everton in possession shifting the ball and progressing
Everton’s brilliance against Bournemouth just didn’t come down to some nice pressing triggers. On the ball, Dyche showed some great principles, able to use a 4-2-3-1 shape that had Doucoure operate right behind Calvert Lewin as the 10, and emphasized on usage of 3rd man combinations between winger-midfielder and fullbacks to catch Bournemouth off guard.
In the video above we can see how Jack Harrison would often drop deep dragging the fullback out of position for the midfielder Onana to run into the space. In order to rightly receive the ball, some good 3rd man combinations between Young-Harrsion and Onana were seen.
With Docoure patrolling zone 14 (the central zone outside the box), in the video we see how Onana plays the ball onto Doucoure who can then access the best options with Calvert Lewin occupying the CB’s with his physical play.
With the onset of the international break, this no doubt gives Everton fans much-needed relief and for Sean Dyche, this represents a sort of point from where he could aim to take the club forward and aim to go as high as possible in the table. From Iraola’s perspective, as those whispers of the Open Sevilla job grow compounded with Bournemouth’s form, it will be a very interesting track to follow to see if the Basque coach takes a different path in the early days of this Bournemouth Project.