Can Everton turn their season around vs Manchester City?

Vineet Kumar
By Vineet Kumar
10 Min Read

Everton – one of the most decorated clubs in English football have had a torrid season so far, to say the least. Having won just 6 fixtures out of a possible 23, the blue half of Merseyside finds itself lingering in 15th position, just 5 points off the relegation places. A team which not so long ago had aspirations of breaking into the European places is now involved in a relegation scrap. A stadium that was renowned for its electric atmosphere has been silenced by the home team’s depressing performances over the course of the season.

With Rafa Benitez now sacked & Frank Lampard at the helm, the sun seems to be rising again over Goodison Park and it looks like a good time to punt on Everton if you fancy an advantageous Football betting and odds, is the way to go.

Everton welcome Guardiola’s rampant Man City side on Matchday 27 in a highly anticipated clash. Frank Lampard will be looking to build on his side’s impressive victory over Leeds & stun the Champions at home. The Goodison faithful will be hoping for a monumental effort to achieve a seemingly impossible task of beating the CITYZENS, a fixture that could possibly shape the future of Lampard and his boys. Today we will be focusing on what went wrong for Everton & how the club have addressed some of the major issues.

How did the Toffees end up here?

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Bad recruitment, owners accused of neglecting the fanbase & illogical managerial appointments. It’s safe to say that Everton’s problems have been long in the making & they have only themselves to blame. Things started to unravel for the Toffees when Carlo Ancelotti decided to leave the club & rejoin Real Madrid in the summer of 2021. The departure of Ancelotti proved to have catastrophic consequences for Everton in a number of ways. Ancelotti had guided the team to a top-half finish in the previous season and brought in quality signings like Allan, Doucoure & most notably, James Rodriguez in the summer of 2020. The 3 players went on to form a formidable midfield trio that was probably the best midfield Everton had had since the days of Arteta & Fellaini under David Moyes. When Carlo was asked about his long-term future with the club, he remarkably described Everton as a “family club” & vowed to stick around till the club shifted to a new stadium. As is now evident, that wasn’t meant to be. And so, after the departure of the Italian stalwart, the club found themselves in a precarious position, looking for their 5th manager in as many years.

After interviewing almost every single interested managerial candidate, the club made the unlikeliest of appointments in the form of Rafa Benitez. A Liverpool legend, adored by the red half of Merseyside was now going to manage their arch-rivals, just a few kilometres away from Anfield, a Cathedral of Football where Benitez was once worshipped. Never in a million years had anyone thought of such a drastic transition, a fact which even the most hardcore Evertonians found hard to digest. As soon as the appointment was made, the Everton fans swiftly expressed their disapproval of the move. As soon as the season kicked off, it was clear that this appointment was destined to fail.

Everton were known to play an expansive brand of football under Ancelotti which is probably why the fans disapproved of Benitez’ pragmatic style of play. The chants of “BORING” and “FAT SPANISH WAITER” at Goodison made it fairly evident that the departure of Rafa Benitez would be inevitable, and so it happened. This appointment & the consequent sacking of Rafa Benitez showed the footballing world the disconnect that exists between the fans & the ownership. Appointing a manager who had been away from the European scene for a long time, coupled with the fact that he was the manager of your cut-throat rivals was a mistake right from the get go. If the manager doesn’t have the confidence of the fanbase, then his destiny is already sealed.

But the problem does not only lie with the manager. More often than not, the team depended on individual brilliance from the likes of Demari Gray, Anthony Gordon or Andros Townsend to provide them with that cutting edge in front of goal. Defensively, they were all over the place. The likes of Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate & Michael Keane were massively underperforming & defensive discipline was lacking, something that rarely happens to a Benitez side. Everton lacked creativity in midfield & ironically their star creator (James Rodriguez) was frozen out from the first-team setup. Lucas Digne, another star performer in an abysmal Everton side was frozen out by Benitez after a training ground bust-up. Such a lack of cohesion in the squad created a hostile atmosphere around the club & ultimately caused the Spaniard’s departure.

The impact of Frank Lampard

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Having turned down the Norwich job previously, Lampard always had an eye for the Goodison hot seat. A young manager who believes in promoting youth & playing a high-intensity brand of football was just what the Everton faithful were crying out for. Taking the game by the throat, asserting your authority & dominating games, is the Lampard style of playing football & Everton have the personnel to deliver this. Lampard has switched the team’s tactical setup to a 4-4-2 system. The strike partnership of Calvert-Lewin & Richarlison seems to have clicked well with both the forwards setting the tone nicely up top. Gordon & Iwobi have been tasked with providing pace on the wings while attacking & dropping to form a 4 in midfield while defending alongside Allan & the Manchester United loanee Donny Van de Beek. In defence, Kenny & Coleman have been tasked with bobbing up & down the flanks with Keane & Holgate as the central defensive partnership.

The Everton first XI is a youthful one, filled with runners who’ll run themselves into the ground for the sake of their team. Lampard’s young Toffees are already showing signs of improvements, especially in their drubbing of Leeds last week. Quick, crisp passing coupled with heavy pressing against a well-drilled Leeds side showed the league that the Toffees mean business, and so does Frank Lampard. Frank has uplifted the mood around Goodison with the fans serenading their BOSS with the chants of “Super Franky Lampard” during their win against Leeds United. But the question remains, Can this team possibly challenge the Champions?

Do they stand a chance?

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Manchester City are a tough nut to crack. Their monopoly over the football when in possession & don’t let the opposition off the hook. Everton have had a leaky defence all season & it might prove to be difficult for them to shut out a relentless City attack, but it’s certainly not impossible. The likes of Donny & Allen are going to be crucial for the Toffees as they’ll be essential for ensuring a quick transition between defence & attack. Richarlison & Calvert Lewin will be essential with their runs in behind a City defence who usually play with a very high line. Everton’s slender hope in this fixture will possibly be on the counter & other than their 2 forwards, Gordon & Iwobi will have to provide defensive cover on the wings while also acting as outlets on the counter-attack, whipping in crosses into the box.

Frank Lampard has had a mixed beginning to life at Everton & this is by far his biggest test so far. Guardiola’s men will be looking to keep possession, tire the opposition & silence the Goodison faithful, something which the Toffees need to prevent. Pressing Man City is easier said than done but going toe to toe with them is certainly possible. A few crunching tackles in the opening minutes will get the crowd going & Everton might just dare to believe that the City bandwagon can be possibly derailed!!

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