Football Features

Four early signs Marco Silva’s Everton will become a serious side

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 20:28, 30 March 2019

In a surprisingly competent display, Everton beat West Ham 0-2 at The London Stadium.

The result was Everton’s second win on the spin, and given their first win was against Chelsea, and that they recently drew 0-0 with Liverpool, there’s something going on at Goodison Park, isn’t there?

Well, potentially. We had a look at the signs that Everton’s patience with Marco Silva may end up with The Toffees becoming something of a serious side under his management.

1. The phenomenal player quality

Everton’s squad is seriously stacked. No, honestly! It’s as good as it is has since the last time they were contending (and winning) the league title back in the mid-80’s. There’s several league winners in the squad, major leagues too nothing mickey mouse.

Look at today’s opening goalscorer, for instance. Kurt Zouma was a defensive colossus for Chelsea when they won the Premier League title back in 2014/15 and today he brings that same energy and focus to Everton. And the second goalscorer Bernard has won multiple Ukrainian leagues with Shakhtar Donetsk but also claimed the 2013 Confederations Cup with Brazil and the Copa Libertadores with Atlético Mineiro; he was one a much sought-after prospect and has talent to burn.

Zouma and Michael Keane are an incredible defensive duo. Zouma is amazing (and his header was supreme) and Keane a former Manchester United prospect who is finally starting to deliver on his immense potential. There’s also the former Barcelona and Palmeiras man Yerry Mina, the World Cup wonder, who missed today from injury.

Lucas Digne is a France international who has shone for Roma and Barcelona and now Everton. Seamus Coleman is an Everton legend whilst the men screening the defence are the impeccable Idrissa Gueye (who won Ligue 1 in 2011) and André Gomes, the former Barcelona player whose skill-set is gloriously balanced and who has been running the show for The Toffees from the middle of the pitch.

There’s Richarlison who is one of the Brazil’s brightest hotshot strikers, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored a World Cup winning goal and Jordan Pickford is England’s current no. 1. This squad is humongous and it will make such a difference for Everton.

2. Their defensive organisation

Everton’s big weakness tends to be their defence. In as much as you just always expect them to concede. Remember the first Merseyside derby of the season? They handled Liverpool so well but still managed to, deep into injury time, concede a goal.

But tonight’s clean sheet makes it two in a row. Four in five games if you go back a month to include the games against Cardiff and Liverpool. Obviously André Gomes and Idrissa Gueye’s shielding of the defence played a huge part in shutting West Ham down but the fact that Everton’s defensive line-up is so solid, it gives the rest of the team confidence that they don’t have to score every single chance because the side couldn’t stop an empty paper bag floating on the breeze.

Four clean sheets in five games is no joke. If Everton become a hard nut to crack then forget about it.

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3. The big game ability

Another thing you could always expect from Everton is that they would, you know, flop against the big sides. Their talk was always about being the “the best of the best” (it still is, to be honest) and that betrayed a mentality that they didn’t consider themselves a top side, which is something you have to do if you, y’know, want to be a top side.

But Everton have fought Liverpool hard twice this season, conceding just once because of a huge goalkeeping blunder. Their recent game against the Reds was a stalwart 0-0 display where they fought hard for a point. And then the game before the international break saw them play Chelsea at Goodison Park… and win! Moreover, in all honesty, winning this easily at The London Stadium confirms Everton as a side that can handle big games and make a dent in the elite. That makes them a force that must be taken seriously.

4. The glacial creep towards consistency

Everton’s brilliant 0-0 draw with Liverpool was followed up by a laughable 3-2 loss to Newcastle where they took a huge 0-2 lead and then got ripped to bits in the last half an hour. That seemed like the same ol’ Everton. So when they beat Chelsea and then had to wait two whole weeks before playing again, and the match was away at The London Stadium where West Ham hadn’t lost at all this year… well, yeah. No one expected anything besides The Toffees hitting another sticky result.

Instead, Everton rocked up in West Ham’s back yard and beat them all around it. The Hammers were absolutely taken apart by Marco Silva’s men and the score was only 0-2 because Everton became oddly shot-shy as the game wore on. They picked up a big win with lovely goals from Kurt Zouma and Bernardo, which marked their first consecutive wins since October.

It’s taking a long time, but eventually Everton are making a very slow drift towards consistency. It’s glacial in its pace, but The Toffees are getting there. Four clean sheets in the last five games really does underline that Everton are slowly becoming something. Although the true acid test will come next week when they host Arsenal.