• Nick Hamer

Everton (A) | Pre-Match Review

Everton vs Sheffield United 21/09/2019

English Premier League

Can the Phil Jagielka Derby provide a distraction from off-field issues for Sheffield United? Can Everton stop shipping goals?

Last Time Out

Everton 3 (Creswell 31 OG, Anichebe 37, Arteta 42) - 1 (Cresswell 28) Sheffield United - 16/12/2014

Carling Cup 2nd Round

After sneaking past Hartlepool in the 1st round via a penalty shootout, the Blades were handed a tough away tie at Goodison Park.

Sheffield United were still in the early stages of the Danny Wilson era and took the lead when Richard Cresswell got his foot on the end of a Stephen Quinn cross after Phil Jagielka was unable to make a clearance.

The lead didn’t last long as Cresswell was then unfortunate enough to provide the equaliser for David Moyes’ side, when a Jack Rodwell strike took a deflection off his thigh in the 31st minute.

5 minutes later, Victor Anichebe had put the home side ahead before Mikel Arteta put the tie out of sight 3 minutes before the break with a curling shot from the edge of the area.

Leighton Baines started the game and is the only player still playing for Everton with Phil Jagielka making an emotional return to United this summer.

Chelsea’s Ross Barkley also started that fixture and was replaced by Jose Baxter in the 77th minute. Who would join Sheffield United in 2013 before moving back to Merseyside in 2017 after serving a 6 month ban for failing a drugs test. The club gave him an opportunity to resurrect his career playing and training with the Under 23’s squad and has since had a spell at Oldham (the club he played for before joining the Blades). He is now playing for Plymouth Argyle.

Summer at Everton

Notable Ins: Moise Kean (£29m, Juventus), Alex Iwobi (£28m, Arsenal), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (£22.5m, Mainz), Andre Gomes (£22m, Barcelona), Fabian Delph (£8m Manchester City), Djibril Sidibe (Loan, AS Monaco), Jonas Lossi (Free, Huddersfield Town)

Notable Outs: Idrissa Gueye (£29m, Paris Saint-Germain), Ademola Lookman (£22.5m, RB Leipzig), Henry Onyekuru (£12.5m, AS Monaco), Nikola Vlasic (£12m, CSKA Moscow), James McCarthy (£3m, Crystal Palace), Antonee Robinson (£2m, Wigan), Phil Jagielka (Free, Sheffield United), Kevin Mirallas (Free, Royal Antwerp), Ashley Williams (Free, Bristol City), Brendan Galloway (Free, Luton Town), Muhamed Besic (Loan, Sheffield United), Yannick Bolasie (Loan, Sporting CP), Jonjoe Kenny (Loan, Schalke 04), Sandro Ramirez (Loan, Real Valladolid), Josh Bowler (Loan, Hull City), Matthew Pennington (Loan, Hull City), Kieran Dowell (Loan, Derby County)

The signing of Moise Kean was one of the more exciting transfers of the summer. The 19 year-old forward seems to have drawn criticism from the Gammon Community of Keys, Gray and Souness who appear to think that not signing a new contract due to lack of assurances on gametime, with only a year left to run and deciding to leave means that you have an attitude problem, when really, you just want to play football and get away from a league where they think that racial abuse from the stands isn’t a punishable offence.

I think that he could be the centre forward to help Everton eventually break the top 6, given time.

After a late-Summer period of chasing Wilfried Zaha, the club opted for the more affordable option of Alex Iwobi, a move which looks good for both Everton and Arsenal so far.The addition of Fabian Delph could be a shrewd move, the midfielder/left back has leadership qualities which could replace the ones left by Phil Jagielka.

Jean-Philippe Gbamin appears to be the long-term replacement for Idrissa Gueye, who was allowed to join the clothing label Paris-Saint Germain this summer after being denied a move in January. The Ivory Coast international appears to be more versatile than his predecessor as he can also play at centre back, if required.

Director of Football Marcel Brands, who joined the club in May 2018 comes with a strong track record of signing promising young players as shown during his time at PSV Eindhoven. Has looked to have trimmed a fairly bloated squad, many of those coming from Steve Walsh’s time at the club.

He will be remembered by most as the person who brought N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez to England during his time at Leicester City. Walsh failed to replicate the unearthing of such gems for the Toffees. Mainly signing a number of players who can play in the number 10 role.

Personally, I find the signing of Djibril Sidibe an interesting one, The right back was touted as one of the best full backs in Europe, playing alongside Benjamin Mendy when AS Monaco won the Ligue 1 title in 2017. He didn’t get his move when that great side was torn apart over the seasons that followed, but he was part of the French squad that won the World Cup in 2018, albeit as a substitute. A difficult season on the Riviera followed due to AS Monaco’s flirtation with relegation under Leonardo Jardim, Thierry Henry and Jardim again. He’ll be hoping to get his career back on track, if he can displace Seamus Coleman.

This season is a big one for their manager, Marco Silva. Who is in the 2nd year of a 3 year contract with the club. Silva seems to be a manager who divides opinion. He can be one of the most promising managers in Europe one week and a ‘fraud’ the next.

One can imagine he will have spent the summer tweaking his own playing philosophy to be better on the road. Silva has only won 9 of his 43 Premier League matches away from home.

How Have Everton Started the Season?

With a decent home record and a disappointing away record, something which has been the case for the Toffees since the days of Ronald Koeman.

A point away at Selhurst Park on the first day isn’t necessarily a bad thing, they then picked up their first win of the season at home to Silva’s former club Watford, with Bernard scoring the only goal. Considering the state that Watford were in at that point, no one would have begrudged the supporters a better performance and a more comfortable result.

A 3-2 win over Wolves in what arguably, has been one of the games of the season so far was preceded by a 2-0 away defeat at Aston Villa.

The struggles away from home continued last week with a 3-1 defeat at Bournemouth, with former Blade Dominic Calvert-Lewin getting on the scoresheet to equalise after Callum Wilson took the lead from the penalty spot. Second half goals from Fraser and Wilson meant Everton’s record away from home this season is played 3, lost 2 and drawn 1. Conceding 5 in the process.

Yes, their home form is strong but the performances so far have shown that Everton can be got at. They can be a little soft at times and are prone to mistakes.

Managers View

Marco Silva

“You come from a bad result and you have to show the reaction. I have showed that, have analysed like usual and given the right feedback to the players.

We’ll do out best again to win the match at Goodison.

The last results at home show we are very strong at home and it is something we want to repeat tomorrow.” - On last week's performance at Bournemouth

“Phil Jagielka will have the big reception he deserves until kick off and then after that we will want to win and so will he because he’s professional” - On the returning Phil Jagielka

Chris Wilder

"I would be more concerned if he was not getting in that position or shying away - if the team weren't creating - but we are and he does.

We have got a whole load of forwards who can score. Callum [Robinson] missed out on Saturday and felt he had a few issues from international duty, but he's raring to go and training well.

[Oli] Mcburnie scored in a way and he will be disappointed. But he is getting into good positions and Didzy keeps going. The general play of the team was really good and if we create that amount of chances for 75 percent of the games, we will be alright." - On David McGoldrick and the other forwards at the club.

“Phil’s been a really important part of the group, whenever we have meetings, whenever I’ve spoken to him on a one-to-one situation.

Obviously he’s not had a lot of football this year because of the form of [Chris] Basham, [John] Egan and Jack O’Connell, but he’s ready, he’s fit and is raring to go.

It was always going to be the case that if Jags wasn’t playing his input would be invaluable.” - On the returning Phil Jagielka.

Opposition Style of Play

Everton have played a 4-2-3-1 formation in every game so far this season and have done for the majority of Marco Silva’s time at the club. After the 6-2 defeat against Spurs last season, Silva switched to a back 3 which reaped rewards in their subsequent fixture, demolishing Burnley 5-1 at Turf Moor.

They played the same system in their next game away to Brighton but lost 1-0. Which signalled the end of that experiment. You would expect them to continue with Silva’s favoured formation on Saturday.

The Toffee’s have played a short passing game in these opening fixtures and all of their goals so far have come from open play. Which is surprising when you consider the delivery of Gylfi Sigurdsson. But then again Everton haven’t really played with an orthodox centre forward for some time and as such are probably hesitant to be more direct.

Despite all of this, they are a technical side with pace and the Blades may struggle with that, judging by the goals we’ve conceded to Chelsea and Southampton so far.


Everton have a decent record at home and will be wanting to make amends for last week’s performance at Bournemouth, a 2-1 home win. We’ll have to make them work for it. I hope.

Betting Picks:

Both Teams to Score at 19/20 (Bet365); Over 2.5 Goals at Evens (Bet365)

Possible XI’s:

I thought Fleck looked pretty good against Southampton. Lundstram will probably start against his old club also, as much as I'd rather see Freeman.

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