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Barnsley 0-3 Everton – A Tactical Deconstruction



My Background (copied from my Everton v Norwich analysis)

Not another Footy Manager-obsessed, Bielsa-fanatic, football tactics hipster reeling off buzz words like ‘double pivote’ and ‘catennacio’ again, I hear you cry? No, certainly not. Football has often been made far too clever for its own good by these types of blog sites.

I hold a UEFA B Licence and currently work as a full-time football coach for an English Premier League club; I also have six years’ experience as a first team manager in the Welsh Leagues.

I have been a member of this site for many years, but under a different username. I will continue to use that to voice my opinions, etc but will use this account to (hopefully!) provide an insight into the game without too much opinion.


In relative terms, we are still early on in the pre-season schedule and this was our first ‘real’ match after the behind-closed-doors workout game in Austria. From scanning the videos and photographs uploaded onto the official social media accounts, it seemed as though there had been a heavy emphasis on fitness training (as many expected).

One of the other videos was from a basic “crossing and shooting” drill; rest assured, although this is beneficial in practising these techniques, this was almost certainly used as a “rest” exercise after a fitness session, given the large amount of rest time for each player waiting their turn to either cross or finish.

In terms of new faces, the only ‘in’ has been Stekelenburg, so Koeman is perhaps still assessing his squad before committing big money to key positions. It is clear where players are needed, but I would imagine that the delay is either to do with contractual negotiations on those that he has made his mind on, or how much money to allocate to particular positions (i.e. is centre midfield in more need than centre back, etc.)

Team Selection

Koeman opted for a youthful looking starting eleven with the only real surprise of Deulofeu playing as the lone striker.



Everton started the match with a standard 4-2-3-1 formation. Robles in goal, whilst Tom Davies continued at RB, Baines at LB. The young pairing of Holgate & Galloway played at CB, with Gibson and Besic as two holding midfielders in front of them. Dowell played as number ten, with Mirallas on the left, Lennon on the right and the surprise choice of Deulofeu up front.

Tactical Approach and Main Differences From Martinez’ Everton

Martinez Approach (copied from my Everton v Norwich analysis)

Under Martinez, Everton played (and very rarely deviated from) the 4-2-3-1 formation. He would use playmakers rather than wingers in the wide positions; these playmakers would take up central positions to receive short passes from deep, as his side looked to build play slowly up the pitch “in between the lines.”

Team Shape

There wasn’t much difference in the team shape today; however, the personnel choices in wide areas was, I’m sure, a relief to most Evertonians. Koeman decided on two wingers playing in the wide areas and played with real width. There was also regular interchanging of positions between the “front four” both in and out of possession.

Without the Ball

Similar to the Norwich match under Unsworth, the initial instruction was clear; when we lose the ball, press high up the pitch to win it back straight away. If we don’t win it back, get back into formation. The wingers’ defensive duties were to track the opposition full backs and “double up” with their own full back in wide areas.

It was also interesting to see how we pressed the opposition backline with the striker and four immediately behind him, thus just leaving one of the two ‘holding’ midfielders back to cover.

High Press.jpg

Another feature of this “high-press” saw our full backs push forward and “lock on” to the opposition wingers. The coaching point here is to give yourself a few yards off the winger and only go to close whilst the ball is travelling to him. This is to prevent you from leaving your position too much and being done by the channel ball in behind you. Your objective then is to either ‘nick it’ ahead of their winger or force him to play backwards. Coleman was excellent at the stealing of possession in these situations when he came on.

High Press: Show Inside.jpg

Again, as with the Unsworth match, it was refreshing to see that our team had clearly been given instructions and responsibilities on shape without the ball. Our wingers always tried to show the opposition full backs ‘inside’ rather than down the line, as that is where we had numbers to steal possession high up the pitch.

With the Ball

When in possession of the ball, the following was notable:

1. Goal Kicks

As with the Martinez era, the centre backs were instructed to “split” and one midfielder dropped in between the two to receive the ball and play forward.

CB Split 1st Half.jpg

This was the same in the second half with different personnel.

CB Split 2nd Half.jpg

However, one important difference here (and as alluded to by Koeman in his post-match interview) was what the full back did with the ball when he received it (see point 2 below).

2. The Channel Ball

On a number of occasions, particularly on the right hand side, we got the ball to the full back (Tom Davies) who then played it long down the channel for Deulofeu to run onto.

Channel Ball 1.jpg

It should also be noted that Lennon’s movement was excellent in this phase; by moving infield, he drags his marker with him, allowing for the creation of this space. This was hugely effective in bypassing the opposition press.

Channel Ball 2.jpg

There was then a clear instruction given to the opposite winger (Mirallas) and Dowell to get into the box and attack the ball.

Channel Ball 2, Mirallas Arriving.jpg

We nearly scored twice from this in the opening 12 minutes (firstly, Lennon then Mirallas).

3. Number Ten Receiving “On the Turn” and Playing Forward Quickly

In the first half, our holding midfielders looked to feed Dowell, who would take a minimal amount of touches before releasing Deulofeu on the channel side of the centre back. Under Martinez, the number ten was often used as a “wall” to bounce the ball back off to the centre-mids as we built slowly.

Chances Created

Many of our chances were created from cutting the ball back from the byline, but as previously mentioned, the main outlets were always the ball into the channel from deep or into the number ten to play the striker in early.

1-0: Mirallas free kick. No analysis required.

2-0: This came from Deulofeu getting “channel side” of his centre back and an excellent through ball. A calm finish beneath the keeper.

3-0: Barkley picking the ball up in the pocket. Very positive play, as he turned his marker and unleashed a rocket.

Chances Conceded

We actually conceded a lot of chances during this match and I am certain that Koeman will have been unhappy with aspects of our defending.

1. In-Swinging Crosses from Deep, Hitting the Back Post

We really struggled to deal with this in the first half with both full backs losing their runners and also the centre backs being caught underneath the ball.

2. Short Corners

I was shocked at how poorly we defended the short option. Numbers-wise, we brought everybody back to defend the corners. The coaching point on opposition taking a short corner is to send TWO defenders; one to engage the man, the other to support in case of a pass or first man being beaten by the dribble. We conceded a clear cut chance from this in the first half then no more than five minutes later, fell for the same trick again. We were far too slow to react to the short ball.


As mentioned, as with last season, we looked very susceptible to crosses. I would liked to have seen our full backs and wingers get slightly closer to the crossers to prevent them from delivering with quality, but it was the aerial ability of our centre backs and goalkeeper that concerned me most, particularly in the first half. This was a huge thorn in our side last season and I am sure Koeman will be addressing this in the coming weeks. Incidentally, we looked better when Funes Mori came on and it should be remembered that our centre backs were too youngsters in the first half.

Barnsley enjoyed their best spell of the match during the first half from the 30th minute to the 45th minute. The opposition were “ahead” of us in terms of matches played so far in pre-season and also, our players are no doubt still adapting to the high-press of Koeman’s play, so I am sure our fitness had a lot to do with us dropping off in the way that we did.


A comfortable and enjoyable win with plenty of positives to take for our new manager. We also have an achievable “to-do” list in terms of improving, particularly given Koeman’s playing background. It would be hugely surprising if the defensive issues are not addressed during training this week.

Despite his finishing letting him down on a few occasions, Deulofeu’s performance was a highlight and he showed that he is more than capable of playing “on the shoulder” in the striker’s position. Mirallas also looked a changed man, whilst Davies again looked comfortable out of position at right back.

We now eagerly await the next match; hopefully with an injection of new talent and with aerial defensive deficiencies addressed.

The post Barnsley 0-3 Everton – A Tactical Deconstruction appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Barnsley 0-3 Everton



Mirallas, Deulofeu and Barkley all score in a 3-0 pre-season victory over Barnsley.

Kevin Mirallis scores evertons 1st from a free Kick @ToffeeTVEFC @ReadEverton @grandoldteam

— Nowso (@Nowso2) July 23, 2016

Deulofeu's goal v Barnsley. #EFC @gerardeulofeu

— Everton Pictures (@evertonfcpics) July 23, 2016

Barkley's goal v Barnsley. #EFC @RBarkley20

— Everton Pictures (@evertonfcpics) July 23, 2016

Match report to follow.

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Reports: Everton want Sigurdsson



Ronald Koeman is lining up a £25 million bid for Gylfi Sigurdsson according to the Telegraph.

Apparently Everton will make a substantial offer for the Iceland international who the report claims has been a target for both Koeman and new Director of Football Steve Walsh at their former clubs.

The Swansea midfielder had an impressive Euro 2016, helping Iceland reach the quarter-finals in their first major tournament and Swansea are now facing a challenge to keep the 26-year-old at the Liberty Stadium.

Everton line up a £25 million bid for Gylfi Sigurdsson

— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) July 22, 2016

#SwanseaCity #swans ​Swansea City transfer gossip: Gylfi Sigurdsson could be subject…

— Swansea City Fans (@SwanseaNewsOnly) July 22, 2016

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Leicester fans react to Walsh to Everton



We’ve had a nose over on Leicester City’s Foxes Talk to see what their fans make of Everton’s appointment of Steve Walsh as Director of Football.

MattP: ‘Absolutely gutted, a bigger loss than any player could have been for us, wish him well and Everton are about to see some serious talent arriving. Thanks Steve, we couldn’t have done this amazing thing without you’.

Lcfc_lass10: ‘I respect him a lot. However, it does feel like a kick in the teeth’.

Freeman’s Wharfer: ‘Find it harder to stomach this one than the Kante one. One never really wanted to be at the club and was only really here because his agent had pushed him in our direction, the other signed a new contract just two months ago. Shows that any contract in football isn’t worth the paper it’s written on (non-playing staff included). For players people usually give the “it’s a short career” stuff to justify the lack of loyalty to the club/contract they themselves signed but in this case it doesn’t apply. Leaves a bit of a sour taste’.

Goober: ‘Everton bring in Steve Walsh while Liverpool spend £25m on Wijnaldum lol ?. Can see Everton doing some big things over the next few years now. Massive shame but good luck to Walshy, did an incredible job for us’.

Kingfox: ‘Gutted, but too good of an opportunity to turn down. Think his statement says it all, he knows the club well and his brother used to play for them, plus he wants to be closer to home. Another kick in the teeth but we move forward’.

EnglishOxide: ‘Good luck to him. He did so much for us and has left us in a great position. We will get over it sooner than we think IMO, just like Kante’.

what?: ‘Place your bets for the 17/18 champions then. Absolutely gutted to see him go but it couldn’t diminish everything he’s done for the club. All the best to him, I hope he does well there’.

davieg: ‘Looks like the lure of the north west was the main factor, near his home town and family I doubt money even came into it.’

sylofox: ‘Thanks for everything Steve. Just a shame you could not see our storey through. Not sure why you jumped off of a perfectly good ship but hey ho.’

Solthewall Bamba: ‘Gutted. We should do a Hull when NP came back here, flat out refuse to do any business with Everton in terms of transfers.’

Steve_Walsh5: ‘As good as Walsh has been with us, will it be as easy for him at Everton with where their new owner wants to be. I’m sure Everton and their fans think they will start making a load of signings and start competing for the premiership now. But at Leicester expectations were different and the players we signed were allowed to come in and have a settling in period, Vardy first season very inconsistent, Mahrez the same in our first season in the premiership, Kante yes was outstanding. Will Everton be patient enough or will they want instant successes?’

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Confirmed: Everton appoint Steve Walsh as Director of Football



Everton have confirmed the appointment of Steve Walsh as Director of Football.

Leicester initially rejected Everton’s approach for Walsh, but Walsh made it clear he wanted to speak to Everton officials to set the move in motion.

Walsh has played a huge part in Leicester’s recent history, credited with the scouting of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kanté.

Formerly joint Assistant Manager and Head of Recruitment at Premier League champions Leicester City, he will take up his new role with immediate effect.

His strong reputation has been forged over many years, working as a part-time scout for Bury, Chester and for 16 years for Chelsea in the north of England while holding down a day job as Head of Physical Education at successive comprehensive schools in Chorley, his home town.

He was elevated to a full-time role at Stamford Bridge as European Scout before being persuaded to join Newcastle and subsequently becoming a key member of Nigel Pearson’s staff at Leicester City and Hull City prior to returning to Leicester in 2011. Following Pearson’s departure, he remained as Claudio Ranieri’s joint Assistant Manager and Head of Recruitment in the Foxes’ first title-winning season in their 132-year history.

During his career, he has been credited with scouting and recommending the signings of such players as Gianfranco Zola, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante.

Chairman Bill Kenwright said: “It’s great news to welcome Steve to our new era at Everton Football Club. His track record, particularly at Leicester City, is already the stuff of football folklore, and both myself and Farhad, having spent time with Steve, are convinced he is exactly the right fit for our Club and our new manager, Ronald Koeman.”

Steve Walsh said: “I’m proud and privileged to become Director of Football at such a fantastic and historic club. With a new manager and a new major shareholder, it feels very much like a new era here at Everton and that potential is what is most exciting. I know the Club well, my roots are in the north west and my brother, Mickey, was an Everton player in the Bob Latchford era and always proud of that fact. I also did my initial teacher training at Liverpool Hope University many years ago. I’m genuinely excited to be here at the Club and very much looking forward to getting down to work.”

Manager Ronald Koeman said: “It’s really good for the Club to have someone in Steve who has shown his quality in his job at a number of clubs over many years. That’s the experience and quality he will bring to us at a good time in the season. He has a great deal of knowledge about building for the long-term and the magnificent work he did at Leicester on top of the job he did at Chelsea makes us excited to have him here at Everton.”

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£35m Moussa Sissoko?



Everton are competing with Juventus to sign Moussa Sissoko, according to the guardian.

Juventus and Everton prepared to meet @NUFC 's £35m valuation of Moussa Sissoko. Juventus once Pogba to @ManUtd is done. Story to follow.

— Andy Hunter (@AHunterGuardian) July 21, 2016

Sissoko has made no secret of his desire to leave Newcastle this summer in the wake of their relegation from the Premier League and he said earlier this week that his priority would be to stay in the Premier League.

A number of clubs at home and abroad have been linked with the midfielder, including Liverpool and Arsenal but it’s Everton and Juventus who are now reported to be ready to firm up their interest in Sissoko.

The post £35m Moussa Sissoko? appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Liverpool Mayor “blown away” by Moshiri



Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has never been “never been more optimistic” about Everton’s future and admits to having been “blown away” by Farhad Moshiri and claims the scope of his ambition is vast.

The Mayor of Liverpool spent time with Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright at their London office on Tuesday and he told the Liverpool Echo, he was hugely impressed with the Iranian-born billionaire.

He said: “From that meeting as both the Mayor of Liverpool and an Evertonian I was absolutely filled with more optimism than ever and a sense the future is very bright for the club.

“I was blown away by his passion and commitment.

“Mr Moshiri understands how much investment Everton require both on and off the pitch. The scope of his ambition is vast.

“Make no mistake about it – he is here to make Everton a success story. His vision is not just about new players and a new stadium it’s fundamentally transforming the club at every level. He wants to make Everton a global player but also realises the importance of its role in the community and this city.

“Likewise he mentioned the importance of the academy and nurturing local players as we have always done so well. The future is bright.

“It’s clear he is not just here for the short-term. It’s about securing the club’s future.”

On the subject of Everton’s new stadium – Anderson said: “Farhad and Bill Kenwright are looking at all options, which you would expect them to.

“They will have my support and I’ll help in every way I can.

“I’ll do whatever I can to help them make the Dock work or prepare an alternative which means the club has a world class new home.”

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New Feature: GrandOldTeam on WhatsApp



GrandOldTeam is now on WhatsApp!

If you use the popular mobile messaging app WhatsApp, you can now opt in to receive messages from GrandOldTeam.

To begin receiving our messages on WhatsApp, simply follow the instruction on the below;

If you can’t see the above widget – follow the below 2 steps;

1. Create a new contact for our number +49 1579 2353917.
2. Send “Start” to this contact via WhatsApp.

And you’ll be all set. COYB!

More ways to connect…


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Reports: Everton complete signing of Walsh



The Telegraph is this evening reporting that ‘Everton have made a statement of intent after raiding Premier League champions Leicester City for their head of recruitment, Steve Walsh’.

The report follows earlier reports from Sky Sports which claimed ‘Everton have agreed a deal in principle with Leicester City to take head of recruitment Steve Walsh and make him their new director of football’

Walsh is expected to be confirmed as Everton’s new director of football on Wednesday after Everton agreed to pay about £2  million in compensation to land the highly regarded recruitment chief, who also doubled up as Leicester’s assistant manager.

Leicester initially rejected Everton’s approach for Walsh, but Walsh made it clear he wanted to speak to Everton officials to set the move in motion.

Walsh has played a huge part in Leicester’s recent history, credited with the scouting of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kanté.

The post Reports: Everton complete signing of Walsh appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Liverpool Mayor: “New Everton stadium in 2 yrs is achievable”



Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson has met with Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright and reaffirmed his belief that Everton may have a new stadium within 2 years.

In May, Anderson told BBC Radio Merseyside: “I’m confident the new stadium will be up and running in three years time.”

This afternoon, the Liverpool mayor has tweeted a picture of himself with Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright, with accompanying text: “Great meeting with Farhad. Still believe a new stadium in 2 yrs is achievable. #COYB”

Great meeting with Farhad. Still believe a new stadium in 2 yrs is achievable. #COYB ?????

— Joe Anderson (@joe4metromayor) July 19, 2016

What do you reckon? Get involved in the debate in our forum.

The post Liverpool Mayor: “New Everton stadium in 2 yrs is achievable” appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Everton’s 2016/17 Season Ticket Sales – Update



On the 2nd June, Everton were celebrating.

Celebrating “record-breaking Season Ticket and strong hospitality sales with almost 31,000 seats already sold for the 2016/17 campaign” – equating to having sold eight out of every ten seats at Goodison Park for the season ahead.

As of today, Everton have sold over 32,000 Season Tickets, including a record breaking number of Hospitality memberships. Everton’s highest ever total at this stage of the Club’s sales campaign – with four weeks still to go before the new Premier League season kicks off.

These numbers are almost 15% up on this time last year and an incredible 23% up on the Club’s five-year average. The number of new Season Ticket holders (supporters who have never held a Season Ticket prior to the 2016/17 season) and returning Season Ticket holders (supporters who have previously held a Season Ticket but not in 2015/16) has increased by 54% over the same period.

Every single ticket for the Park End, Family Enclosure & Paddock is already totally sold out for home games at Goodison Park.

Soon to be a familiar sight?

A bold new pricing stricture, the Farhad Moshiri and Ronald Koeman factor and an excellent marketing and commercial campaign have no doubt all contributed significantly to record-breaking season ticket sales.

Impressive. Without surprise, Everton’s Chief Executive Robert Elstone was quick to highlight just how impressive this all is, particularly after a season that fell “well below” expectations: “We’ve never shied from demanding targets at Everton, evidenced most recently by our unchartered aim to secure 30,000 Season Ticket holders.

“Challenging ourselves to pre-sell 75% of the stadium and smash all recent sales records following a season that fell well below expectations, particularly at Goodison Park, was certainly ambitious, but we’ve done it.

“We set really keen prices, we continued to win hearts and minds and build loyalty, our marketing campaign was informed and our Fan Centre was accessible, helpful and professional. By voting with their feet, our fans have acknowledged the great value for money that a memorable day at Goodison delivers”.

sales of Kids and Junior Season Tickets are almost 25% up on this time last season.

Sales of Kids and Junior Season Tickets are almost 25% up on this time last season.

Despite the overwhelming positives – the downside of course, is the prospect of reduced accessibility. If you don’t have a season ticket, or Foreverton membership – you’re going to really struggle to get a ticket.

A study earlier in the month displayed the total number of season ticket sales as below;


Given Everton now have 32,000+ season tickets and if we consider Everton ‘sold out’ vs Manchester United with a capacity of 39,553, and Liverpool with a capacity of 39,598 – there isn’t a great amount of tickets left when you factor in away allocation and partner tickets…

It’s led to some concerns that Everton’s decision to allocate so much of Goodison Park’s capacity to season tickets will restrict access to fans that are unable to be a season ticket holder.

Ricky Martin commented in our forum: “I was introduced to football on the “dad and lad” going to the odd few games a season – there’s no way my family could have afforded a season ticket for the both of us. It wasn’t a realistic option. Plenty of times in the 90’s we walked up on the day when my dad had found a bit of spare money lying about. I hope there aren’t similar boys and girls in similar predicaments who end up disappointed and never capture the excitement and buzz of walking up the steps and seeing the pitch”.

Everton have been quick to acknowledge that tickets for the season ahead will be limited…

… And are encouraging fans to buy a Foreverton membership;

Securing a Foreverton membership will provide the best chance for non-Season Ticket holders to secure their seat to watch Ronald Koeman’s team in action at Goodison Park and on the road.

Foreverton members will have the opportunity to take advantage of priority ticket access, with supporters given three to five days to purchase their tickets for home league games before general sale commences. A new benefit for the 2016/17 season will also offer members priority access to purchase Cup tickets, for both home and away ties, and tickets for Everton’s away Premier League fixtures before they go on general sale.

Additional new benefits include the opportunity to be added to the Season Ticket waiting list for the 2017/18 campaign and to have the opportunity to access any unrenewed Season Ticket seats ahead of general release.

Members will also benefit from free entry to Everton Under-21 home fixtures and Everton Ladies home games, as well as a discount voucher for selected Premier League home fixtures, entry into exclusive prize draws and access to exclusive events.

There are four packages for fans, depending on age, including a special membership for overseas fans, with tailored benefits for each group.

It seems very likely that fans buying habits will have to change.

Picking up a ticket a few days before, or on the day of the game is likely to become a thing of the past.

Limited season tickets remain and for those unable to pickup a season ticket, a Foreverton membership would seem a worthy investment.

Goodison Park Box Office

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Wijnaldum a key Everton target



Another day, another name linked to Everton.

This time, Newcastle midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is the name claimed to be a key transfer target according to Sky Sports.

Reports claim Everton’s transfer committee have pinpointed the 25-year old as a vital part of Ronald Koeman’s new-look midfield and understand Everton have made tentative inquiries to Wijnaldum’s representatives regarding the player’s situation at St James’ Park.


Sky Sports News HQ ‘understands’ a bid of £25m would be accepted for the midfielder, who cost Newcastle £14.5m just 12 months ago.

Do you think Wijnaldum would be a good signing for Everton? Get involved in the debate in our forum.

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