Ancelotti’s Everton is Premier League‘s surprise package. The side has got its best start in recent years. They are currently fifth in the table, despite leading the PL race at a time. Not only They are playing an attractive attacking brand of football, but The name of Ancelotti needs no introduction in world football as he has managed the legendary AC Milan and Real Madrid side and led them to the path of success. He is a seasoned campaigner and has got all the experience necessary for winning trophies with this Everton side. He has made his intentions clear even before the season with proactiveness in the transfer window. In this article, We will discuss the reason behind Ancelotti’s Everton’s mind-blowing start.
Successful Transfer Window
Everton has had an excellent transfer window this summer. They have managed to sign players like Allan from Ancelotti’s previous club Napoli, Ben Godfrey from Norwich and Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford. Each of them has played a crucial role in Everton’s form. But the most important signing was that of James Rodriguez from Real Madrid. James has been one of the favourite players of Carlo Ancelotti. Under him, James had shown great form in Real and Bayern Munich. He loves to play under Carlo and the combination has been working well in Everton too. He has already been involved in 6 goals in 10 matches he has played and is coming back to the groove, which he was missing for the last 2 years. His inclusion has massively bolstered the attack of Everton.
Tactical Brilliance in Ancelotti’s Everton
Barring the transfer window, Carlo also has done a great job tactically. He has tried to implant his idea of passing football in the side which has been perfectly executed on the pitch.
Ancelotti’s Everton, on paper, lines up in a 4-3-3 system. But like any other Carlo side, this changes according to the opponent’s defensive and pressing styles. When the opponent likes to sit back, It gives them more time and space. They like to keep the three-man mid with Allan as the CDM. Allan likes to operate just above the defence line and break the opponent’s blocks with one-touch passing. He also drops in between the two CB’s when both the fullbacks overlap and participate in an attack.
Fullbacks have a very crucial role in Ancelotti’s system. They provide the width and act as a passing option in opponent attacking third. Both Digne and Coleman push high up the pitch and tries to make a run in the space left by the opponent’s fullbacks. When the opponent looks to press high, Andre Gomes joins Allan in the central midfield, creating a two-man pivot. In such a situation, James Rodriguez drifts inside Zone 14 while Doucoure moves out wide. The system then looks like a 4-2-3-1. The basic idea of this shape is to create gaps in between the opponent’s midfield. The two central midfielders try to hold possession and attract the opponent to press high. This will provide James with lots of space and will create a 1v1 situation with the opponent’s defensive mid. When the ball reaches James, He gets lots of space to exploit and create a goal-scoring opportunity.
Sometimes, They also shift to a 4-4-2 system. This is done when the opponent tries to defend narrowly. The 4 men mid along with the forward line of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert Lewin tries to stretch the opponent’s defence while the fullbacks can enjoy space on the flanks. When Everton players reach opponent’s attacking third, They create two triangles on both the half-spaces while Calvert-Lewin stays on the centre. The right side is exploited by James along with Doucoure and Coleman. These three players create the main attacking thrust for Everton in opponent half. James mainly operates centrally and looks to cut in and provide passes with his left foot. While one of Doucoure or Coleman moves to the wing, James tries to pick the man on the wing-spaces and tries to move inside and fire a shot. This creates confusion in the opponent’s defence.
While the play is happening on the right flank, Calvert-Lewin and Richarlision make a run inside the box, making themselves ready for the cross. The left side triangle is formed by Digne, Richarlison and Gomes. They take a position in the defensive pockets and act as a passing option. Digne is a good crosser of the ball, so Everton looks to overload the right side of the pitch and shift the play on the left so that Digne can put the ball inside the box. Due to these two fullbacks, Everton looks sharp while attacking.
Without possession, Everton looks to defend in a 4-4-2 shape with Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison upfront. They like to create a mid-block and close all the passing channels in the midfield. When possession is lost, the fullbacks initiate the press by pressing the opponent fullbacks. The central midfielders in the meantime drop to cover the space behind the fullbacks. They try to stop the play in the midfield by challenging the opponent midfielders. This gives the fullbacks time to drop and arrange a defensive structure. When the opponent reaches Everton’s half-space, Allan drops in between the two centre-backs to form a 5-3-2 shape. They look to outnumber the opponents in their half and look to win the ball. They defend very narrowly to suffocate opponent forwards by closing all the passing lanes. These tactics have worked for them very well as they have not conceded much, except due to mistakes from their goalkeeper Pickford.
Similar to open play, Everton shows their authority on setpieces. Both Calvert- Lewin and Richarlison are extremely good in the air along with their centre-backs. So, during any freekick or corner, they send men forward and look to float crosses inside the box, creating a goalscoring opportunity. James is also good in taking a direct freekick and He can score if he gets it near the box, in his range.
Ancelotti’s Everton is a very well drilled side. They have done their homework and made themselves ready for the Premier League campaign. Not playing any European tournament is also going in their favour as their players are staying fresh. It is no wonder that they are currently in the top half of the league and are fighting for a European spot. If they can continue with this form, They will be in the doorsteps of playing in Europe after so many years.
What is your take on Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton? Let us know in the comment section below.