There is no more Champions League, there is no FA Cup, no League Cup. Only Premier League. And Manchester United badly need to finish the season in top four, if they are to truly look at it as a success. Reaching the Champions League quarterfinals will not be worth that much if this side is unable to continue to build on that next season and the Sunday match against Everton is almost as a cup final.
The Devils need three points before tough matches ahead, as the race for top four finish is getting hotter and hotter.
On The Rise, Then Fulham Happened
Everton were on the rise in previous weeks and then the last weekend occurred. What was a really good run of form and excellent results against some of the opt English sides was a bit downplayed by a loss against relegated Fulham. Everton were on a run of three consecutive wins, beating Chelsea and Arsenal in two of those three, without conceding in any of the three wins. Also, there was the 0-0 draw in Merseyside Derby and four wins and a draw in previous six matches.
But then the match against Fulham happened. Everton were far from previous performances, absolutely lackluster and the Cottagers capitalized on that, winning 2-0 at Craven Cottage without any problems. Marco Silva’s team could prove to be a very tough opponent if his players forget about that match and return to the clean-sheet victories against Man United’s fellow rivals in top four race.
Overreliance On Richarlison And Sigurdsson
The Toffees are relying a bit too much on Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson. Whether that is sometimes a coincidence and sometimes a necessity, it does not matter, because over half of their league goals were scored by this duo. Each have 12 goals to their names, with five assists combined. Those are really good numbers both for the Brazilian, he is not a natural striker and the Icelandic playmaker, who plays most of the time in the “number 10” role.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the only player that is somewhat following them – he scored six – but he is not a real forward either, but rather a wide player. Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott are next with three goals and those names alone tell a big story. Cenk Tosun is having hard time in England, too, which only makes Silva’s options fewer.
Defence Gets Leaky
Everton are not a team that allows many shots on their goal, but they are a team that allows good chances. The fact they give to opposition just 10.9 shots per match puts them fifth in the league overall, with a whole host of Premier League sides allowing more. However, their expected goals against are currently at 47.39, which means the average value of the allowed shot is 0.13 – which is a lot. It is no wonder then they have a goal difference of just +2 and more losses than win in this campaign.
This team can get disorganized when defending, especially at pace, and they will allow chances. The leaky defence is the problem Marco Silva solved only temporarily in that period of three consecutive wins without conceding, but overall it is an issue they need to address.