Have Everton gone backwards under Marco Silva? Richard Keys and Andy Gray are not quite sure.
Everton are sixth in the Premier League table after six games, despite losing a close Merseyside derby to Liverpool in stoppage time on Sunday.
The Toffees really have been rather good this season, scoring more goals than seven clubs and conceding fewer than every side bar Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham.
The improvement comes after a difficult 2017/18 season, where Sam Allardyce took over from the sacked Ronald Koeman and guided them to eighth-place on the back of some awfully uninspiring football.
Yet their 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in December, compared to Sunday’s much more competitive showing in unfortunate defeat, has led to quite the debate on beIN SPORTS.
Keys and Gray are both unsure as to whether Everton have really improved since the days of Allardyce, or whether Jordan Pickford was there last season.
We have the full transcript, just in case you couldn’t be arsed to listen to the utter madness that ensues.
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) December 2, 2018
RK: “We like to see football the way that Arsenal and Tottenham served it up today. And Everton had…”
AG: “Well, some people do.”
RK: “No, we all do.”
AG: “Some people.”
RK: “Everton had a really good go there. Might have pinched that. But Big Sam took a team to Anfield last year, not as good as that one, and got a point. Who’s right and who’s wrong?”
AG: “Well, the important fact, the important statement you made there is said, ‘Sam took a team not as good as that one,’ and that’s a fact. Sam didn’t have the quality of players last year that Marco Silva’s got this year. No way. Didn’t have the goalkeeper I don’t think did he?”
AG: “Jordan Pickford wasn’t there. Yerry Mina wasn’t there.”
RK: “Was Pickford there?”
AG: “Lucas Digne wasn’t there.”
RK: “I think Pickford was there.”
AG: “Erm, Bernard wasn’t there. Andre Gomes wasn’t there. Richarlison wasn’t there. So Pickford might have been there, I don’t know.”
RK: “I think he was, but the others that you’ve just mentioned…”
AG: “Right, so that’s five outfield players – that’s half the team – weren’t there. And they’re better, this team, than the one Sam had. So Sam went with a plan, with a way of frustrating them, and did a fabulous job and Calvert-Lewin got the penalty and Wayne Rooney scored it, and they got a 1-1.
“But we don’t know where Sam would have evolved to if he’d have been allowed to continue. I’d like to think he would’ve got the same kind of money that Marco Silva’s got and could have taken Everton on. But Marco Silva’s lucky, he took over Everton at a really good time, Richard, and in fairness to him he’s integrated the players quickly. It’s not easy to do that.
“And what I saw, as I said to you, you know, this is Liverpool, what, three-and-a-half years down the line with Klopp, having spent hundreds of millions on the team, and Everton, what, four or five months down the line with Marco Silva, trying to make a team. And I thought, you know, there’s a lot of good to be taken from that performance from Everton.”
RK: “So, as we often say, there is no ‘right’ way.”
AG: “Of course there’s not.”
RK: “It’s a question of tailoring your attitude and approach to the game with the tools that you have.”
Was Jordan Pickford there though?