Everton 1-0 Man United – Tactical Deconstruction

Teams & Formations

Everton lined up in the usual 4-4-1-1 with the same forward 6 players that played in the 4-4 draw at Old Trafford in May. Further back, Distin’s superior pace gave him the nod ahead of the unfortunate Heitinga. United went in with a 4-2-3-1 with Welbeck and Nani on the flanks with new signing Kagawa in ‘the hole’ behind Rooney. Rio Ferdinand’s injury meant that Carrick was deployed at centre half with Valencia at right back.  The game played out in a familiar manner, with 2 distinctive phases of play.

Phase 1 – Aggressive Attacking

Our main strategy was to maximise the colossal threat of Fellaini, playing a more direct game perhaps in response to United’s central defensive injury crisis. The Belgian was immense; as we noted last season our goals output goes up 50% in the games he plays in an advanced role to those he plays as a defensive midfielder. The Belgian received the ball 28 times in the final third last night with 49 touches in the final third which was more than any player from either side.

His aerial prowess was crucial and in a more than deliberate tactic we looked to bypass Vidic and get the ball forward to Fellaini who was looking to pull onto the back of United’s fullbacks to win diagonal balls from Howard and Baines. This perhaps doesn’t do Fellaini justice – his chest control for example is better than anyone in the Premier League by a distance. He made plenty of gains and United couldn’t handle his physical prowess as the game developed. Firstly he outmuscled Valencia and rolled Carrick to hit the post, and then he provided a knock down for Osman to strike the bar.

It was third time unlucky for United though; Fellaini again dominated Carrick (the hapless stand-in centre back won just 28% of his aerial duels) as the curly haired dynamo shrugged off his attention to arrow home a great Darron Gibson centre to send Goodison into raptures.

For detail on passing tempo and various other nerding view EB’s Post Match Stats Dashboard

Phase 2 – Containment

With the goal in the bag ‘Operation Goodison’ shutdown commenced. United dominated possession, moving from 64% control in the first half to 69% in the second. This is nothing new for us though. For example, the wins against Man City, Chelsea, Spurs & Swansea last season were achieved with an average possession of just 35% with Moyes happy to retreat 10 yards, concede possession and get as many men behind the ball as possible.

Whilst United dominated possession (692 v308 passes), they were less incisive getting the ball into the box and creating threatening chances. The Blues had significantly less touches (571 v 933) but crucially we had more touches in United ‘s penalty box than they did ours (42 v 27) with us having 22% of our chances in their 6 yard box compared to United’s 0% in ours. The below image shows this nicely with United’s passing meeting a brick wall around our penalty box…..

With the centre of the pitch congested United were attacking down the flanks rather than utilise Kagawa through the middle with an emphasis on crossing which we were happy with given our organisation and prowess in defending such situations. United’s crossing accuracy was poor with just 17% accuracy, half the figure we chalked up. Van Persie’s introduction on the right side had limited rewards and he cut something of a peripheral figure as United continued to chase the game with minimal gains.

Jagielka’s display in the defensive phase was crucial; he won a crucial one on one with Welbeck following a great through ball from Kagawa and then foiled United’s best chance of the game, sensing the danger to clear Cleverleys shot of the line. Distin also performed heroically with some crucial headers at the death.

In Summary….

This was a classic Everton display of recent times and was very much an extension of what happened from January onwards last season at Goodison. On this form Fellaini is unplayable and his aggression combined with our ability to win the second balls around him were crucial in the attacking phase of play. Defensively we are resolute – Goodison is a real fortress with 7 clean sheets in our last 10 games at home – and in truth we never looked like conceding with United creating little from their large share of possession. In summary, this was a well deserved victory and a great start to the campaign.



The FBI Column: Deconstructing the weekend’s football betting

Premier League Odds

Kicking off the season will be Arsenal and Sunderland. Arsenal have made many useful additions to their squad such as highly-rated Spanish starlet Santi Cazorla, Ligue 1 top scorer Olivier Giroud and German playmaker Lukas Podolski. They start life post RVP at a best-priced 4/9 (Paddy Power) to beat a Sunderland side who are a whopping 17/2 with Stan James. Fulham are favourites (17/20 with Willie Hills) to win their opener against Norwich. They have been active during the window, adding players such as Rodallega, Petric and Sascha Riether to their squad; Norwich did well in their return to the Premier League last season and are 4/1 with Pinnacle to come out on top here.  One of the closest bouts of the opening weekend sees Tottenham travel to Newcastle. Spurs finished 4th in the Prem last season with Newcastle only a place behind. Newcastle are best-priced 8/5 with Boylesports but the 47/25 from Betfair for Tottenham looks the best value lay in my opinion.

Swansea look great value in their opener with QPR, with Betfair offering 16/5 with Betfred . They have brought in Michu from Rayo Vallecano for £2m who plundered 16 goals in La Liga last season. However, QPR are favourites as although finishing 6 places below Swansea in the Prem last season, they have recruited well. In my opinion there’s some great value in Stoke beating new boys Reading, with the Potters at 57/29 with Pinnacle Sports. Although Reading have brought in 7 new signings, I believe Stoke will have the edge and at that price, are worth adding to your accumulator if you’re looking for value over short-priced favourites. There are some interesting prices in Liverpool’s opener with West Brom. Sadly, Liverpool appear the obvious choice and are well-priced at 11/10 with Coral. However, West Brom only finished 2 places below Liverpool last season in the Prem in 10th, and 3/1 with Pinnacle seems very generous.

West Ham are favourites to beat Aston Villa at Upton Park, with Coral offering 11/8 for the Hammers and Stan James giving as far out as 5/2 for the Villains to come out on top. I expect long balls and goals aplenty with Villa and Lambert’s superior know how edging this one. In the Monday night game Everton are a best-priced 27/8 with Pinnacle, with Man United at 11/12 with the same firm. A correct score of 2-2 appeals to me at 16/1 with William Hill. Click here for more analysis and odds on Everton v Man United

Premier League Treble: Liverpool, QPR & Chelsea win treble £5 stake returns £32.30 with William Hill

Goalscorer Treble: Djibrill Cisse, Sergio Aguero & Fernando Torres all score anytime £5 treble returns £34,69 at Willie Hills

Best of the rest….

Warnock is well versed in escaping the Championship and his Leeds side are 6/4 (willie hills) to beat a far from united Wolves outfit who have one just twice  in 22 at Elland Road. Leicester and Forest also look good for opening day home wins on the coupon. Rotherham at home to Burton at 4/6  (Betfred) looks decent as the Millers kick off their promotion push at their new ground. Fellow promotion hopefuls Fleetwood are evens at home to beat Torquay and are worth laying. Port Vale had an excellent home record last season and at 10/11 at Willie Hills are decent odds against a poor Barnet side.

Dead Certs: Ipswich / Blackburn – Both teams to score (btts) 8/13 (Coral) /  AFC Wimbledon v Chesterfield 2.5 goals +  8/11 (Willie Hills)

Saturday treble: 2.5 goals plus West ham v Villa / afc Wmbledon v Chestefield / Crewe v Notts County £5 returns £31.86 with William Hill

Sunday double Wigan v Chelsea / Man city v Southampton – Btts double

Weekend Longshot:: 4 draws – Newcastle v Spurs /Reading v Stoke / Millwall v Blackpool /  Preston v Colchester

By Tom Clarke

The Everton Encyclopedia : Add your name to the list of legends

Final 48 Hours: Write Your Name in Everton History

 Just 48 hours remain for customers to add their name to the exclusive Roll of Honour to be listed in the appendix of the Everton Encyclopedia.

All customers who order the Encyclopedia before midnight on Sunday will get the opportunity to have their name listed in the back of the book.

There is also an exclusive cloth bound limited edition of the Encyclopedia available, which is signed by some of the greatest players in Everton’s history, including Alex Young, Howard Kendall, Dave Hickson, Kevin Ratcliffe and Colin Harvey.  These are selling very fast.

About the Everton Encyclopedia

In this mammoth landmark book, author James Corbett has chronicled the individuals and incidents that made Everton into the great institution that we know today.
With entries on every man to pull on an Everton shirt, including more than 400 full biographical entries, some 350,000 words and utilising new and original research from the recently opened Everton Collection, Corbett’s book crosses new boundaries in the study of Evertonia.

Lavishly illustrated and printed in full colour throughout, this is a book that will be passed down through generations of Evertonians.

Nearly a decade after the first publication of his acclaimed narrative history of the club – Everton: The School of Science – and coming after deCoubertin Books’ publication of Everton: The Official Complete Record, this is the perfect addition to every Evertonian’s library.

The Everton Encyclopedia includes:

Full biographical and career details of EVERY Everton player to make a competitive appearance since 1887.
More than 400 full in depth profiles, including:
– Every player to make more than 15 starts since 1960
– Every player to make more than 30 appearances between 1945-59
– Every player to make more than 50 appearances in the interwar years
– Every player to make more than 100 appearances in the club’s first years
– All of Everton’s managers and other significant individuals in the club’s history

In addition there are more than 500 photographs, articles on all aspects of Everton’s history, their rivals and landmark events in the club’s rich and illustrious history.

A full catalogue, detailing these exciting new books can be found on the following link: Everton Encyclopedia Catalogue

These offers are available exclusively from the deCoubertin Books shop.

Both editions of the Everton Encyclopedia will be dispatched on or after the publication date of 24 September. A full catalogue, detailing these exciting new books can be found on the following link: Everton Encyclopedia Catalogue

These offers are available exclusively from the deCoubertin Books shop

 About deCoubertin Books:

Founded in 2009, deCoubertin Books is a small, family run publishing house, focused on non-fiction, particularly sport.


 A full publicity schedule will be available soon. For further information please contact Anna Corbett – anna@decoubertin.co.uk 0203 289 9985


The FBI Column (Football Betting Intel) – 10 Betting Tips for 12/13

The start of a new season puts a fire in the belly of even the most jaded, world-weary football fan. Barely three months have gone by since another year’s hopes were finally dashed, but the thought of it all kicking off again in August makes optimists of us all. This optimism can be a dangerous thing, particularly when it makes us confuse a speculative bet on our club’s title prospects with a good idea. Gambling and hope are rarely a good combination, so if you must gamble, gamble wisely. To help, we’ve put together 10 bets that we think stand a decent chance of making some money. Hopefully a few quid will help soften the blow come next May when Everton disappoint us again.



1. 18/1 Eden Hazard Top Premier League Assists (Boylesports)

The Belgian winger has been hot property in European football for a while now, though if his first stuttering performance in the Community Shield is anything to go by, he might need a bit of time to adapt to the English game. Still, with 16 assists for Lille last season this looks a decent bet on an exciting new addition to the league.

2. 90/1 Treble: Swansea, Reading and WBA to go down (Stan James)

West Brom will struggle with life after Hodgson, though the loan signing of Lukaku could provide the firepower to save them. Newly-promoted Reading don’t look to have the quality to keep many clean sheets against the premiership’s finest. The surprise in this trio is probably Swansea, who put in some great performances last year but might not be the same side without Rodgers at the helm.

3. 7/1 Sam Allardyce next manager to be sacked (Various)

Despite achieving promotion, Allardyce regularly faced disgruntled fans last season. Chants of “We’re West Ham United, we play on the floor” rang out in response to Big Sam’s patented long-ball football, and anything but success this season will see the fans calling for his head.

4. 25/1 Papiss Cisse (Paddy Power)

Cisse made an impressive impact for Newcastle last season, netting 13 goals in 14 games after joining from Freiburg in January. Maintaining that kind of form will be a big ask, but long odds like these make Cisse a decent bet for the Golden Boot.

5. 25/1 Marvin Sordell top championship goalscorer (Bet365)

Bolton are favourites to top the Championship this year, and many expect the newly signed Sordell to fire them to success. Much may depend on his ability to nail down a regular starting spot, Sordell is still only 19 after all.

6. 40/1 Nuno Gomes top championship goalscorer (Coral)

Despite a great goalscoring pedigree, these long odds are the result of the fact that the 35-year old former Portuguese international hasn’t managed 20 games in any of his last three seasons. The romantic in us fancies experience to conquer youth, and Gomes to defy expectations and score for fun at Blackburn.

7. 4/1 Rotherham to win League 2 (Ladbrokes)

Life in the lower leagues is said to be much more unpredictable than we’re used to in the premiership, but it’s hard to see past Rotherham to win League 2. A big injection of cash sees them start the season with a host of new faces and a new £20 million stadium.

8 13/2 Top 3 Premiership Tricast Man City, Manchester Utd, Chelsea (Skybet)

Despite a poor league performance last season, we expect Chelsea to be competing with the two halves of Manchester for the title this season. The additions of Hazard and Oscar mean they have an incredibly exciting midfield, and there are promising signs that Torres can return to scoring ways.

9. 14/1 Leeds Utd to win championship

These are decent odds for a side that is expected by many to be in the mix at the business end of the season. If they can find goals in the absence of last season’s top scorer Robert Snodgrass they might well surprise a few people and nick the title.

10. 54/1 Cardiff, Notts County and Fleetwood to get promoted (William Hill)

The recent signing of Craig Bellamy looks to be a major boon for Cardiff, while there are short odds on Fleetwood achieving back-to-back promotion despite losing a few players. Notts County may be the weak link in this trio, but if new signing Francois Zoko can replicate his form at Carlisle last year they could well hold be set for a successful season.

By Joseph Weir


Everton v Man Utd 5 Point Tactical Preview

The opening Monday night game of the season sees us tackle last season’s runners up Man United in a face off which has regularly delivered exciting games during the Moyes era.  This five point preview will take a look at the likely line-ups, players to keep an eye, key trends and suggesting betting.

1.Likely United Side / Pre Season form

United predominantly play 4-4-2 although their wide players are so advanced it’s often 4-2-4.  At the back, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have all been injured and with Rafael on Olympic duty/out of form, Antonio Valencia has been deployed in the problem right back spot in pre season. This hasn’t seemed to affect them though and they have kept 4 clean sheets from 6 pre season games. This has enabled Nani and Ashley Young to be deployed in the key wide berths with new recruit Shinji Kagawa mainly featured in “the hole”behind Rooney. I’d expect Danny Welbeck to partner the former toffee up top as with Van Persie probably starting his United career from the bench.

2. Favoured Route to goal

Like us, United attack predominantly down the flanks and unsurprisngly scored the most headed goals (16) in the top flight last season.  Rooney will look to come deep and with him, Scholes and Carrick they have great options in terms of distributing to the wide players / Welbeck in advanced areas as was the case in the 4-4.  The below visual demonstrates this;

3. One to Watch

Welbeck has done superbly against us in recent seasons and for me he is the main threat.  He has scored a brace against us in each of the last 2 seasons plus a couple of assists. He possesses intelligent movement and has the capacity to pull apart rigid defensive shapes. This will be a real concern for Moyes going into this one as despite having the third tightest defence in the top flight last season United’s forwards dragged Heitinga and Jags all over the place in the away fixture and United could have scored more than 4.

4. EFC Gameplan

We usually play a counter attacking style against the top sides and I wouldn’t expect this to change on Monday night. In terms of selection, Neville has been deployed in midfield to disrupt Utd’s passing rhythm in recent times but personally, I’d play Osman (rather than Neville) as he and Fellaini are comfortable in either MC / AMC positions which gives us the chance to quickly switch things from a long to short game or vice versa should it be required.

Defensively we need to keep our shape better than we did at Old Trafford. Heitinga and Jagielka need to hold their position and avoid following United’s forwards away from our goal and thus reducing the space in behind. United’s wingers are always positioned so advanced playing on the line so it’s implicit that we don’t lose the ball in our own half and enable them to engineer fast break situations.

The Right back area is weak for United with Rafael outfoxed regularly by Pienaar last time out. Whilst solid aerially, United’s centre back duo have a vulnerability in terms of pace that we can exploit. We have scored at least 3 in a game vs Utd in each of the last 3 seasons so Moyes clearly knows how to get at them.

5. Betting

With both sides playing with great width, there is always gaps in the alleys between full backs and centre backs for attacking players to exploit. Whilst the 4-4 was a belter this game pits 2 of the leagues top 3 defences from last season so don’t necessarily expect another humdinger goals wise.;

4 Tips To Ponder….

16/5 Everton to win outright (Bet Victor)

Welbeck to score anytime 2/1 William Hill

8/1 Everton to come from behind to draw ( Willie Hills). .this has happened 3 of last 4 seasons

17/20 Under 2.5 goals in the game (Bet365)

Toffee Scout Report: Deconstructing Kevin Mirallas

Belgian winger / forward Kevin Mirallas is in talks to become the latest Everton recruit of the transfer window. Let’s analyse what we could be getting….


Deployed mostly as a striker in the Greek Super League, the double footed Belgian is equally effective playing as an inverted winger on either flank cutting inside, rarely going on the outside which is good as his crossing isn’t fantastic. The option of  playing him on the left  could release Pienaar into the number 10 role –  a position Mirallas is also comfortable in. Given our weakness on the right its more likely he will feature there..


He loves tricks and in this respect is a bit like Ronaldo with step overs aplenty. He has two good feet (although he will invariably go with his right) so defenders are often not sure how to play him. His speed and ability to expedite  the defensive to offensive phases of play is his major asset and in this respect he is ideally suited to a reactive team like us who play counter attacking football.

He has craft as fellow suitor Arsene Wenger will testify after he created 8 chances against the Gunners in Olympiakos’ ecl win this season. He is always looking for the forward pass and in this respect will help our often slow attacking tempo.  ‘End product’ can be an issue though; for someone in a predominantly attacking role a career assist average of 2.75 per season is average.

The following stats are from his six appearances in Olympiakos champions league run last season in comparison to other players in the competition……

  • Ranked 14th for most shots per game (3.3)
  • Made 1.7 key passes per game
  • Joint 8th most fouled player (2.8 per game)
  • 11 th most successful dribbles (2.5 per game)
  • 4th most offsides (1.3 per game)
  • 77.7% pass completion
  • 38% Crossing Accuracy


Whilst I’d guess he would be deployed on either flank he is a more than accomplished poacher with 20 goals from just 25 league games last season and he could be pushed further up field should Jelavic be sidelined. As a cautionary tale his time in France wasn’t quite as productive with just 15 goals from 153 starts. His strike rate at International level is 1 in 5 although remember he is often played out wide.

Off the ball

In the ECL he was used to playing in a reactive side with little possession so our strategy wouldn’t be too much of a culture shock. He has ok positional play and understands the principal of shape. In the ecl games he averaged 1.8 possession regains per game so in this respect he doesn’t work as hard off the ball as say Pienaar who registered 3.9 per game last season. His ability to win fouls is also notable as the stats above show; he is capable of drawing fouls with his quick feet and fast movement – he would rival suarez in this respect – however his simulation can be excessive and might not go down well with some of the traditionalists at L4.


He has good self confidence with few off field issues, characterised by a decent disciplinary record on the pitch. In football psychology terms he would be classed as a Type B’ player (the best type) who have high ambition and low performance anxiety with limited fear of failure. In comparison with previous wide men, KM doesn’t have issues with authority or temperament problems like a drenthe for example or the high anxiety issues suffered by bilyaledtinov. The only caveat here is that his self confidence can sometimes be a weakness; for example he will often look to take everyone on and get a shot on goal even when its better to pass. Whilst it comes off regularly in a weak greek league it would need to be modified in the prem.


This deal would basically solve the striking and wide right berth conundrums in one go,  delivering a  proven goalscorer with champions league and international pedigree. Age wise he is in the 22-27 bracket so also assists in Moyes desire to even out the imbalanced age group of the squad (plus re sale value). In this country £6m would get you half a reo coker, almost a jamie o hara and 2/3 of the championship kid soton signed from burnley. He is by no stretch of the imagination faultless and has areas of his game that need development but he has genuine game changing qualities and proven experience of delivering results in top flight european football. Put simply, It would be a corking transfer if it came off.


New on the blog today – Everton v Man Utd 5 Point Tactical Preview