Norwich 2-1 Everton – Tactical Deconstruction

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Saturday’s abysmal collapse to Norwich was a bitter pill to swallow in a game that virtually ended our hopes of finishing fourth. Not because of the points difference – six is not an insurmountable figure to claw back – its more the fact we continue to not learn from our mistakes and repeatedly flounder against limited operatives at the foot of the table.

Teams

The Toffee’s made just two changes from the Oldham draw with the ‘much maligned’ mono-paced Steven Naismith coming in for Victor Anichebe and Seamus Coleman replacing Phil Neville at right back. Norwich lined up with Becchio and Holt in the jforward berths, although ex Leeds schemer Robert Snodgrass was basically playing as a wide forward in the space vacated behind Baines. This was Norwich’s main attacking trick with Russell Martin >; Snodgrass their most frequent passing combination, occurring 16 times.

Going forward….

It had all started so well for the Toffees. Fellaini (circled) as he likes to do, comes across to the left flank to give us an extra man and draw in opposing defenders which creates space for Baines (arrow) to whizz up the flank and plant a sumptuous delivery on the head of Leon Osman for the game’s opening goal.

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Generally the Blues were on top thereafter but threatened very little against a side who haven’t been able to buy a win of late.

Whilst we had more of the ball there was little end product, particularly in the second half when we created no chances from open play.

The in-effective Naismith churned out another tepid display with Kevin Mirallas left on the bench for the bulk of a game where a second goal would have surely knocked the stuffing out of the home side.

Possession / Territory Data

In a game the Toffee’s controlled for large spells, we had the bulk of possession (55.2%), had more territory (53.7%) and had more of the ball in the final third (132 v 76 completed passes).

Norwich made more of their time on the ball considerably with 50% of their 10 shots hitting the target compared to 20% of our 15 efforts on goal.

Crosses

This game featured two of the most prominent crossing teams in the division and all 3 goals came from such situations.

Whilst we are statistically conceding fewer chances from headers and set plays per game this season based on last, rather damningly we have conceded the most headed goals in the top flight.

Norwich had 30 crosses to our 26, with a slightly better accuracy (16% v 15%). My usual gripe with Moyes is that we tend to invite crosses with our approach being to pack the box sufficiently enough to evade trouble when the ball lands in the danger areas. This tactic is stupid against sides who possess heavier aerial artillery than us like Norwich or Stoke for example and to be fair we did try and stop the crosses coming in, with 7 blocked crosses to Norwich’s 1, however our defending when the ball came in was utter crud.

In the first goal, Fellaini has to take the blame for failing to get tight on Kamara and block his run off as the sub is able to get a run on the Belgian (circled). Fellaini has form for doing this in the last twelve months, most notably in the semi final surrender last season.

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On goal two, Coleman has tucked in which means Naismith goes into the right back spot and Gibson shuffles across to the Scot’s position to double up with him, which is fine. Osman however doesn’t shuffle into Gibson’s position meaning Martin (circled) has time to take a touch and spin in a delivery.

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When the cross comes in Distin is the only player who attacks the ball, compared to Norwich’s three at the back post (Holt, Kamara and Bassong) with the motionless Baines guilty of ball watching. The defensive line for Goal Two is also ridiculously too deep, just as it was for Norwich’s equaliser at Goodison earlier this season.

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Conclusion

This game was in many ways a microcosm of the themes which have held us back this season with our abundance of possession not translated into chances created, combined with us not being able to defend from set plays and conceding sloppy goals, predominantly late in games.

In comparison to our closest rivals we haven’t been able to beat sides such as Reading, Norwich (twice) QPR and Wigan and thus don’t really deserve to be in the ‘shake up’ for the Champions League spots. Moyes has to take the bulk of the flack here for some overly cautious substitutions when the game was there to be won, combined with our continued failure to address problems with defending balls into our box.

EB

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8 thoughts on “Norwich 2-1 Everton – Tactical Deconstruction

  1. A typical Everton capitulation. I knew the script as the game progressed, Everton fail to kill the game, equaliser, late surge by opposition, goal. Champions League? Your having a laugh. Jelavic was shite, Naysmith was worse. EFC to lose to Oldham on pens.

  2. Really felt this yesterday as did those others who’d travelled. Lots of possession but no end product. We need to vary our attacking play more. I watched Jelavic make countless attempts to spring the offside trap (yes I know he’s always offside!). However often Pienar, Gibson or Osman ignored his runs and played it wide. We pass from wing to wing but rarely through the middle and our accuracy of crossing is not the best – often great build up play but poor final ball. We need to go through the middle occasionally for variation and also our shooting from outside the box was woeful.
    Then at the other end we defend too deep as you say and everyone around me knew that in the last ten minutes we would concede. Oldham will give us an aerial bombardment and at the moment I feel we will concede. Howard had a good game yesterday but doesn’t command his box for crosses. We miss Cahill here as often he would be clearing headers in his own box.
    Why Naismith yesterday ? Consistently poor. At the end of the day it’s the board who have let us down. We need :- CB, CM, Striker. Surely they could have borrowed for a Champions league push with the proviso that if we fail to get 3rd or 4th (there for the taking this year), we have Fellaini and Baines as collateral to recoup the money. If we qualified then we would have the extra cash and need the extra players anyway.
    This board has shown time after time that they lack real ambition and imagination. Every season feels like groundhog day.

      • Great blog – found it around the time of the reverse fixture and have been reading ever since.
        I’m really keen that EFC gatecrash the top 4 but for the reasons you describe i can’t see it happening which is a huge shame. Your aerial vulnerability is a surprise given the quality of your centre backs. It’s maybe the midfielders who aren’t standing up to it. Fellaini clearly thinks he’s above doing the spadework at the other end of the pitch and he’s as much as a liability at the back as he is an asset going forward. It looks like he has bought in to his own hype, lost his love for the club and is just cruising now until the summer and a move. And Jelavic has gone from being the transfer of the season last year to being completely anonymous. What has happened between this season and last? Are you playing a different formation? Some of our more clueless fans think the same has happened with Holt but this is only because he has been playing as a lone striker whose role has been to beat up the opposition defence and make space for our midfielders. A very similar set up to yours in days gone by, like when you had Marcus Bent up and good attacking midfielders doing the damage. Yesterday was the first time we started with two up since about September.
        As to the future – i see a lot of Kenwright in Delia. They are, above all, fans of the club, and you mustn’t underestimate how important that is. They don’t want to hand the club to a so called investor who has only business interests and a fancy for a plaything in taking over, someone like Fernandes at QPR. You can not hand the club over to any old rich guy who has no idea about running a football club, no matter how much he know about ‘business’. Fernandes was seen as some sort of messiah, who know all about, er, airlines, and he has screwed that club up good and proper. And then of course there are plenty of other examples. Be VERY VERY careful what you wish for. You have a lot further to fall than you have to go up.
        ATB

  3. To be fair to Norwich, you say Everton’s rivals have beaten the likes of them, but Norwich have beaten Arsenal at home and drawn home and away with Spurs.

    Only three teams have won at carrow road in the league – Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea. United were also beaten at Norwich.

  4. The lack of real depth in our squad is there to be seen. Very little in the way of game-changing options from the bench. Jelavic and Naismith playing when neither deserve a place in the starting XI. I fear the worst for our FA Cup replay and the final push in the PL.

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