View: Ancelotti still has work to do despite clear Everton improvements
It has almost been a year and a half since Carlo Ancelotti succeeded Marco Silva as Everton manager and the club has certainly seen improvement in that time.
Ancelotti steered a struggling Toffees side to a 12th place finish in the Premier League after replacing the Portuguese coach in the Goodison Park dugout, with Everton in the relegation zone at the time of Silva’s sacking.
Everton now sit eighth in the table with a game in hand on most of the clubs above them, with European qualification very much remaining a possibility for the Blues.
Despite this though, Ancelotti has somehow managed to see his side improve without having actually established a discernible style on Merseyside.
The Italian hasn’t been able to settle on a rigid tactical system since joining the club, often manoeuvring his players into different formations depending on the personnel that he has available to him at the time.
Everton began the season by operating largely in a 4-3-3 formation, however over the course of the season Ancelotti has played around with 4-2-3-1, the more traditional 4-4-2 and an unorthodox back-three system.
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Additionally, Everton’s style of play has no consistency. David Moyes built his team on defensive solidity, while Roberto Martinez prioritised slick passing movement on the back of Moyes’ defensive foundations. Even Sam Allardyce brought signature style to Goodison Park, organising his team to absorb pressure and attempt to counter on the break.
Ancelotti hasn’t imprinted a personal style on his Everton team, and though he doesn’t yet have the squad that he wants, the lack of a committed style hurts the Blues.
Flexibility can be a virtue but when the Toffees find themselves with their backs against the wall, they just don’t have a default setting to revert to. Everton have been tough to watch on many occasions this season, and that is because of that overall lack of style.
Owing to their former nickname ‘The Dogs of War’, Everton have been recognised on a number of occasions as a resolute side, difficult to break down and dangerous in full flow, but those days seem to be long gone.
Ancelotti has done a marvellous job with Everton this season and the club should quite rightly be excited for a future under the Italian, but we need more from him. We need to see him develop Everton in their own way, and we need to see him give the club their identity back.
In other Everton news, Reliable journalist: Agent of Everton ace ‘destined for greatness’ opens exit talks with CL club.