25 August 2017

Danny Higginbotham: Ronald Koeman has developed two different systems with Everton… and new signing Gylfi Sigurdsson is the key

RONALD KOEMAN was a great player and clearly he is becoming a great manager.

The Everton boss arrived in England three years ago with an impressive CV as a player and plenty of high-profile managerial stints.

Ronald Koeman Everton
Ronald Koeman has developed two different systems with Everton

What I have admired about him is the way he tactically lines up his sides for Premier League combat.

With Everton, who have brought in nine new players for this season, he seems to have two different systems depending on the opposition.

In graphic (a) Everton went 3-4-2-1 in their 1-0 win over Stoke, although he changed at half-time to a back four.

This is a system in which Gylfi Sigurdsson will play a notable role.

It is apparent that Koeman is trying to encourage his players to become more versatile and for them to be comfortable playing in many different positions.

In the 1-1 draw at Manchester City (graphic b) Koeman switched to 3-5-1-1, with Wayne Rooney (10) playing behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin (29).

Gylfi Sigurdsson scored as Everton beat Hajduk Split, with Aaron Lennon also playing
Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a stunner as Everton beat Hajduk Split in Europa League
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Calvert-Lewin was excellent against City, playing on the shoulder of the centre-backs and always attempting to run down the channels.

He received great support from Rooney and Tom Davies (26), who loved to get forward.

The pair were able to do this because they had insurance, with Morgan Schneiderlin (2) and Idrissa Gueye (17) behind them.

What has been key about Everton this season has been Schneiderlin and Gueye sitting perfectly in front of the three-man defence as shields.  As you can see from the average positions, Schneiderlin and Gueye stayed back against City.

Wayne Rooney has now scored both of Evertons goal in the league this term
Wayne Rooney has scored both of Everton's goal in the league this term
Everton 1-0 Stoke: Wayne Rooney scores winner on second debut for Toffees to the delight of Goodison Park

But against Stoke, Gueye was able to get forward more. He has the freedom within the system to get box-to-box.

Schneiderlin is banned for the trip to Chelsea tomorrow. That could mean Davies drops back alongside Gueye and in comes Sigurdsson. It will be interesting to see the line-up.

Rooney is reinvigorated since returning to his boyhood club. You can see the emotion whenever he scores for them.

He has a free role but is disciplined to get back into shape when Everton lose the ball.

I expect Rooney will score 12 to 15 Premier League goals. He is loving life at Everton and sometimes a change is as good as a rest.

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