Both teams recorded 2-0 wins the previous round but it’s looking unlikely that they will qualify for Europe through the league positions so the FA cup is a great chance for them to win a trophy as well as be in Europe next season.
Everton under Moyes have chopped and change between a short passing style and a more direct one, a reason why Arteta struggled in his last days there. Sunderland have changed to a more rigid style under O’Neil and they didn’t create much in this tie.
Everton started in a 4-4-1-1 with Coleman moving back to his right sided position after playing on the left against spurs. Drenthe came in for Pienaar on the left flank with Tim Cahill playing in the hole behind Jelavic.
In the midfield battle there was nobody who particularly likes to take control of the game but mostly box-to-box central midfielders so the when the ball came into the middle of the park both sets central midfielders got the ball to the flanks quickly and then looked to make their into the box to get on the end of a cross. This made sense as both teams had players who could put in decent crosses. Sunderland had Larsson on the right who likes to cross from deep and McClean prefers to take people on at cut the ball back at the by-line. Everton’s main channel of attacking play out wide was Drenthe cutting inside with Baines on the overlap, which is becoming rather predictable this season. The two teams approach’s coupled with good presence upfront made it a logical way to play but it made the game very scrappy with little technical quality and many set pieces. As you can see in the graphic below, courtesy of Zonal Marking Everton(the blue line) Attack the least in the centre of all premier league teams so this approach was to be expected.
The first goal, coincidentally came from a set piece as Sunderland played a clever free kick for Bardsley to smash home. After the goal Everton still struggle to control the game. The fact that Cahill started in the hole may have contributed to this as his style of play doesn’t encourage combinations with the other midfielders and he prefers to carry the ball.22 minutes in the Drenthe, Baines combination worked when Drenthe’ inside positioning created space for Baines to whip a cross in and Tim Cahill to head home.
After the equaliser started to control the game higher up the pitch but the central defender didn’t push up to close the gap, however Sunderland couldn’t get out of their half and exploit the space on the counter.
Everton continued their domination into the second half with Sunderland, again, not being able to retain the ball. There were three reasons for Sunderland poor possession throughout the game:
Martin O’Neil brought on David Vaughn for Campbell to help the team retain the ball and it worked momentarily as he managed to find himself in space and play a few passes however Moyes’ change prior to Vaughn coming on took effect as Gueye came on for Coleman and played on the left with Drenthe moving to the right, possibly to take advantage of Drenthe’s hammer of a left foot. Gueye looked to receive the ball deeper and not high up the pitch to slow the tempo down and not play in an obvious frenetic way of constantly getting it to the flanks quickly. In turn this mean that Sunderland’s right full back was often drawn to the ball, allowing Fellaini to break into the space but with his lack of technical ability he couldn’t really take advantage.
With 85 minutes on the clock Moyes used his second sub, bringing on Stracqualursi and changing the system to a 4-4-2 with the Argentine and Jelavic upfront, Cahill in the middle with Fellaini and Osman and Gueye on the left and right flank respectively. This change was probably to have even more of a threat upfront but it didn’t have much of an effect on the game and the teams played out a tie
Ending thought: Everton managed to impose themselves on the game however they do seem to have a 100mph game that can be a bit predictable and better teams will be able to counter this style easily. Since O’Neil came in he has implemented a style that will see them finish comfortably in the mid-table positions however if he can make a few good signings in the summer he can introduce a style that suits his most technically gifted players e.g. Vaughn, Sessegnon and even Asamoah Gyan.
Follow me on Twitter: @TKSakyi
This post was created using the This11.com pro-package kindly given to me for free. You can purchase your’s for $20
Introducing the neat little app that’ll pay you to view content tailored to your interests:
ThisisFutbol.com are seeking new writers to join the team! If you’re passionate about football, drop us a line at “email@example.com” to learn more.