Everton – Manchester City: Ancelotti Can Only Pause The Pep Machine For So Long (0-2)
Carlo Ancelotti’s switch to a 5-3-2 defensive shape was sensible and organized, against a Manchester City team that missed their usual fluency. However, the missing offensive plan and loss of defensive cohesion could only last for so long, as City tweaked their approach to score two late goals.
Tactical analysis and match report by Joel Parker.
Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola are two managers renowned for their rotation to maximize their team’s performance. But Saturday night reflected why rotation should be met by hardcore principles and a strong tactical blueprint.
Everton have constantly changed their shape under Ancelotti’s tenure. As a result, the lack of patterns, combinations and partnerships have stripped them of a tactical identity. His rotations have been adapted to the playing squad, but also their opponents as well. A win at Liverpool has been counteracted by defeats to Newcastle, Fulham and most recently, Burnley. Everton had got high up the table and to the FA Cup quarter-finals through good fortune, but the sustainability of their high results is yet to be seen.
Man City’s 3-2-5 flexi-ball has led to one of the most dominant runs the Premier League has ever seen. As always, Guardiola has not been afraid to mix their approach up to accommodate Kevin de Bruyne’s return, a player who is a lot more direct than vertical. Man City have built the strongest counterpressing After losing possession, a team immediately moves towards the ball as a unit to regain possession, or at least slow down the pace . . .