Sam Allardyce has rarely been congratulated or hailed for his brand of football but his style essentially delivers results and Everton have undergone a remarkable transformation under the 63-year-old.
Everton embarked on a potentially successful campaign, after spending a record-breaking amount during the summer transfer window. Ronald Koeman initially thought he’d filled the void left by fan-favourite Romelu Lukaku, with the signings of Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Davy Klaassen, Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane and Sandro Ramirez, but his complete overhaul had the adverse effect.
The toffees were woeful under Koeman and Unsworth and slumped into 16th place with only 3 wins from their first 13 league matches. Koeman was dismissed on 23 October, after succumbing to a 5-2 defeat against Arsenal on the previous day.
It was calamitous considering the amount spent on transfers during the summer transfer window and fans were appalled by the consistent lacklustre performances. Another issue arose when the club delayed their process to appoint a new manager by over a month.
When Sam Allardyce arrived at Goodison Park, the former Crystal Palace manager made an immediate impact. Everton were riding on a high after convincingly dismantling West Ham United by a 4-0 score line, in David Unsworth’s final game as caretaker manager.
The Allardyce Effect
They were inspired by such a morale boosting result and Allardyce’s defensive tactics were quickly implicated to reduce the amount of goals being leaked by their unconvincing defence. Sigurdsson finally replicated the form which earned him his £45 million switch to Merseyside with a significantly improved performance and the opening goal on Allardyce’s debut to send them on their way to a 2-0 win against Huddersfield Town.
Liverpool dominated large periods of the Merseyside Derby in Allardyce’s second league match at the helm, but his shrewd defensive approach helped Everton grind out a draw, with club captain Wayne Rooney salvaging a point from the spot.
Sandwiched in between Allardyce’s debut and the Merseyside Derby was the consolation tie in the UEFA Europa League. Everton salvaged some pride following a disastrous campaign in Europe by comfortably defeating European minnows Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.
Allardyce’s starting line-up featured four players under the age of 21 and his substitutes bench was also packed full of academy players. Despite their lack of experience, Everton demonstrated the potential of youth and gave Allardyce a positive dilemma in terms of team selection.
Everton consolidated their recent improvement in form by securing another two victories in the Premier League against Newcastle United and Swansea City respectfully. Their trip to St James’ Park was a tight affair but Rooney resumed his goal scoring run by striking the decisive goal on 27 minutes.
The Blues condemned bottom-place Swansea City to a 3-1 defeat on Monday evening and ultimately ended Paul Clement’s reign at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea started in promising fashion when Leroy Fer struck with ten minutes of normal time remaining in the first half, but Calvert-Lewin’s equaliser on the brink of half-time subsequently inspired Everton to victory.
Gylfi Sigurdsson came back to haunt his former club by placing them into the lead in the second half and Rooney secured the win with a 74th minute penalty. Everton have risen from 13th to 9th since the arrival of ‘Big Sam’ to within six points of the UEFA Europa League qualification places.
Watch Highlights of Everton’s Win Over Swansea City Below: (Video Rights Owned By Everton Football Club)
What Other Writers Think Of Sam Allardyce
Michael Hurtado: Sam Allardyce has made an excellent start to his time at Everton and it’s clear that he will be able to steady the ship for them. But Everton are a club that have invested a lot and have somewhat high ambitions, so I wonder if Allardyce is the man to take them to that next level. If he is to be a longer-term solution, then he will have to prove it in Everton’s bigger games against the Top 6 and in their league position. A return to Europe with better performances would also do much to inspire confidence in his managerial abilities at Everton.
Christopher Smith: It’s clear to see that Sam Allardyce has made a huge impact at Everton in only a matter of weeks. There is no better example than the match against rivals Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby. Coming off the back of the 7-0 destruction of Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Champions League, LFC were predicted to run riot against Everton.
However, Allardyce has his side in ‘non-panic’ mode and crafted a perfect strategy to minimize the damage from Klopp’s attackers, while simultaneously placing his blues in a position to at least take a share of the points. Everton did exactly that with a late equaliser via Wayne Rooney. Thanks to Allardyce and his calming influence, Everton are back in contention for another European adventure next season, as the top six is in sight.
What The Future Holds For Everton…
The purists perceive Allardyce’s tactics as ‘negative’ but they’ve achieved results throughout his managerial career. It may lack sensationalism and the ‘wow-factor’ but he’s applied stability both defensively and offensively to set Everton onto the correct path.
UEFA Champions League qualification is practically out of the equation but the toffees are set for a successful future under Allardyce. Finally, after years of scrutiny and criticism, the 63-year-old is receiving the credit he’s always deserved for his pure devotion to football and his unique perception of the beautiful game.
My prediction for what lies ahead at Goodison Park is purely speculative due to the rollercoaster effect of the Premier League, but if Everton remain as efficient and determined as they’ve shown in recent weeks, then success will soon follow.