Everton fans are probably starting to realise what life is going to be like under Marco Silva – with their team playing open, expansive football, but conceding goals too.
Silva has won only one of his first six Premier League games as Toffees boss and if those results continue he is going to come under pressure, but I think they are too strong to struggle.
His Everton team are one that I enjoy watching and I still think he will have a good season – if his players can improve their finishing.
That was the difference between victory and defeat for Everton against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, and it is the only real difference between the two sides full stop.
Both teams play a very similar style and are at a pretty similar level. Arsenal will concede a few goals too, only they look a lot more like scoring them.
The Gunners won the game 2-0 but if you put their goalscorers – Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – in Everton’s team then the Toffees would have taken the three points because they had so many chances.
That is not a new feeling for Everton fans.
They have got some very good players, and I think they are close to being a strong team – but the reason they have been so near yet so far for the past few months is because they lack a really ruthless centre-forward.
Why Richarlison should stay out wide
I don’t think Silva should be worried about his future, but a good striker can mean a manager keeps his job.
I am sure his predecessors at the club – Ronald Koeman, David Unsworth and Sam Allardyce – would agree, and it is imperative Everton address the problem in the January transfer window.
In the meantime, it has been suggested they could play Richarlison in a more central role to increase their goal threat.
I actually think that with him and Theo Walcott in the team, Everton have got genuine quality on the wings, with pace and unpredictability that can frighten the opposition.
I would hate to see Everton lose that, and I would keep using them wide in the way they operated at the Emirates.
Gylfi Sigurdsson has to be at number 10. We saw last season that he cannot play as effectively on the left, and when you have got him behind the striker you need speed around him so that when he receives the ball you have people running in behind the opposition defence.
That is what Richarlison and Walcott do so well and they showed it again against Arsenal, which is part of the reason I am still so optimistic about Everton’s prospects.
Silva is not a manager you associate with clean sheets
Are Everton good enough at both ends of the pitch at the moment? Probably not, but I think the supporters still like the style of football they play.
Ideally, Silva needs to get the balance right and find a way to be tighter at the back while retaining their threat going forward, but I am not sure how many things he will try to change things there.
Since he first came to the Premier League with Hull, and then with Watford, the Portuguese has not been a manager you associate with clean sheets – and he is yet to manage one in his time at Goodison Park.
It means they are entertaining to watch, although I am sure their fans would like to see them become harder to beat because what they are seeing at the moment is a bit of a throwback to when Roberto Martinez is in charge.
At the moment they have to outscore teams to win, and while they are making a lot of chances and getting into good positions, they are missing the vital end product.
What did Everton get wrong in the transfer market?
Everton have spent a lot of money on a lot of players since they sold Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United for £75m in July 2017, but they have not replaced his goals.
You could argue that there are not many world-class strikers out there and that they are extremely expensive. You could also ask how Everton could entice them without being able to offer them Champions League football.
However, Arsenal managed exactly that when they bought Lacazette, who joined from Lyon for £46.5m in July 2017, and Aubameyang, who arrived from Borussia Dortmund for £56.5m in January this year.
It is not as though Everton have been scrimping in the transfer market recently either, because they have spent that kind of money on a midfielder and a wide man in Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison in the same timeframe.
They are an ambitious club, but strikers are where you should throw most of your money if you want to be successful in the Premier League and that has not happened at Goodison Park.
I know they tried to sign Olivier Giroud from Arsenal before he eventually joined Chelsea, and another Gunners forward Alexis Sanchez was also a target before he moved to Manchester United.
But those deals did not get over the line and the end result is that Everton do not have the calibre of striker they need to lead their line.
Instead, they have a young player who is still developing in Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun, a striker who cost £27m because he does not have the same quality or pedigree as Lacazette or Aubameyang.
Tosun was a gamble, while if they had signed either Giroud or Sanchez they would have been guaranteed goals.
Everton no longer have a 25-goal striker like Lukaku, of course, but that will not be such an issue if the other forward players can chip in with goals to reach that total between them.
Sigurdsson needs to contribute more, and the same goes for Richarlison and Walcott. They should all be aiming for between five and 10 goals this season.
If Tosun and Calvert-Lewin can manage a similar ratio, all of a sudden they have got Lukaku’s total back.
Those goals are the difference between winning and losing games, as we saw on Sunday, but they could also be the difference between Everton finishing in mid-table and qualifying for Europe next season.
Phil Neville was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/45622200