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Have Faith Like Carlo Fantastico


Carlo Ancelotti is a man of faith and Everton were once again able to snag three surprising away points against Nuno Santo’s technically gifted Wolverhampton side, through belief and team-spirit.

Carlo Ancelotti is a man of faith and Everton were once again able to snag three surprising away points against Nuno Santo’s technically gifted Wolverhampton side, through belief and team-spirit.

This exceptional 2-1 victory comes just three days after the FA Cup clash against potential Championship relegation side Rotherham United. As we all know, Everton we’re expected to win the game comfortably, but instead made an absolute meal of it. An extra-time goal by Abdoulaye Doucouré was needed in order to move on to the 4th Round. This was not ideal for Everton leading up to the Wolves game at Molineux Stadium, where they hadn’t won since 2011 under David Moyes.

Even though these past two games were in different competitions, against two clubs with a large gap in terms of talent, the personnel selected were pretty much the same, give or take a few players.

Mason Holgate had a much-needed rest on Saturday. Robin Olsen started over Jordan Pickford for the cup-tie. Niels Nkonkou and Bernard only appeared as subs in the cup game. Finally, Cenk Tosun and Anthony Gordon both started against Rotherham on Saturday as well.

Tosun and Gordon made it more obvious than any of the listed players as to how much trust plays a factor for Carlo Ancelotti, even more so considering both Tosun and Gordon were involved with the first goal on Saturday but did not play at Molineux.

Some Evertonians were in shock to see that the team-sheet did not include a true striker for Tuesday’s game, and thought the squabble was lost before kick-off. With Dominic Calvert-Lewin nursing a minor hamstring injury and Richarlison not being fit enough to endure a full 90 minutes. Many expected Cenk Tosun to step up today, especially after scoring in the FA Cup match previously.

Yet, to our surprise, Carlo opted to shake things up, like he has been forced to do countless times during this chaotic season. Gylfi Sigurdsson started as striker beside James Rodriquez, who was pretty much positionless and had permission to roam freely and spray admirable passes about the pitch with his golden left boot.

Many fans may still be scratching their heads as to why Gylfi received the nod over Tosun and it really only comes down to one thing: Trust. Gylfi was non-existent and only touched the ball 17 times all game… yet Carlo trusts him tactically along with players such as Ben Godfrey and Lucas Digne. Who were also asked to play out of position and were given clear instructions for their new role. Although left back is becoming quite common for Godfrey.

Carlo simply does not trust Tosun to make a significant impact in a game against a team like Wolverhampton. Although Tosun scored a lovely dink past the Rotherham keeper off a great feed from Anthony Gordon, he did not stand out for the remaining 111 minutes as he failed to link-up play with teammates; it was also quite clear he does not fit well with the other players that are in Carlos favour.

Even if he struggled tonight, Carlo clearly favours Sigurdsson’s quality to link-up with teammates against a much higher-level opponent, even if he is out of position. Most of us would not be surprised or disappointed to see Tosun leave this January or in the coming summer window.

Another player that has not won over Carlo’s trust just yet is Anthony Gordon. It was evident that he lacks faith in the 19-year-old to fulfill his defensive duties while out on the wing. Thanks to an empty stadium, Carlo could be heard shouting defensive positional instructions to Gordon throughout his 61-minute shift during the ugly cup-tie.

Many fans have naively scoffed at Carlo for being hesitant to play the youngster in Premier League matches this season, but it became evident as to why, after the 1-0 victory against Sheffield United, in which he could not compete physically.

Gordon is currently at an odd place in his young career; he is too good for the U23s but not yet good enough to play in the Premier League on a consistent basis. It was also very telling Carlo decided to sub him off shortly after Rotherham equalized, in place for Bernard who is rumoured to leave in the winter or summer window as well.

Anthony Gordon definitely passes the eye test offensively for a young winger. He can cross, he plays with his head up, loves to drive the ball forward, and he can deliver a nice through-ball like he did for Tosun on Saturday, but he is not quite there physically. He also struggles to work with the team defensively; he found it quite difficult to keep shape with the rest of the squad while the Blues were not in possession of the ball.

It is quite clear he has to become more tactically savvy, which is obviously something most 19-year-olds struggle with. As much as he divides the fan base, Tom Davies is quite good tactically for Carlo; he religiously stays in his designated position and is willing to follow the manager’s instruction to a tee. This is why he is currently filling in for Allan and it seems as if he won that starting role over André Gomes for now.

Without a doubt, there will be better players coming to Everton in near future, which we are all excited for, but before then, it’s time for Evertonians around the world to understand that Carlo Ancelotti is a very adaptable manager who knows how to organize and get the best out of each player he trusts every given matchday.

So next time when you’re shouting for a Niels Nkounkou to get a chance, just remember, Carlo may change the formation, he may swap players out of position, but he knows exactly where his faith currently lies in this unfinished but ahead-of-schedule Everton product.

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13/01/2021 at

Well said!

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