With the comments coming from Martinez after the signing of Samuel Eto’o, it seems like the Cameroonian has been signed, not to play second string to Romelu Lukaku, but to start matches. For him to do this it may mean a change in formation from our usual 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 set up.
This was seen against Crystal Palace, and although it was a terrible result, individual errors were to blame and not any change in formation. We still created a lot of chances. Bring in Coleman, Mirallas for Atsu and Barkley for Osman and suddenly we have a fearsome looking formation on our hands.
The 4-2-3-1 formation has been a successful one for Everton with their record points total last year and it’s a formation that seemingly suits Ross Barkley in the number 10 role. But it’s a formation that won’t be used if Eto’o and Lukaku are to be used in the same team as neither will play as out and out winger or a second striker/attacking midfielder.
In terms of the 4-3-3 formation Eto’o and Lukaku could be used in conjunction with Mirallas to form a fearsome front 3 that would allow all 3 players the freedom to creates havoc for opposition defences. The system isn’t alien to Mirallas and Lukaku either as it was used to fearsome effect vs Arsenal last year in the 3-0 victory at Goodison park as Naismith was flanked by Lukaku and Mirallas, and was used again this season for the majority of the match against Arsenal when Steven Pienaar went off injured. That change meant Osman came on to play in front of Barry and McCarthy, Lukaku went out the the right and Naismith moved from the second striker to the central striker. It worked beautifully until the team got tired and it’d be no surprise to see Martinez start to use it more and more.
Barry – McCarthy
Mirallas Lukaku Eto’o
So who would play wider? Obviously Mirallas would be one and I think Eto’o would be the other. For anyone who watched Inter Milan under Mourinho would of seen that he played this position with world class ease. The most famous instance of this was in the 2010 Champions League final where Eto’o and Pandev were on either side of Diego Milito. The front three would work as all three of the players are not overly keen on sticking to a position and this would allow them the flexibility to swap positions.
The biggest problem at the moment for this formation is the form of Steven Naismith. At the moment he is playing very well and is creating and scoring a lot for the team. He would be able to play in the central striker role but that would mean that one of Lukaku, Mirallas and Eto’o would be left out of the team. It seems easy to suggest it would be Samuel Eto’o due to his age but as I mentioned first up, I think Eto’o has been signed to start matches. The problem Steven Naismith has is that we have only won one match out of six, so just like against Palace, Martinez may feel that sticking with 4-3-3 may be the best course of action to try and change our fortunes. It may also be that case that Martinez uses whichever formation he sees fit from the game and we see a fluid change from one formation to the other.
The potential of a 4-3-3 with a frontline of Mirallas, Lukaku and Eto’o with Barkley sitting In behind excites me as i’m sure it would excite all Everton fans. It must excite Martinex as well because he could of played 4-2-3-1 vs Crystal Palace easily but opted for a change.
It’s a formation that has had success, not as much in the premier league where standard 4-4-2 has only just about died but has had a proven success in Europe. Specifically with Inter Milan and Barcelona in recent years.
I’d love to see it at Goodison on a regular basis as I salivate at the thought of Eto’o, Lukaku and Mirallas up front. Remember all those years without a top class striker? Long gone.