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As Everton discusses Silva’s fate, how has it gone so poorly?

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Patience is thin with Marco Silva at Everton.

The Portuguese manager saw his record as Toffees boss just two matches above .500 after a 2-0 loss to promoted Norwich City on Sunday, with home fans singing “You’re getting sacked in the morning” to Silva after the match.

The BBC reports that “major shareholder Farhad Moshiri held talks with fellow directors, including chairman Bill Kenwright and director of football Marcel Brands, after the game to discuss the growing crisis.”

The Toffees are 4W-2D-7L this season despite not a crazy relaxed early season fixture list which has yet to see their first meetings of the season versus Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Leicester City, and derby rivals Liverpool.

Those matches are all coming in the next five weeks. So in some ways it doesn’t feel like the meetings are abroad whether to let him go, rather when to let him go. Do you make a new or interim manager sort this out inside the fire, hoping for a point or three, or let Silva try to swim through a swift current?

There are myriad reasons for their struggles. The biggest issue seems to be a bizarre ongoing reality in which the Toffees barely concede any shots — their 8.5 shots conceded per game is less than any team not named Man City — but almost all of them are deadly ones.

Complicating things is Fortune not going their way, as the Expected Goals Table says Everton has scored 5.5 less goals than expected, while conceding 5 more! Considering the chances created and conceded, Understat says Everton should’ve won five games they lost or drew (It also says they were fortunate to get all the points from Watford and Bournemouth).

Silva finished 8th in his first season in charge, with 15 wins, 11 draws, and 14 losses in league play. He finished the season on a bright run, with wins over Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United dotting a 5W-2D-1L finish, and the Toffees would’ve finished with two draws in the Merseyside Derby if not for Divock Origi‘s shocking winner last December.

This season saw the Toffees strengthen their roster and handed that terrific early run of fixtures. What Silva’s done with it is go 4-2-7 while losing to all three promoted sides. That’s not a slight to those sides, two of whom look particularly decent, but this is not what was supposed to happen at this Everton.

Going back to these next five matches, a run which also adds a home League Cup quarterfinal against Leicester City, the Toffees can get something done and maybe a new manager bounce could play a role. Silva leaving will risk upsetting one of Everton’s only effective players in Richarlison, but how many Toffees might be buoyed by something new?

Hard to say. Even one win over Sheffield United, Norwich City, or Aston Villa would have the Toffees two points back of fifth. Now, they are legitimately staring down a 15-point menu which could reasonably yield zero points (though you’d reckon the inconsistent but talented Toffees will find a win or couple of draws in there, as one of their best performances this year came against Man City).

Complicating matters is the hierarchy’s very public and long pursuit of Silva. Surely they don’t want to have all the drama with Watford, which played a huge role in Silva’s firing from Vicarage Road, to look like a fruitless pursuit.

And can Toffees fans be sure that their leadership will find a promising figure, and not just a familiar retread like Sam Allardyce or David Moyes who will find a result or two and inevitable improvement to forsake the club’s future as a walking shepard’s tone in the short-term?

Ultimately, there may be reason enough via statistics to say that the club’s problems has been its gaffes, and that Silva might be able to right the ship. But in these managerial times, it’s more likely they find a new man to take the wheel. And, mark our words, be careful not to assume the new man has “fixed things” unless things go remarkably better. Still, given the schedule ahead and the weight of one of the world’s most charged derbies, it seems a change is due.

Sebastian Berhalter signs Homegrown deal with Columbus Crew

Columbus Crew signs Sebastian Berhalter
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The Columbus Crew have signed Sebastian Berhalter to a Homegrown Player deal.

The 19-year-old midfielder is the son of former Crew and current USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter.

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Sebastian played 17 times for the University of North Carolina as a freshman, starting nine of those games. He went 210 minutes in twin extra time matches to close UNC’s season.

Here’s Crew general manager Tim Bezbatchenko, via a team release:

“As a longtime member of the Crew SC Academy, Sebastian is someone who understands the values and ideology of our Club. We are happy to see him join the professional ranks after a successful year at the college level and look forward to his continued development with the Crew.”

Sebastian praised the role of his parents in his development in a video interview. Gregg was a UNC star in his college days before moving to Europe to play for PEC Zwolle, Crystal Palace, and Energie Cottbus amongst others.

“My parents have been very influential on my career,” said the player. “They’ve helped me so much. They’ve always stayed positive to me, but also pushed me in a good way and I cannot thank them enough.”

Sebastian repped the U.S. at the U-16 level. Could dad and he one day join Bob and Michael Bradley as father-son USMNT combos? That’s a long way off and presumes dad turns around the national team, but would be a remarkable achievement.

Manchester United triggers Bailly contract extension

Manchester United triggers Bailly contract extension
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Manchester United has picked up a two-year option on Eric Bailly‘s contract, according to Sky Sports.

The Red Devils now have the giant 25-year-old center back under wraps through the 2021/22 season.

Bailly is nearing full fitness after his latest injury setback, knee and ankle injuries costing him dozens of matches since arriving from Villarreal in 2016. He underwent knee surgery in late July.

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There’s little reason for United not to pick up the option, as Bailly could’ve left for free in the summer and the extension allows for a possible transfer fee.

That said, Bailly has been very good with healthy and in-form, especially in an exceptional debut season at Old Trafford. He has 34 caps for the Ivory Coast, and is nearing the prime age for a center back.

United visits Liverpool at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday, and Bailly is not expected to play.

The center back may get a chance to get to know Bruno Fernandes, who is being tipped for a $77 million transfer. He likely won’t see Ashley Young, who’s arrived in Milan ahead of a transfer to Inter.

Report: Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United after Lisbon Derby

Manchester United lands Bruno Fernandes
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Bruno Fernandes may get his move.

The 25-year-old Sporting Lisbon midfielder wants a move to Manchester United, and Sky Sports is reporting that the two clubs are close to agreeing on a fee.

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The move will cost $56 million and could escalate to $77 million with incentives, and that it could happen as soon as the end of Friday’s derby between Sporting and Benfica.

From Sky Sports:

Part of the negotiations over a deal for Fernandes included Manchester United not wanting him to play in Friday’s game but the player and Sporting insist that he was going to play in order to say a proper goodbye to the club and the supporters.

United will be crossing its fingers over Fernandes’ health during the 4:15 p.m. ET kickoff is Lisbon.

Sporting is already 12 points off the Champions League places, and 16 off Benfica’s title pace.

Fernandes has been red hot for Sporting, notching 15 goals and 13 assists in 25 appearances, including five and three in five Europa League outings.

He scored 32 times with 18 assists in 2018/19, and could take United’s Top Four push to a whole new level.

Liverpool’s Klopp rips AFCON move, says FIFA needs to step in but won’t

Liverpool's Klopp rips AFCON move
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Jurgen Klopp is furious about Cameroon moving the Africa Cup of Nations to January 2021, something that would hinder the Reds’ likely title defense.

(No, Klopp is not counting his title chickens before they hatch, even if it’s a foregone conclusion).

Cameroon moved the tournament from summer to winter due to its climate, which seems like a decision that could’ve been made ages ago. The nation had hosting rights stripped away for the 2019 tournament, but will host in 2021.

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The Reds could be without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita for the better part of a month should Senegal, Guinea, and Egypt all qualify for the tournament. Joel Matip could be there with hosts Cameroon if the federation is successful in convincing him to return to the international fold.

Klopp went on a lengthy and mostly understandable diatribe against the move. We write mostly because there’s something lost in translation regarding the import of the tournament.

He’s upset at how it will tax his squad and how he keeps the players happy if he needs to add players just to deal with one month of the schedule.

“Do we really want to open this book? I couldn’t respect Africa Cup of Nations more than I do, I like it, I’ve watched it a lot. Difficult circumstances a lot of times,” Klopp said, via The Liverpool Echo. “It is another tournament, there are too many of them. Other thing is it doesn’t help African players. We won’t sell Naby, Mo or Sadio because of it but if we bring someone in, it affects the decision. Normal process. We have to think about that. Players aren’t asked. … FIFA, who should [step in] doesn’t look like being involved. It’s a strange situation. If we want lesser games they will say take less money. I will say, I am ready to do so. Yes.”

He continued.

“For us it’s a catastrophe, If we say (a player) can’t go, he’s suspended. How can the club who pay his salary not decide. If he’s injured and we say he cannot play for us, we have to send him to Africa so they can have a look. We don’t have any say. We just plan the route. These are all things that should not be like this. I speak about it now and no one will listen. The moaner from Liverpool again. It’s a complete waste of time. As long as nothing changes, I will keep saying it. It’s about the players, not me.”

Manchester City (Riyad Mahrez), Arsenal (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang), and Leicester City (Wilfried Ndidi) are among the many clubs who could lose stars for a month.