No Game? No Problem. More Numbers!

Pienaar and Fellaini, a match made in hair heaven

Hurray for ridiculous international breaks. After only three games it’s hard to use this break to say anything definitive about Everton’s season so far. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try anyway. So after the jump, a whole bunch of stats about how Everton’s stack-up in any number of categories. Spoiler alert—They stack up pretty awesomely.

Before we get started, just a quick note. All these charts are from the people over at EPLindex.com. Hopefully I’ll be using more of their stuff in the coming weeks. It makes a handy companion to some of the graphs I’ve been throwing your way. Ok, now onto the numbers. I’ve been focusing a lot on offense this year, and I’m not stopping today. Everton is a very good defensive team. It’s a Moyes hallmark. But this year, through three games their offense is something to behold (despite being shutout against West Brom). That’s made even more remarkable when you consider that in three games the boys have played Manchester United at home, and then gone on the road twice. Generally speaking that would be a recipe for good old fashioned Moyes conservatism, but not this year. So, first lets look at passes in the final third.

#
Club

Player Name

TP

TDP

DA%

TAP

AA%

FTP

FT%

PD%

PA%

FH%
1 arsenal.png Santiago Cazorla 242 54 96.3 188 83.51 88 87.5 22.31 77.69 36.36
2 man-city.png Gnegneri Yaya Touré 301 109 97.25 192 86.98 87 79.31 36.21 63.79 28.9
3 man-city.png Samir Nasri 194 47 97.87 147 82.31 86 87.21 24.23 75.77 44.33
4 chelsea.png Eden Hazard 159 36 86.11 123 86.99 83 89.16 22.64 77.36 52.2
5 man-city.png Carlos Tévez 135 19 84.21 116 80.17 76 82.89 14.07 85.93 56.3
6 man-utd.png Tom Cleverley 219 76 93.42 143 89.51 74 90.54 34.7 65.3 33.79
7 man-utd.png Shinji Kagawa 170 49 93.88 121 88.43 72 86.11 28.82 71.18 42.35
8 everton.png Steven Pienaar 140 21 95.24 119 78.99 71 78.87 15 85 50.71
9 man-utd.png Luis Antonio Valencia 183 49 91.84 134 69.4 69 85.51 26.78 73.22 37.7
10 liverpool.png Glen Johnson 184 86 94.19 98 71.43 68 70.59 46.74 53.26 36.96

As you can see Pienaar comes in 8th in the league in passes attempted in the final third of the field. That’s striking for a number of reasons. Obviously he’s in some pretty elite company. Only players from the two Manchesters, Chelsea and Arsenal are ahead of him. But, if we dig into the stats further there are some interesting trends to look at. Of the players in the top ten it’s Pienaar and City’s Carlos Teves who have attempted by far the highest percentage of their passes in the attacking half, at over 85%. Now, from a center forward like Tevez that’s probably to be expected, but from Pienaar, who plays on the wing it’s a somewhat surprising development. The numbers are another reminder that Everton are relying extremely heavily on playing long balls to Fellaini and having him lay the ball of to Pienaar and Baines to initiate attacks. When you also consider that Fellaini is tied for second in shots in the EPL this season and it really highlights that in many ways he is playing as a second striker this season, staying high up the pitch, offering himself as an outlet and then getting into the box to finish.

So, it will come as no surprise to see how dominant Fellaini is at winning possession of the ball in midfield and attacking areas. The stats below speak for themselves. Fellaini is 7th in the league at total possessions won (and in an interesting side note, Darren Gibson just missed being on the graphic, he's at 11). The big Belgian wins the ball the 6th most frequently in the attacking third of anybody in the league, and combines that with winning it the 16th most frequently in the midfield. Darren Gibson also featured prominently on the midfield list, winning the ball in those areas the 5th most frequently in the league.

#
Club

Player Name

MPD

TA

MPT

TPW

MPW

MDP

MMP

MAP

MPI

MLP
1 spurs.png Benoit Assou-Ekotto 270 3 1.1 31 8.71 11.74 38.57 270 54 4.82
2 arsenal.png Vassiriki Abou Diaby 249 3 1 29 8.59 24.9 15.56 83 35.57 4.7
3 west-brom.png Youssuf Mulumbu 270 3 1.38 27 10 16.88 27 270 54 6.75
4 liverpool.png Joe Allen 270 3 1.24 26 10.38 22.5 19.29 0 27 15
5 newcastle.png Jonás Gutiérrez 266 3 1.53 25 10.64 26.6 17.73 0 66.5 7
6 west-ham.png Mark Noble 270 3 1.21 24 11.25 54 19.29 54 135 7.94
7 everton.png Marouane Fellaini 269 3 1.38 23 11.7 53.8 19.21 67.25 134.5 5.98
8 chelsea.png Ashley Cole 270 3 1.27 22 12.27 16.88 54 270 30 11.74
9 swansea.png Nathan Dyer 257 3 1.27 22 11.68 23.36 23.36 0 257 4.67
10 southampton.png Adam Lallana 259 3 1.33 21 12.33 28.78 25.9 129.5 23.55 5.08

So, what have we learned? Well, first and foremost, through three games Everton have been excellent at executing their game plan. And that's great. But, over the next month or so it is pretty apparent that defending Fellaini will be opposing team's number one goal. That raises two questions. First, will Fellaini be able to rise to the occasion, and thrive despite the added attention? And second, what is David Moyes' plan B. Does the team have another line of attack if the Fellaini focal point is dampened? If the answer is no, we're liable to see a lot of listless performances. If they answer is yes, well then Everton could be a very very good team.




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