Player: Darron Gibson, #4
GS: Games Started, SB: Used as Substitute, G: Goals, A: Assists, SH: Shots, SG: Shots on goal, YC: Yellow Cards, RC: Red Cards, FC: Fouls Committed, FS: Fouls Suffered.
Darron Gibson continued to build on the solid start to his Everton career throughout 2012/13. The former Manchester United man does a superb job of anchoring the midfield, adding a calming presence and dictating the pace of Everton's play - it is no surprise that results tend to be better when he is in the side. Everton only lost five games when Gibson started last season, two of those were away at Manchester United and Chelsea while West Brom’s two goals at the Hawthorns in September came after he had limped off injured. And therein lies the problem. That injury against the Baggies was a persistent thigh complaint that saw him miss three months in the autumn. Even when he returned to the side it was revealed he was “managing” the injury and he may need an operation over the summer, with fears it may dog him for the rest of his career.
What he did well
A lot of the work that goes unnoticed - namely winning the ball and turning over possession. Everton tend to build their attacks down the flanks, with two wingers and two attacking full backs. Gibson, therefore, plays a vital anchoring role, shielding the back four before spreading it out wide. His absence is always keenly felt.
What he could do better
His thigh injury is clearly a worry. He pulled up against West Brom in September by simply playing a scooped pass. If I am being ultra critical, then he could also add more goals to his game. His deeper role at Everton means he isn't expected to contribute too many goals, but his fearsome shot could be put to better use.
Using the school grading system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season, C an average season, and F a very poor season, how do you grade Darron Gibson on his performance this year according to the expectations you had for him?