In a season that has seen attacking youngsters flourish; Kevin Mirallas has been consistent and, at times, essential for Everton. While his quality is undoubted, it is hard to find an Evertonian who thinks he couldn't do more, and so this year has been a bit hit and miss for the Belgian as the arrival of Gerard Deulofeu and the emergence of Ross Barkley led to more competition for starting places.
With Roberto Martinez bringing his attacking flair to Goodison Park, many supporters expected Mirallas to flourish in his second season at the club following his impressive debut season the year before. Although to say he has not improved would be a lie, it is fair to be slightly disappointed that he has not contributed more from a goal scoring side of things.
Compared to last season's statistics, Squawka's statistics show that Mirallas has improved his overall performance score from 609 last year to 629 this year. He has also managed to improve on his tally of 6 goals, netting 8 times this season. This increase in goal tally has also seen an increase in his total number of shots, increasing from 44 to 55. Worryingly though, his shot accuracy has decreased considerably from last seasons 64% to a score of 49% this year. If somehow Martinez can figure out a way to improve that statistic, then Everton could have a real goal threat in their arsenal.
Many will argue that there was less of a striking burden on him this year with the introduction of Romelu Lukaku so this statistic is unimportant. However, a criticism often aimed at Mirallas is that he should score more goals, and considering Lukaku's stay here this year, I was disappointed to not see him score more through linking up with his fellow Belgian.
Although his somewhat disappointing goal return is often used to criticise Mirallas, nobody can argue that he creates chances and is a talented individual. Somewhat in contrast to the number of goals column stands the total chances created column, where the Belgian has significantly improve this year under Martinez's tutelage. Whereas last season he finished the campaign with a total of 43 chances created, this year he has finished with a total of 61.
A similar improvement can be seen in the assists column, whereas last season he only had 3 to his name, this year saw that total increased to 8. On that evidence, it can be argued that Mirallas has adapted his game this year to be more of the winger that this Everton side needs, sacrificing his attacking intentions in the process.
Further emphasising that previous point is the fact he has managed to put in a total of 98 crosses this year, compared to last years total of 69. Had Everton's strikers been more on their game, we may have seen the Belgian with significantly more assists to his name this year, and thus having had a much better season in the process. It must also be recognised that he has been supremely unlucky at points this year, hitting the bar and post at Stoke, where Everton dominated the game and deserved to win, being a prime example.
All in all, Kevin Mirallas has improved under Roberto Martinez this year, with more goals, assists and chances created to his name. However, it has been disappointing to see him not properly kick on and get more goals, though this side of his game may have been sacrificed somewhat with Lukaku shouldering goal scoring responsibilities. Regardless, the Belgian continues to be an important member of Everton's first team squad, and I for one am looking forward to seeing him improve even further next year, especially with the added European games.
How do you rate Mirallas this year? Comment below!