Player: Muhamed Besic #17
Games Played: 31; Games Started: 20; Goals: 0; Assists: 0; Shots: 20; Shots on Goal: 3; Fouls Committed: 43; Fouls Suffered: 14; Yellow Cards: 11; Red Card: 0
After a few impressive showings for Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 2014 World Cup, Muhamed Besic seemed destined for the Premier League. Swansea City and Sunderland were interested in the former Hamburg player and even recent Europa League winners Sevilla were rumoured to be interested but the Toffees swooped in to sign Besic for £4million from Ferencvaros.
I can’t quite recall a player who has made such, an almost comical, mistake in his debut and still develop into a fans’ favourite. A minute before stoppage time, with Chelsea winning 5-3, Besic was handed his debut. The game, embarrassing enough defensively, sunk to a new low when the debutant miscued a back-heel which John Obi Mikel ran onto and then set up Diego Costa for his second and Chelsea’s sixth.
What He Did Well
Despite that nightmare start, Besic grew on Evertonians and into an Everton shirt game after game. Roberto Martinez said during the season that Besic was a ‘typical Everton player’ and that was why Toffees fans took to him so quickly. The way Evertonians took to Besic reminded me of how Blues supporters took to John Heitinga (both with similar styles of play and both being hard men). Besic’s hard working and no nonsense tackling was evident right from the off in the Goodison pre-season friendly against FC Porto. It is those sort of traits that Martinez is referring to when describing a typical Everton player.
In a period of the season were James McCarthy was out injured Besic got his chance and with Gareth Barry struggling for form alongside him, it was the raw the 22-year-old who held the midfield together. At times with the ball he looked nervy and others too complacent but after a run of starts looked to be maturing and finding a fix between the two, by playing more sensibly but still expressing himself – something the manager encourages.
When Besic arrived he came with a reputation of someone with a short temper and a player who struggled with authority. Perhaps that reputation was about another Bosnian midfielder/centre-half because there was no such evidence of it being true. Granted, Besic did receive yellow cards but there wasn’t one game were a second one looked likely.
Another example of Besic’s excellent temperament was on the international stage. I remember watching Wales vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina because I had a bet on Gareth Bale to score anytime. Like he did with Lionel Messi in the World Cup, Besic man-marked Bale from 0 to 90 minutes and at one stage even I didn’t want Bale to get ahead of Mo and score because it was such a complete man-marking performance and deserved a clean sheet.
What He Could Have Done Better
Coming from the midfielder’s perspective looking back on his first season, he would probably be wanting more starts in the next campaign. Gareth Barry talked in the closing stages of this season that it wasn’t the plan for him to play so many games but he did because of other players’ injuries. I would imagine that plan for Barry will stay in place for next season, in which case a little rotation will provide Besic with more starts.
More game time for Besic will only help him to develop into the composed defensive midfielder he has the potential to be. Furthermore, as Besic gets more minutes under his belt we might see him revert back to the position he started his career at; centre-half, a position that already needs filling with the departures of Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz.
Whether or not Besic drops back one to centre back or stays as a defensive midfielder he must improve on the amount of yellow cards he received. The amount of yellows is probably the only thing Besic could have done better with this season. In the position he plays it is understandable that he will get a few cautions and perhaps getting so many was Besic adapting to pace of the league. Eight of the eleven yellow cards he got were in the league, two more and the German-born midfielder would have had a two-match ban – something any player looking to develop into a key member of the squad should look to avoid.
As we have with the previous player reviews, on rating Besic’s season A would be for a great season, F really poor and C in between. With the A+ to F grading system, how would you rate Mo’s debut Everton season?
Once you have voted, please post your views on the comments section below.