Everton faced their biggest test of the season to date, taking on unbeaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Marco Silva’s side put in an impressive performance, going toe-to-toe with the Londoners in the first half before putting in an excellent second half defensive display to hold on to a point.
But what did the numbers tell us about the performance?
Sigurdsson Instrumental in Defence and Attack
4 tackles and 4 interceptions from the playmaker
While best-known for his magnificent right peg, the Icelandic international is leading by example across the pitch for Everton.
For once, it was not Idrissa Gana Gueye to break up the most play for Everton, but our creative playmaker. Sigurdsson made four tackles and four interceptions for the Toffees, showing just how key he is to Marco Silva’s system. He is looking every bit the £45 million player Everton indulged on last summer.
Walcott Remains Anonymous
Had fewest touches of any player to complete game again
For the past five consecutive matches, Theo Walcott has had the fewest touches of any starting Everton player. This week he had the second fewest, with just Richarlison (31) – who came off in the 88th minute - touching the ball less than the right winger (35).
But it’s not just the lack of ball-time Walcott that is concerning, he also contributes the least of Everton’s front four defensively. By comparison, Sigurdsson made four tackles and four interceptions against Chelsea; Bernard made two tackles and three interceptions; Walcott made just two tackles. And this wasn’t a one-off – this is a pattern that is emerging week after week.
Undoubtedly one of Walcott’s biggest strengths are his dangerous runs behind defensive lines – and he had a great chance with such a move at Stamford Bridge, but his touch when through on goal let him down. If Walcott is going to continue to play on the periphery for large periods of the game, he simply has to take such chances when they’re presented to him.
With Ademola Lookman again impressing when emerging from the bench, he’s surely due a shot at a starting position soon – and Walcott will likely be the man to make way.
Only Willian matched Digne’s 7 crosses
Last week we saw that Everton put in the most crosses in the Premier League, with Digne key to those numbers.
The Frenchman was in fine form at Stamford Bridge and could have had two assists to his name after delivering two sumptuous set pieces in the opening five minutes – but neither Andre Gomes nor Yerry Mina could convert.
Highest passing accuracy of any outfield player (90.6%)
I’ll be the first to admit I was very skeptical when Everton signed Yerry Mina in the summer. It felt like a signing made on the whim on the back of some decent World Cup performances.
But the giant Colombian put in a very assured performance against Chelsea, looking extremely confident on the ball, while also keeping Chelsea’s attacking threat nullified for much of the game.
Mina completed 90.6% of his 32 passes, the most of any outfield player on the pitch. Remarkably, Chelsea’s keeper, Kepa, completed 100% of his passes. Although admittedly 26 of his 27 passes were made short.
Another Clean Sheet
Just 3 goals conceded in last 6 games
One of the biggest concerns in the early days of Marco Silva’s reign involved Everton’s defence.
In pre-season, the Blues conceded 10 goals in their final three games, before hardly shoring things up in the opening games, letting in 11 goals in the first six games of the season.
But things have improved immensely at the back in recent weeks, with the Blues conceding just three goals in their past six games.