I’ve preached for two months that Theo Walcott hasn’t been contributing enough on Everton’s right wing, with the pacey wide man coming bottom of the charts for the number of touches among Everton outfield players for eight consecutive matches.
On Wednesday, Ademola Lookman finally got his first start of the season… and received mixed reviews.
Life can be tough on the wing, if you don’t score or set up a goal, you’re normally adjudged to have a “quiet” or even a “bad” game.
And while Lookman’s outing wasn’t particularly eye-catching, the fundamentals of his performance where significantly better than Walcott has been demonstrating.
To provide a few examples of this, in 77 minutes Lookman had more touches (60), completed more dribbles (3) and earned more fouls (3) than Walcott has managed in ANY match this season.
But that’s just the start. Below is a run through of how Lookman’s stats against Newcastle compared to Walcott’s average numbers at Goodison this season.
Lookman against Newcastle v Walcott Average (at Goodison)
Shots: 1 v 1.5 (Walcott wins)
Key Passes: 1 v 0.7 (Lookman wins)
Passes: 36 v 22 (Lookman wins)
Passing Accuracy: 88.9% v 77.4% (Lookman wins)
Aerials Won: 1 v 0.4 (Lookman wins)
Dribbles: 3 v 1.1 (Lookman wins)
Fouled: 3 v 0.8 (Lookman wins)
Bad Touches: 2 v 3.3 (Lookman wins)
Tackles: 3 v 0.5 (Lookman wins)
Interceptions: 0 v 0.5 (Walcott wins)
Crosses: 3 v 0.5 (Lookman wins)
As you can see, pretty much across board, Lookman performed better against Newcastle than Walcott has this season.
It might not have been the spectacular first start of the season that many had been hoping for, but his contribution to the team was undoubtedly greater. Lookman got on the ball more often, showed a better touch, kept the ball better, attacked the opposition defence more and also contributed more defensively. He may have lacked a goal or assist, but this was a fundamental improvement on Everton’s right wing.
It wasn’t spectacular, but it should be enough to put Lookman ahead of Walcott in the pecking order for now.