Another early red card, another lead lost, but what can we take from Everton’s 2-2 draw at AFC Bournemouth, in a game full of controversy?
Let’s have a look at the numbers…
Dominant display from centre-half
After a tough first season at Goodison Park, Michael Keane has looked much more composed in the opening weeks of 2018/19, typified by what was probably his best display in an Everton shirt at Bournemouth.
The 25-year-old won the most aerial duels on the pitch (5), had the highest pass success rate in an Everton shirt (87%) and was rewarded with a goal – as the former Burnley man once again proved to be a real threat at setpieces.
Such a performance was rewarded in true Everton fashion… as Keane picked up an awful head injury following a collision with Idrissa Gana Gueye, with Keane again putting his body on the line, leaving the pitch on a stretcher.
Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery and more performances like this from the big man.
Goals Galore AGAIN
Both teams score once again
If Evertonians were bored under Sam Allardyce, the same certainly can’t be said with Marco Silva.
Each of his opening three matches have seen both teams score, with Everton netting six and conceding five.
Of course, league encounters with Bournemouth are never boring, with 23 goals in the sides’ last six Premier League meetings.
Another First Half Red
But the Blues aren’t dirty…
On the face of it, Everton’s disciplinary record at the start of the season seems awful having picked up two straight red cards in just three games.
But following Saturday’s games, Everton have conceded the third least amount of fouls in the league – averaging just 8.3 per game.
Indeed, quite the opposite is true. Everton have been the joint-second most fouled team in the league, on the receiving end of 13.3 fouls per game.
Despite just being three games into the campaign, Everton have already received more straight red cards than in any of the previous six seasons. Don’t expect the red card frenzy to continue.
Sigurdsson Cross Master
Superb distribution again from the Icelandic playmaker
Despite being forced to cover on the left following Richarlison’s first half dismissal, Gylfi Sigurdsson was again one of Everton’s star performers.
His delivery from set pieces is nothing short of exceptional, and the Icelandic international put in eight crosses during the match – a remarkable five of which found a Blue shirt.
There’s no doubt the crossing ability of Sigurdsson and the aerial prowess of Keane are going to cause countless problems at set pieces this term, just as they have for the past two weeks.
Young Blues Rise to Surface
Average age of 25.9 in starting XI
Marco Silva has made no unforced changes to his side since the season opener at Wolves, with just Mason Holgate coming in for the suspended Phil Jagielka and Tom Davies replacing the injured Morgan Schneiderlin.
But these two replacements should give a lot of hope to Everton’s other young guns.
Injuries and suspensions throughout the season will happen. So the likes of Kieran Dowell, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and – especially – Ademola Lookman should be poised and ready to take their chance, just as Davies and Holgate have.
Competition in the squad is the best it’s been in a generation at Everton, with Marco Silva meeting his objective of having at least two players in every position – meaning even the new star signings are finding it tough to make the matchday squad, let alone the starting eleven.
Brands and Silva have met their early objectives of balancing out the squad and giving youth a chance. So let’s see where that takes us.