Admittedly, this was a fixture against the worst team in the league, but the Blues exploded out of the blocks and kept plugging away even when they were reduced down to 10-men.
It wasn’t pretty, but what do the numbers tell us about the performance?
Tosun Excels Up Top
Tireless performance from the striker
After being linked with a move away from the club this week, Cenk Tosun was reinstated to the starting line up in Yorkshire and put in a full-blooded performance. Indeed, despite not getting on the scoresheet, Tosun led the line better than any Everton player has managed this season.
The centre-forward role has looked like a sacrificial position for Everton so far this campaign, but the Turkish international topped the charts for most passes and most touches of any of Everton’s midfield or forward players in the first half.
He played on the edge at times, but it was exactly the type of performance Everton needed.
Second clean sheet away from home this season
And, as was the case with Cenk, Everton’s defence needed a solid performance after conceding a lot of sloppy goals of late. The Blues looked a lot more robust from set pieces, with Pickford only being called into action with two excellent stops following Lucas Digne’s sending off.
It was also a solid performance from Leighton Baines, who showed he still has plenty to offer. Although it was very disappointing to see him go off with a seeming rib injury. Hopefully he can shake it offer and remain in the line-up during the Frenchman’s suspension.
Gomes Deep, Davies Box-to-Box
The new Everton midfield combination?
With the news that Idrissa Gueye looks set to joining Paris Saint-Germain, it was no great surprise to see Tom Davies back in the line-up. And it was the youngster who cleverly teed up Everton’s early goal, before going on to put in an excellent, mature performance.
Davies is often unfairly criticised by the Everton faithful, who seem to forget he is still just 20 years old. His passing can be erratic at times, but he also boasts an outstanding one-touch game and has incredible composure for such a young midfielder.
Everton set up interestingly against Huddersfield, with Andre Gomes often dropping between the two centre-halves while the Blues were in possession, leaving Davies to do an admirable box-to-box job, as you can see in the average positions below.
Assuming Gueye does go, it would be good to see a youngster like Davies (or even Beni Benigime or Joe Williams) get a significant run in the team to see if they can become an important player for Everton ahead of next season.
Changes Reap Rewards
Silva started five different players in yesterday’s lineup
Since being appointed in the summer, Marco Silva has been very conservative with his starting line-ups, opting to make few or no changes if it can be avoided.
While this approach is all well and good when things are going well, Everton needed to reboot after the weekend and all the players that came in to the line-up (Baines, Davies, Bernard, Tosun and Kurt Zouma) were probably the Blues’ five best players on the night.
It would be good to see Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison rested in the coming weeks too, as neither quite look the same force they were at the start of the season – which may well be due to the fact that both played almost all of the festive fixtures.
Everton won the ball 25 times in the opponent’s half
A good old-fashioned bit of rough and tumble in the first half helped Everton look reminiscent of the side that was flying through October and November.
It was by no stretch a perfect performance, but it was a gritty one – and, indeed, one that clearly showed the players are still buying into the Marco Silva philosophy. Results have been disappointing and confidence is low, but this is nowhere near horrific performances found at the end of Ronald Koeman’s spell in charge.
It’s not coming together quite yet, but the pieces are certainly there.