It was far from comfortable. But Everton finally snuck into the EFL Cup Third Round thanks to two late goals at Sincil Bank.
But what do the numbers tell us about this performance?
Goals, goals, goals
Same amount of goals as in last 10 games combined
Okay. Let’s mention the elephant in the room: this was a win over a League One side.
But after a run of 10 games (including pre-season) in which the Blues have failed to score more than one goal, Everton rattled in four here.
Finally, the shackles were let off and Everton created a host of chances. Yes, it was against a third-tier side, but it was great to see the Blues unrestricted going forward – with new signings Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean central to this dynamic display.
Everton had a whopping 24 shots on goal at Sincil Bank, eight of which were on target and four of which ended up in the back of the net.
79.5% pass success. Hit post. Constant threat.
Start him. Beast.
Averages a free-kick goal every 13.6 games
When Leighton Baines was rumoured to be replaced in the summer of 2018, I had basically accepted that there was no way we find a left-back of his ilk for a long time.
Then we signed Lucas Digne. And a better Baines replacement he couldn’t be.
Like the Kirkby-born left-back, he dominates the game from out wide, creates tonnes of chances, has a wonderful left peg, bundles of energy and strikes a mean free-kick.
Indeed, his strike against Lincoln may be his best yet, but you can bet it won’t be his last.
And to give you even more of a view how effective is from free-kick situations, Baines managed six goals from free-kicks in 411 appearances (1 in 68.5), while Digne has already netted three in 41 (1 in 13.6) – a stat all the more impressive when you consider that David Beckham only averaged a goal from a Premier League free-kick every 17.6 games.
I love my Baines. And I love my Digne too.
Made 6 key passes and was instrumental going forward
Gylfi Sigurdsson hasn’t had the best start to the season and has come in for criticism from some quarters, but he was instrumental against Lincoln – making six key passes, having four shots, scoring a pen and completing an excellent 89.7% of his passes.
I’ve felt for Gylfi when he comes in for criticism for being “too passive” in games, as the position he plays is an tremendously difficult one. If the build-up play from Everton’s defence is too slow, it effectively makes it impossible for him to play due to the lack of space available. When Everton play quickly through the lines, Gylfi thrives. We just need to give him the chance to do so.
Holgate Showing Quality?
Completed 10 out of 11 long balls
Another player that doesn’t seem to have the faith of the Everton faithful is Mason Holgate.
He’s far from the finished article, but he is very comfortable on the ball and is defensibly reasonable – and, dare I say it, has a certainly playing semblance to John Stones.
Indeed, Holgate demonstrated some of the qualities in his game by completing 10 of his 11 long passes – numbers which Michael Keane and Yerry Mina can only dream of.
His season is essentially dependent on the fitness of Keane and Mina, but if he does get his chance, he simply has to shine.