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Everton 2019-20 Season Preview: Wingers

How do things look in the wide areas of attack?

SV Werder Bremen v FC Everton - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Cathrin Mueller/Getty Images

Players

2018-19 Everton Wingers

Player Minutes Goals Assists xG+xA/90
Player Minutes Goals Assists xG+xA/90
Richarlison 2679 14 2 0.44
Alex Iwobi 1976 6 9 0.52
Bernard 2129 2 4 0.25
Theo Walcott 2124 6 2 0.40

Tactics

I tell you what, the links all summer to Wilfried Zaha had me extremely worried. Not just over the fee, nor even primarily over the fee, but because Zaha would have given us three presumed starters (including Richarlison and Kean) who are all shoot first players who provide very little open play chance creation.

Enter Alex Iwobi. Now, I think Iwobi will push Richarlison over to the right side so that the former Arsenal man can play down the left. Here is how the two wingers statistically profile compared to each other:

understat.com

Notice how well the two complement each other. Iwobi brings a lot of creative characteristics and Richarlison is much more of a goalscorer. Neither is what I consider to be a great dribbler (they both hover around a 50% success rate) but both are good enough at it that neither wing can be ignored, and combined with a strong finisher in the middle can be a very coherent attack. Per smarterscout.com, Iwobi’s style of play profiles similar to that of Franck Ribery with Bayern Munich, a well rounded winger who is excellent in supporting buildup play. Iwobi might not always be the guy to put in the final key pass, but he will usually be very involved in the move to get there.

In reserve, we still have Theo Walcott and Bernard. What I love about the current depth situation is that each of our backups stylistically favors one of our starters. We can put Walcott in for Richarlison and the style stays the same, or we can put Bernard in for Iwobi and, while we lose a lot of physical presence inserting the 5’5” Brazilian, we still have a wide creator on the pitch. Having our creative wingers on the left also allows them to combine with Lucas Digne who was our best open play creator last season.

State of the Position

Getting Iwobi on deadline day probably means waiting a few weeks for him to get settled in a new system and environment, but I’m absolutely thrilled with the winger situation right now. When Ademola Lookman was sold and Henry Onyekuru’s work permit situation continued to be a problem I had some serious concerns. However, while I would still like to see a young replacement for Theo Walcott in the next season or two I think we have four wingers that can be relied on over the course of a Premier League season. All hail Marcel Brands, the deadline day wizard.

The combination of Marco Silva and the options we have in attack should provide very exciting football. I expect us to be very dangerous in counterattacking situations and with Iwobi on board we also have the ability to build patiently as well. Winger can now be considered one of the strengths of our roster.