This week, Everton weren’t too Everton.
The clouds parted. A glimmer of hope shines over Goodison Park once again.
But what do the numbers tell us?
Played every minute of last 15 Everton games
After failing to start any of Everton’s opening nine games of the season, Mason Holgate has come in and become Everton’s best defender.
The 23-year-old has absolutely blossomed into a fine ball-playing centre-half in recent months, significantly reducing the errors and lapses of confidence that had previous plagued his game.
It speaks volumes that he’s completed every minute of Everton’s last 15 games, while our other two more experienced centre backs, acquired for a combined £52 million, have had to battle it out between them for the other position.
Against Brighton, he had the highest pass completion rate (92.1%) on the field, while 10 of his 12 long balls were accurate.
Brazilian made most key passes on the pitch (4)
Everton’s diminutive winger was a menace in Brighton’s side, especially in the first half – and truly showed what the Blues have been lacking in his absence.
His unique style befuddles defenders, while his positive passing also creates lots of chances. In terms of style, he couldn’t be any different from Theo Walcott on the other side of the pitch, as the two players pass maps below clearly demonstrate.
Ancelotti’s Key Players
Six players have started in every game under the Italian
Jordan Pickford, Djibril Sidibe, Mason Holgate, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and… Gylfi Sigurdsson, have started all five of Carlo Ancelotti’s games in charge – despite a packed new year schedule.
Of course, the most controversial name on that list was Everton’s captain against Brighton, Gylfi.
The Icelandic midfielder has come in for intense criticism from the Goodison faithful this season, with Everton’s record signing simply failing to impose himself on games.
The reports this week that’s he could be chopped in the summer… unlikely. And any potential suitor would need deep pockets for a player that is out of form and now on the wrong side of 30.
The ‘playmaker’ has just one goal and one assist from 21 games so far this season.
Winning Games We Should Win
Ancelotti picks up maximum 9 points from teams in bottom half
Carlo Ancelotti has started his reign by beating all three (current) bottom half teams he’s faced – drawing level with the number of points Marco Silva picked up in his eight games against bottom half teams.
On paper, at least, Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton record already has one major difference to Marco Silva’s: he’s winning the games Everton are expected to win.
Ancelotti’s record so far, though, has more closely mirrored that of the first season of Ronald Koeman, by way of dispatching bottom half teams at Goodison.
And after all, this is of vital importance. By just beating the bottom 10 teams at home, you’ve already secured 30 “easy” points and are halfway towards a decent season with 28 games left to pick up 30+ points.
Carlo Ancelotti has beaten 22 of the 23 Premier League sides he’s faced…
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