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5 Telling Stats from Everton’s Cumbersome 3-1 Defeat to Man Utd

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A third loss in a row. But what did the numbers tell us?

Everton v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Carl Recine - Pool/Getty Images

It’s fair to say Everton’s new season honeymoon is well and truly over.

After disappointing defeats against Southampton and Newcastle, the Blues performance against Manchester United showed that old habits do die hard.

So, what did the numbers tell us?

“Instinctive” Pickford

20 Long Balls

Ahead of his return to the team, Carlo Ancelotti wisely suggested that Jordan Pickford should trust and follow his instincts more.

And, especially early on in the game, Pickford’s instincts seemed to be telling him to go long at nearly every opportunity.

Indeed, against United, over 50% of Pickford passes were long balls (20), a reasonable eight of which were successful and one of which helped set up Bernard’s opener. This stat is in stark comparison to his last outing, which saw him play just five long balls against Southampton.

This is no criticism, either. Pickford’s range of passing is one of his biggest skills, so to see him go route one a bit more frequently is no problem.

Of course, although he wasn’t at fault for any of the United goals, Pickford did once again have one of his all-too-regular “moments of madness”, dropping a deep cross at the feet of Harry Maguire before immediately clattering into the big centre-back (almost van Dijk-style) simultaneously with Michael Keane. Luckily a penalty wasn’t awarded, but it certainly could have been.

Everton v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Sideways

38% of passes were backwards

The rest of Everton’s line up could have actually learned a thing or two from Pickford’s punts.

Once again (as has been the case for the past two games and most recent seasons), the Blues are too slow and too conservative on the ball, often looking to play a safe sideways or backwards pass rather than playing it through the opposition lines.

In total 38% of Everton’s passes were backwards, while you can see Everton’s classic lack of penetration very clearly in the below heatmap (Everton top, United bottom).

Everton (top) v Man Utd (bottom) Heatmap
WhoScored

Leaky

Everton have conceded the same number of goals as bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United (14)

A change of defensive partnership brought no change in terms of conceding goals.

Only West Bromwich Albion, Fulham, Leeds United and Liverpool (7-2 lol), have conceded more goals in the league than the Blues so far this season.

When the goals are flying in at the right end, we can brush over some goals conceded. But when our goals dry up, it leaves us in a pickle.

Richarlison

Everton have never won a game Richarlison has missed since he joined

After his late sending off in the derby, Everton have lost all three games he’s missed through suspension, scoring just twice in the process.

Although Bernard looked very bright in the first half, he faded badly in the second and was never able to really support Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the Everton penalty area. Indeed, DCL has looked incredibly isolated in the last three games without Richarlison joining him from the left-wing.

Anthony Gordon

Prospect doesn’t make the bench again

Anyone speaks to me with any kind of frequency about Everton is probably sick to the back teeth of me going on about Anthony Gordon.

But once again, he didn’t even make the matchday squad.

After opting to play five central midfielders and no wingers last week, Carlo this time opted for two centre-backs and two central midfielders on the bench ahead of Gordon this time out.

And with Everton chasing the game and lacking any kind of creativity or directness, Carlo could only turn to Alex Iwobi and Cenk Tosun for answers, having hamstrung himself with a lack of attacking options on the bench.

It seems bizarre that Gordon – who performed excellently in the EFL Cup when called upon – has been limited to just one 32-minute cameo (against Saints) this season, especially when the Blues have been missing Richarlison for the last three games.

He’s at a crucial stage of his development and he needs game time. If that won’t be at Everton this season, I hope the club has a loan move ready so that he can start tearing up the Championship on January 1st.

Everton Training Session Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images