But what did the numbers tell us about this performance?
First Goal Key
Blues last five wins have come after opening scoring inside 25 minutes
Under Marco Silva, if Everton hadn’t opened the scoring inside 20 minutes, you could pretty much guarantee that they wouldn’t win.
And while the Blues aren’t quite so extreme anymore – getting the first goal (especially in the opening 25 minutes) is still key to our success.
Under Ancelotti, Everton have now played 32 Premier League games. In those games they have opened the scoring 16 times, and have conceded first 15 times, with one nil-nil.
After scoring first, Everton’s results have been:
Win: 12 (75%) | Draw: 2 (12.5%) | Loss: 2 (12.5%)
After conceding first, Everton’s results have been:
Win: 2 (13.3%) | Draw: 5 (33.3%) | Loss: 8 (53.3%)
Now, obviously scoring first is a big advantage. But, for example, last season Liverpool won 62.5% of the game’s in which they went behind, losing just 25% (2 out of 8 occasions) after doing so.
When skies are Blue, Everton don’t have many problems. But turning things around is still one of team’s biggest underlying issues.
Editor’s Note: For perspective, here’s some data for the Premier League, albeit a few years old. Top four teams on average win about 88% of games they score first in, while teams that end up in 9th-12th win about 75% of games that they take the initial lead in.
Backs to the Wall
Everton have success in ceding possession once again
Despite the previous point, Everton don’t necessarily struggle with adversity. Indeed, if the last two performances have shown us anything, it’s that the Blues seem to prefer having their backs to the wall.
Against Chelsea at the weekend, the Blues won despite seeing just 28% of the ball. Against Leicester, they had it 39% of the time. But again, the Blues looked solid at the back and dangerous going forward.
After dominating possession against the likes of Burnley and Newcastle, but creating next to nothing, it feels like the Everton psyche is still better equipped to being a slight underdog rather than being the overlord. With Allan likely out for some time, how does that change?
Consecutive Clean Sheets
Four central defenders provides an answer again
I must admit that I was sceptical when I first saw Carlo lining up with four central defenders. Not necessarily because I didn’t think they could keep the opposition out, but more because I thought it may restrict our attacking output.
But the Blues have looked rock solid with their sitting full-backs and it has instead unshackled the some of the defensive duties of the central midfield and wingers, allowing us to commit several players forward without fear of reprisal.
Everton have won back-to-back league games without conceding a goal for the first time since March-April 2019. #EFC— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) December 16, 2020
88% pass success, 13 recoveries
After Allan went off injured, Abdoulaye Doucoure rose to the challenge and put in what could well have been his best performance in a “blue” (mint green, I believe they call it) shirt.
He was a massive presence in defence with some key interceptions and tackles, while his passing was also on point (88% success rate) and, as you can see from his heatmap, he was everywhere for Everton.
Abdoulaye Doucoure's stats vs Leicester:— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) December 16, 2020
Touches - 60
Successful passes - 43
Successful forward passes - 19
Successful attacking third passes - 8
Successful long balls - 3
Pass accuracy - 88%
Recoveries - 13
Successful tackles - 2
Interceptions - 2
Fouls won - 1#EFC #LEIEVE
Back in the Mix
After being the early league leaders, the Blues went into freefall during what was their easiest run of fixtures.
Yet as the tougher fixtures have returned, so have the mighty Blues. Everton are a perplexing entity at the best of times.
What is interesting, though, is that this looks set to be possibly the most open Premier League ever. It’s not just a “big six”, there’s a new pack of clubs (including Everton) that are now in the running, with Leicester, Southampton, Wolves and Leeds all looking like very capable this season - just two wins (six points) separate the Blues in 5th, and Newcastle in 14th.
This season is a big opportunity for Everton to make our mark. But we’ve got to find a positive consistency.