In what was probably Everton’s biggest game of the season so far, the Blues limped to defeat. It was a performance that lacked both quality and ambition.
But what did the numbers tell us?
Playing for Pens?
Just three players had a shot for Everton
After weathering an early onslaught, it felt like Everton’s only plan in this tie was try to take United to the coin toss of a penalty shootout.
Everton summoned just seven shots on goal in total, shared among just three players: Ben Godfrey (2), Gylfi Sigurdsson (4) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (1) – none of which came close to putting Dean Henderson’s clean sheet in jeopardy.
Indeed, the Blues didn’t summon so much as a shot on target in the second half.
Everton turn to Davies, Bernard + Tosun to beat Manchester United
United made nine changes for this game, but still managed to put out a starting 11 that cost well over £300 million, as well as a further £70 million of talent from the bench.
Of course, Evertonians know as well as anyone that big fees don’t necessarily mean big players, but when United could turn to Rashford and Martial from the bench for a goal, while Everton could only bring on Davies, Bernard and Tosun, it speaks volumes.
Lack of Quality
Everton played just three successful passes/crosses into the box
Another real issue for Everton here was a real lack of quality on the ball in the opposition’s half.
In the graphics below, you can see Everton managed just three successful passes and crosses into the box in open play, whereas United managed 14.
DCL “Dry” Spell
Striker without a goal in four
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Calvert-Lewin’s goals have dried up since Lucas Digne and James Rodriguez have been out injured.
Both players are key in creating chances for Everton. Digne, in particular, has been DCL’s primary feeder this season, assisting four goals for Everton’s number nine in the league.
Everton main have looked tighter at the back with the sitting full-back experiment, but it has come at the cost of chance creation going forward. Calvert-Lewin is outstanding at finding positions in the opposition six-yard box, but the key to getting the ball into this area is overloading in wide areas and playing in balls from the byline – something that hasn’t been happening with the change in setup.
Let alone reach the byline, Everton didn’t manage a successful pass beyond Manchester United’s penalty spot for the entiry of this game.
No Time for Dismay
The Blues have two games in the next five days
We’re out of the League Cup. It’s not the end of the world.
Everton are fourth in the league and there are six more points up for grabs in the next five days.