Everton’s “easy” run of fixtures terminated with a less-than-impressive 1-1 draw with a toothless Burnley. What’s happened to the all-conquering Blues of season start?
Let’s see what the numbers tell us…
3 CMs yet again
Fabian Delph started and.. shock.. horror.. he pulled up with an injury.
But as I’ve said for several weeks now, Carlo Ancelotti has hamstrung (no pun intended) himself when it comes to options by having three very similar central midfielders on the bench.
Everton had to turn to Andre Gomes, with Ben Godfrey completely out of position at left back.
Why was Niels Nkounkou not on the bench? Why hasn’t Anthony Gordon been getting into the matchday squads?
There’s almost no situation ever you’re going to need to use three centre mids from the bench when you only have two on the pitch to begin with.
Left Left Behind
No crosses attempted from LWB/LB
Even with Delph on the pitch, it felt like Everton lacks options from deep on the left. When he went off, this was only compounded by having a right-footed centre-back in the position.
This is no slight on Godfrey, of course, who put in a solid performance. But it was the fact that Everton lacked any kind of outlet from deep – an area of the pitch in which Lucas Digne does so well to dominate and create.
Indeed, while Alex Iwobi’s crossing was shambolic pretty throughout, he did at least attempt 10 crosses. On the left hand side, however, neither Delph nor Godfrey put the ball into the box once.
We need to start playing players in their correct position – even if that means testing young players lacking “experience”, as Carlo says.
And, let’s not forget too, that one of James Rodriguez’s best tools is his switch from the right to the left-back, which just wasn’t available to him here and prevented him from being able to open the game up when we’re on the attack.
Remains Premier League’s top scorer
Make no bones about it, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s scoring form is no flash in the pan. He has absolutely mastered being in the right place at the right time.
His strike against Burnley was his 11th Premier League goal of the season, and his sixth from inside the six-yard box. All of his other strikes have also come from inside the penalty area.
To give you an idea of how his positioning has evolved, DCL has now scored as many Premier League goals from inside the six-yard box this season (6) as he has done in the rest of his PL career put together. He’s averaged 1.0 shots inside the six-yard box per game this season and scored six of them (55% finishing rate).
For context, last season he averaged 0.5 shots inside the six-yard box per game, scoring five of them (25% finishing rate). And, if you want to go another season back (2018/19), he averaged just 0.2 shots inside the six-yard box per game, scoring none.
This comparison shows us two things: 1) he’s getting close range shooting positions more frequently, and 2) he’s finishing more of these chances.
11 - Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored more goals from inside the box than any other player in the top five European leagues this season. Textbook. pic.twitter.com/y9IvlHvJel— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 5, 2020
Mixed performance from the new RWB
A couple of weeks ago against Fulham, Alex Iwobi was something of a revelation at right wing-back against Fulham. And after returning to the position against Burnley he against looked (for the most part) like a useful part of the team.
Defensively, he did very well – completing three tackles and six recoveries. He also completed two successful dribbles which did very well in distrupting Burnley’s defence.
But his crossing… well. It was awful. Not in the Phil Neville-esque ‘tame dink into the box’ way, but his accuracy was just well, well off. The right-back or right-wing back role is very much up for grabs. Seamus Coleman has done well this season when fit, but he’s nearing the end of his career.
If he sorts out his crossing, Iwobi could well be the man to replace him and finally cement a clear place and role in the team.
Alex Iwobi's stats against Burnley:— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) December 5, 2020
Touches - 102
Successful passes - 54
Successful attacking third passes - 11
Attempted crosses - 10
Successful crosses - 2
Chances created - 2
Pass accuracy - 83%
Recoveries - 6
Successful tackles - 3
Successful dribbles - 2#BUREVE #EFC
And the fixtures are about to turn
Worryingly, Everton’s favourable run of fixtures is now over, with the Blues having picked up just four points from a possible 18 against Southampton, Newcastle, Manchester United, Fulham, Leeds United and now Burnley.
Unfortunately, Everton’s next six fixtures are all against teams that finished in the top nine last season. Carlo needs to turn this ship around quickly, or this could be a horrendous festive period.