After a positive, unbeaten beginning to Project Restart life, Everton’s final stretch of the campaign continued to fizzle out with an appalling display in a 3-0 defeat at Wolves on Sunday.
The Blues are now three games without a win, all of which were played within the last week, all of which delivered galling, incompetent performances from Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
But what did the numbers tell us about this latest facade at Molineux?
Anonymous Midfield Flounders Again
Another grim outing for the out-of-form Icelander
We can all agree that Gylfi Sigurdsson is not playing in his most effective position. The Iceland international’s modus operandi is linking deeper midfielders with the centre forward, with ghosting between the lines, with being the fulcrum of Everton’s attack. He is a number ten, not a number eight.
But even still, for a player as technically gifted as Sigurdsson is (or at least, used to be not too long ago), Evertonians should be forgiven for his output at Molineux on Sunday.
Sigurdsson made just two passes to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and only one to fellow forward Richarlison throughout the entire match. For context, he also completed two to Jordan Pickford in goal. There are certainly mitigating factors, but it still isn’t enough.
The same can be said about his midfield partner, the equally inept Tom Davies, who made just 44 passes with 80 per cent accuracy and a solitary tackle. The sooner this department of the squad is utterly dismembered, the better.
Tom Davies v Wolves— Watched Toffee (@WatchedToffee) July 12, 2020
44 passes (80% accurate)
Gylfi Sigurdsson v Wolves
73 passes (89% accurate)
Everton Still Looking Backwards
The team were utterly devoid of ambition at Molineux, as well
Nothing screams Everton like a backwards pass. Against Wolves, there was an incredible 127 of them.
At least they were all successfully completed. As for forward passes, not quite - just 48 of 80. No big chances were created, either.
If this continues to happen then Richarlison will be off to a Top 4 team. Richarlison is averaging 1 shot in his last 3 games. DCL combined passes with Richarlison 1️⃣!— ᗯ.ᖴ.ᗩ (@WFAnalyst) July 13, 2020
Look at these maps from yesterday.... #EFC @FalconBlues1878 @FalconBluesTV pic.twitter.com/i9Jraa66Vi
Poverty of Support Continues For Strikers
What more can Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison do?
On paper, it could be easy to be critical of Calvert-Lewin’s post-lockdown form. Six games, six starts, zero goals for the Everton number nine.
Yet at Molineux, he was again starved of service, to the extent that he only registered two shots on goal.
A workman can only do his job if given the right tools, and Calvert-Lewin and his strike partner Richarlison, who didn’t shoot once before being substituted on 63 minutes, were stripped of their basic resources again on Sunday.
Another Goal Breached On The Road
The Blues just can’t keep clean sheets often enough away from Goodison Park
Remember at the end of last season and even the opening couple of games of this campaign, when Everton’s defence looked almost impenetrable, and Jordan Pickford racked up 10 clean sheets in 13 games either side of the conclusion of 2018-19?
It feels like ancient history now. This trip to Wolves was Everton’s 21st away game of this term. A failure to keep Nuno’s men out means the Blues remain stuck on a mere three clean sheets away from Goodison Park this season. Only two of them were in the league, and just one (the 1-0 win at Norwich last month) has arrived since last September.
What’s more, this 3-0 drubbing means Everton have shipped two goals or more in 11 of these 21 fixtures.
Dismal Away Record Against Higher-placed Teams Also Continues
Everton’s frail mentality shows no sign of disappearing, either
It’s not just Everton’s ‘goals against’ column on the road which stinks. It’s their results in general, too.
When facing sides that started the day of the game in the top half of the table (as Wolves in seventh did), Everton have managed a dismal return of three wins, ten draws and 19 losses in their last 32 Premier League away matches.
Further indication, then, of the scale of the mental fragilities that Ancelotti must get stuck into right away.