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Everton 2020/21 Season Preview: Goalkeepers

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The problem of Jordan Pickford not having quality competition remains

Everton FC v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus

Stats: 2020/21 Everton Goalkeepers

Player Minutes Clean Sheets Goals Against
Player Minutes Clean Sheets Goals Against
Jordan Pickford 2923' 10 42
Robin Olsen 1050' 3 16
Joao Virginia 227' 2 2
2020/21 Everton Goalkeepers, all competitions

Tactics

Under both Marco Silva and Carlo Ancelotti, the Everton goalkeeper plays a key role in playing the ball out the back. And while the former was alright with choosing the long ball route at times, the veteran manager preaches ball possession and management like a mantra.

It made for some confusing viewing at times last season when Everton with a hobbled midfield tried to break out of the press with sideways passes and no one in the middle of the pitch to come back and put their foot on the ball in a commanding manner.

That worry will be much alleviated this season following the Toffees’ splashes in the transfer market with new additions Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure, and the goalkeeper’s role remains fundamental in playing the ball out from behind. Ancelotti doesn’t ask too much from his goalies, just one who commands his box, makes the saves he should and distributes the ball to an open man.

Current Players

Jordan Pickford - Which brings us to the current incumbent. The England #1 endured a horrendous season between the sticks by all respects, failing to make easy saves, concentration lapses marring otherwise decent games and a general sense of tomfoolery in the back that filled no one with any confidence that he can get his head right again.

His strength - the much-vaunted ’sidewinder’ - has been mostly ineffective when he seems to find the touchlines more often than he does a blue shirt. And while he remains strong in 1-on-1 situations, most of the extraordinary saves he does make are almost always a result of being horribly out of position to begin with.

Everton so far have failed to bring in a quality backup that can challenge Pickford and keep on his toes, but this is certainly a key position on the pitch that needs drastic improvement right away to ensure a successful campaign.

Everton FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Pickford allows a ball to squirm under him for a goal
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Jonas Lössl - Stapled to bench for the first half of the season, Lossl was loaned back to Huddersfield Town where the Blues had bought him from for the second half of the season. There he played 15 times, conceding 18 times with six clean sheets as the Terriers finished in the lower half of the table.

The 31-year-old is who he is, and is not about to suddenly press Pickford for the starting spot. He remains a capable back-up who is at best ready for spot duty as needed, but should Pickford miss an extended period of time, then he is certainly not better than the England goalkeeper. Worse though? Only time will tell.

João Virgínia - The youngster endured a miserable half-season just when he seemed primed to break out. Signed from Arsenal’s youth ranks and touted to break through to the Everton first team, he couldn’t parlay some strong showings for David Unsworth’s Under-23s into a decent loan term. Sent out to Reading in the Championship, he started the season for the Royals between the sticks but after two terrible showings when he conceded five goals, he was sent to the bench and never got back into the lineup.

Quite what he will learn playing third fiddle on the Everton bench this season we won’t know, but it’s no stretch to say the 20-year-old’s promising career has stagnated.

Hull City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - KCOM Stadium
Virginia at Reading
Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

State of the Position

While most fans have been clamoring this summer for an upgrade at the position, Ancelotti (and Marcel Brands, by extension) appear to be willing to give Pickford another year to sort his personal demons out and show that he can remain the starter at a side that is shooting for the stars again.

For a team like Everton to break into the top six and stay there, they will need to have a solid first eleven, with at least more than half of the backups behind them of an equal quality. Right now Pickford stays the starter by virtue of the fact that the Toffees are focusing on improving elsewhere in the lineup, and that he has no worthy competition which has always made for unmotivated players.

Ancelotti has defended his number one so far after his multitudes of gaffes, but even if the manager were to lose his patience with him, the Blues don’t have too many options to replace him with either.


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