It wasn’t the prettiest. But it was solid.
So what can we learn from the numbers in Everton’s latest away win?
Carlo keeps up guessing ahead of kick-off
When the Everton line-up was announced, some eyebrows were raised (including mine).
On the face of it, it looked like Everton were going to return to the uninspiring back three, but instead Carlo sprung a surprise and went back to kind-of 4-4-2, with the sitting full-backs keeping the Blues watertight at the back.
5 players out-of-position
This unexpected setup resulted in no less than five players playing out of the their preferred positions. We had centre-backs Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey at full-back, left-back Lucas Digne at left midfield, and attacking midfielders Gylfi Sigurdsson and James Rodriguez up front.
For the most part, it worked though.
The sitting full-backs provided stability. Digne was an outlet out wide. James went wherever he fancied. Only Sigurdsson really struggled in his new role.
James to Digne to goal
In the early stages of the season, one of Everton’s most effective forward players was a switch from James to Digne, who then played the ball centrally (usually to DCL) to turn into the net.
The James to Digne ball has directly resulted in four goals so far this season. The fullback is undoubtedly thriving since James having joined the Blues, chipping in with five assists in just nine games this season.
Indeed, only Harry Kane (1 assist per 130 mins) and Kevin de Bruyne (1 assist per 148 mins) have a better assist ratio in the Premier League than Lucas Digne this season (1 assist per 158 mins).
Everton have most headed goals in the league
In the second half, it’s fair to say that Everton looked pretty toothless in attack.
But these days the Blues can find goals from different parts of the pitch and it was Michael Keane who found the winner here with his third league goal of the campaign – already his highest Premier League return in a season, and we’re still not at the halfway stage.
Keane also deserves kudos for the quality of his passing out from the back (and Mina too, to a lesser extent). Everton are often found to be pedestrian in possession when playing out from the back, but Everton’s centre-backs were excellent at playing incisive forward passes here, despite the lack of a clear forward outlet.
6 wins from 9 away games
While Everton haven’t really enjoyed Fortress Goodison this season, it seems that Carlo has creating a roaming fortress.