This is the most open Premier League season in memory.
And this game was billed as a battle between two potential top four party crashers.
Naturally, neither could take advantage. But what did the numbers tell us about Everton’s latest performance?
A sterling goal to follow two weekend assists
James Rodriguez was a creative force at the weekend, laying on an incredible eight key passes.
And although his time on the ball was limited against Leicester City, he again showed his quality with a world-class strike to put the Blues in front against the run of play.
James Rodriguez's stats against Leicester:— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) January 27, 2021
Touches - 58
Goals - 1
Shots - 2
Successful passes - 31
Successful attacking third passes - 11
Successful long balls - 3
Pass accuracy - 79%
Recoveries - 9
Successful tackles - 3
Successful dribbles - 2
Interceptions - 1#EFC #EVELEI
James at Home Myth?
11 goals and assists this season… at Goodison
One stat that’s being held against James so far has been that all of his eleven goals and assist have come at Goodison Park.
But one factor to consider in this stat is that he’s played nine games at home, but just six away – half of which came of during his “dry” period when he struggled for form and fitness from late October to early December, during which he didn’t bag any goals or assists at home either.
The only other three games he’s played away were Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day (where he was excellent), Crystal Palace (where he was very good and created chances) and recently at Wolves (where he was played out of position up front).
So with such a small sample size of away appearances, it’s fair to say that this away “form” is nothing to worry about yet.
Backs to the Wall
Blues surrender 65% of possession, but 18 shots too much
Some of Everton’s best results this season have come after sitting deep and surrendering possession to our opponents (particularly with a “sitting” back four of a quartet of centrehalves).
The trouble was, it wasn’t just possession that Everton allowed Leicester, they also got too close to Everton’s goal and allowed too many shots on goal.
In this game, Everton allowed Leicester 65% of possession and 18 shots on goal. But in other wins against good sides, the Blues have conceded possession without the same levels of pressure, as you can see below.
Chelsea: 72% possession / 10 Shots
Leicester (away): 61% possession / 11 shots
Arsenal: 57% possession / 11 shots
Everton’s defensive set up in the first half worked against Leicester, but the Toffees allowed the Foxes to dominate too much in the second half and it was no surprise when Leicester equalised on 65 minutes.
Everton played two almost identical games against Leicester City.— Royal Blue Mersey (@RBMersey) January 27, 2021
Away they were flawless defensively, took their few chances and won 2-0.
At home they were almost flawless defensively, didn't take their chances and drew 1-1. #EFC #LCFC pic.twitter.com/c3azgtTC5p
Another Pickford error
I have been one of Jordan Pickford’s biggest defenders over the past 18 months.
He has real ability. He makes world class saves. But every single game he makes at least one big mistake. And this one potentially cost the Blues two points.
Carlo Ancelotti has attempted to take the spotlight off him by rotating him with Robin Olsen, but when the big games come at the tail end of the season, you’ve got wonder if the Big Swede will start getting the nod ahead of England’s number one when it really matters.
Although Olsen’s Premier League numbers are still limited for comparison (he’s made just two league starts), Pickford’s don’t make great reading:
According to Fbref, Pickford has conceded 2.4 goals more goals than expected (based on shots) prior to this game, while Olsen has conceded 0.9 goals less. After this game, those figure are only going to get worse for Pickford.
Still in the Mix
Blues just two points off second with two games in hand
A win for Everton here would have propelled them into the title mix, while a loss would have seen them slip off the Champions League pace. That’s how tight things are this season.
But with Manchester United losing to Sheffield United, Everton remain firmly in the top four mix.
Of course, it’s hard to see exactly where we are right now after matches against Manchester City and Aston Villa were called off due to COVID, but the Blues still have an excellent opportunity to make a real splash this season.
The key though, is picking up three points when we’re expected too… like when we welcome a Newcastle side that have lost six on the bounce to Goodison Park this weekend.