Richarlison Looks Lost
The Brazilian, when in top form, is a speedy player with an arsenal of playmaking abilities and a skill set that makes him dangerous scoring or assisting goals. Against Newcastle, however, Richarlison looked a step behind and failed to impact the game outside of one shot on target, which he was gifted after Jamaal Lascelles slipped, opening a pathway to the goal. Richarlison missed the net on his other three shots, notably blasting a shot over the frame when he was surrounded by three defenders (the exasperated look on Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s face after the miss said it all).
And then there was Richarlison losing his way on defensive corner kicks. He twice mistimed his jump to allow Callum Wilson a free header, the first of which went off the bar and the second was fired past Jordan Pickford for Newcastle’s first goal.
Richarlison is one of Everton's most talented players, but something seems a bit off with him this season.
The beginning of Everton’s first losing streak this season was presaged by a cup win — 4–1 against West Ham United then. Following the cup victory, The Toffees drew 2–2 against Liverpool — had one win against Brighton 4–2— lost 2–0 to Southampton, fell 2–1 to Newcastle, got creamed 3–1 by Manchester United and would drop points against Leeds United 1–0.
And now, over two months later, Everton’s season is morphing into a similar pattern: after defeating Sheffield Wednesday 3–0 in a cup fixture, they drew 1–1 against Leicester City, conceded twice to Newcastle (first time in ten games) and have upcoming fixtures facing Leeds United and Manchester United. Everton’s ignominious dip in form in their past two matches with Leicester and Newcastle have them trending in an unwelcome direction. Let’s hope history does not repeat itself.
With Jonjo Shelvey, Jeff Hendrick and Lascelles on the pitch, Everton’s ankles were nipped at all game long. First, it was Shelvey crushing James Rodríguez, then Hendrick and Lascelles got in on the fun with tackles on Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Calvert-Lewin. As was mentioned during the broadcast, “this is part of the Premier League that James doesn’t love.” Aside from its ridiculous obviousness — nobody enjoys getting their ankles trampled on by cynical defenders — it is accurate that certain teams have figured out how to mitigate James’ presence on the pitch.
For a player who is not strikingly pacey, James’ game is predicated upon creating space for himself, with quick movements, to find open teammates. To do this, the Colombian needs time on the ball. How can you minimize his time on the ball? Foul him at the risk of earning a yellow card — Newcastle were more than happy to oblige. After containing James, Newcastle stifled Everton’s attack for the entirety of Saturday’s affair.