Playing a team that has won 16 in-a-row is always going to be a challenge.
And so it proved.
Here’s what the numbers told us about the performance…
An Actual Plan
Blues lined up with a defensive setup that was previously unbeaten
Losing to the best team in the country doesn’t have the same sting as losing to a side in the relegation zone. That’s especially true when you actually setup with a clear game plan – something that just wasn’t evident against Fulham.
Here the Blues reverted back to the sitting full-backs system and a back four (Godfrey, Mina, Keane, Holgate) that was previously unbeaten in this setup, winning five of the six games they played together.
Indeed, it’s hard to say that even Manchester City beat this system, given that Mina went off injured while the game was still 0-0.
Previous results with this defensive line-up:
Chelsea (H) 1-0
Leicester City (A) 2-0
Arsenal (H) 2-1
Sheffield United (A) 1-0
Wolves (A) 2-1
Leicester (H) 1-1
Yet another “assist”
One of the issues with the sitting full-backs system is that is displaces one of Everton’s best players: Lucas Digne. Here the Frenchman managed to lay-on yet another “assist” (via the post) from his less orthodox left-wing role.
However as Digne’s cross came back off the post it hasn’t been added to his tally of six Premier League assists for the season – leaving him joint-top of the full-backs list with Aaron Cresswell.
A conspiracy of the highest order.
City won their 17th consecutive game
As I alluded to earlier, Everton shouldn’t feel too disheartened by losing to a team that won their 17th consecutive game here.
Of course, defeat shouldn’t be accepted, but sometimes a team is just going to be better than you, as was the case here.
Everton are 15th on home form
Although not as bleak as previous home defeats, there’s no doubt that Everton’s lack of Goodison form is concerning. The Blues have won just four of their 12 home games this season, losing six – a record that leaves us 15th in the league.
3 - Everton have lost three consecutive home league games for the first time since March 2016, while manager Carlo Ancelotti has suffered three in a row for the first time since November 2006 when he was AC Milan manager. Stumbling. pic.twitter.com/TJyrNWaSxn— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 17, 2021
A Record to Break
Can Everton get their first win at Anfield this Millennium?
While the Blues couldn’t end City’s streak, we’ll be desperate to end our own unwanted streak this weekend, as Everton look for their first win at Liverpool since 1999.
We need to learn the lessons from this one and go again. With the Reds also somewhat out of form, this is a real opportunity.