A Touch of Class
Donny van de Beek came off the bench an hour into Everton’s shambolic second half performance against Newcastle United on Tuesday night and in front of a raucous St. James’ Park crowd, the Dutchman had cut an unusually composed figure, in a game full of unforced errors and misplaced passes from his teammates. Handed his full debut for the Blues on Saturday, in a must-win game, the midfielder showed what a classy operator he is and what an opportunity it is to have him in Royal Blue for the second half of the season. Watching his clever movement, neat touches and reading of the game, it is quite a head-shaker how the player has been deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.
Donny van de Beek's game by numbers vs. Leeds:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 12, 2022
89.5% pass accuracy
10 ball recoveries
7 duels won
6 possessions won in the middle 1/3 (most)
4 tackles made (=most)
3 aerial duels won (=most)
1 chance created
When the team sheet dropped an hour before kick-off, there would have been plenty of eyebrows raised at the inclusion of Alex Iwobi, a divisive figure during his two and a half year tenure at Everton. The Nigerian has come to embody the corps of underperforming players brought into the club in recent seasons for high fees. Played on the right side of a 4-4-2 yesterday, the attacker demonstrated all the qualities he’s known for - good control and neat passing - but added hitherto unseen levels of work rate, attitude, commitment and end product. The former Arsenal man constantly harassed and tracked Leeds players, popped up in dangerous places and created some good chances for his teammates. It was an outstanding performance for a player badly in need of one and a chance to redefine his Blues career going forward.
Under new manager Frank Lampard, the Toffees want to play attacking football and this was evident today the way the team bolted out of the blocks. Following on from a sluggish midweek effort, this was night and day. Leeds were rocked on their heels from the outset and never really recovered their composure. The Blues finished up with less than 42% possession, but whereas the visitors rarely had the ball in dangerous areas, Everton did and bombarded the Leeds goal throughout the 90 minutes. Roared on by a fantastic support at Goodison Park, the home side created four big chances from 21 shots, racked up an impressive xG (Expected goals) of 2.64 and held Marcelo Bielsa’s team to only 0.25.
That’s the first time Everton have recorded 20+ shots and 10+ shots on target in a PL game since 2013 - some 314 games ago— Matt Cheetham (@Matt_Cheetham) February 12, 2022
Continuing to Grow
Home-grown youngster Anthony Gordon continues to develop apace this season, posting another excellent performance yesterday in front of an adoring crowd at a rocking Goodison. The 20-year old is becoming an ever-present in the Everton first eleven and is developing into a remarkably consistent player. Against Leeds, the Evertonian displayed his usual levels of enthusiasm and energy, his pace and mobility creating a headache for the opposition as he roamed about the left and into central regions of the pitch. Gordon delivered a precise corner kick for Michael Keane to head home and got on the scoresheet himself, even if his deflection of Richarlison’s goal-bound shot was somewhat fortuitous!
Anthony Gordon (20) #EVELEE— Football Report #BerhalterOut (@FootballReprt) February 12, 2022
15 Passes 65.2%
2 Key Passes
❌1 Big Chance Missed
7/11 Ground Duels
1/3 Long Balls pic.twitter.com/uOJJc5GDk2
Defending from the Front
Lampard has been rocked with a series of injury blows since taking charge (and will no doubt be relieved to have finished a match without his ranks being depleted further), already having lost centre backs Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina, the latter for much of the remainder of the season. Vitalii Mykolenko is still suffering from Covid, so the defensive options available to him were not ideal, Jonjoe Kenny filling in for the Ukrainian at left back and the often unreliable duo of Keane and Mason Holgate occupying central defence. However, such was the degree of aggressive pressing from Everton’s forwards and wingers in Lampard’s fluid 4-4-2 formation that - in concert with stout defensive work from van de Beek and Allan in midfield - the defence was able to deal easily with the visitors’ often rushed and erratic attacks.
Van de Beek, Iwobi, Richarlison and Gordon managed 14 tackles between them and were out top four tacklers in the game.— Matt (@TacticallyEv) February 12, 2022
Pressing from the front.