On Saturday afternoon, Everton fought their way to a precious victory in a bonafide six-pointer against fellow relegation battlers Leeds United at Goodison Park in Sean Dyche’s third match in charge. The Toffees thoroughly deserved the three points, registering 15 shots to Leeds’ 8, and accumulating 1.52 xG to Leeds’ 0.60. It was Seamus Coleman in his 401st Everton appearance who would find the winner with a speculative but quite brilliant volley in the 64th minute, lifting the Blues up into 16th place for the time being. The performance and result were desperately needed after a depressing defeat to the Reds on Monday, and Dyche will hope to lead the Toffees to their first back-to-back victories since October when Unai emery’s Aston Villa come to Goodison Park next weekend. Here are 5 Telling Stats from the pivotal win.
1. New Boss Bounce
It may be a cliche, but it certainly holds some truth. After a truly rotten spell of games under Frank Lampard, Sean Dyche has made an instant impact on Everton’s fortunes, pulling them out of the relegation zone after just three matches in charge. Two 1-0 home victories in front of the nervous yet hopeful Goodison crowd sandwiched the disappointing derby defeat at Anfield, but the Toffees have a renewed spirit and energy to them after it had seemed all bets of survival were off.
⚽ Everton's @premierleague season— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 18, 2023
Sean Dyche - 2 wins from 3 games
Frank Lampard - 3 wins from 20 games pic.twitter.com/RPsEbmu6Fz
2. Barricade at the Back
It’s clear that Sean Dyche has been able to immediately improve Everton’s defensive shape and discipline, as the Blues have kept two clean sheets in his three matches in charge. Before his arrival, they had not kept an opponent scoreless in nine straight matches in all competitions. On Saturday, the Everton backline ensured Jordan Pickford did not have a single save to make all day, and he was only forced into one punch and one high claim. Since the Toffees have only scored 17 goals, the fewest in the league, it is imperative that they remain solid at the back during their upcoming pursuit of crucial points and subsequent safety.
Everton held Leeds to 0 shots on target today; the first time they've done so to an opponent since a 0-0 draw at Watford on May 11th, 2022. #EFC— Garrett Post (@ParrettGost) February 18, 2023
3. Captain’s Contribution
One of the main reasons for Everton’s lack of goals this season has been the inability of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who missed his second consecutive match on Saturday, to stay fit for more than a few games in succession. Neal Maupay, who was signed in the summer to be his deputy, has only scored once in his 725 minutes, and so the Toffees have had to look to alternative sources for goals. That was once again the case against Leeds, but when Everton needed a goal most, it was 34-year-old club captain Seamus Coleman to the rescue. His brilliant strike from an acute angle completely dumbfounded Leeds keeper Illan Meslier and rocketed into the side netting, catching even the most optimistic Evertonians off guard. Funnily enough, Coleman’s last goal came in the exact same fixture last season, but it was nowhere near as spectacular.
2 - Séamus Coleman has scored two goals across his last 97 appearances in the Premier League; both of them were scored against Leeds United. Mustard. pic.twitter.com/IGa95qenyG— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 18, 2023
4. Iwobi Injustice
For some reason, I saw a lot of people criticizing Alex Iwobi on Twitter during the game today. Personally, I thought he was one of the best players on the pitch today, and the stats back it up. He won 9 of his 14 duels, 5 out of his 6 tackles, completed 4 out of 6 long balls, and registered a joint game-high 3 key passes. Although his assist was rather fortunate, his distribution and engine were paramount to Everton’s tactical dominance and deserved victory.
Alex Iwobi has now provided six Premier League assists this season, the joint-most he’s managed in a single campaign (2018/19).— William Hill (@WilliamHill) February 18, 2023
Equalling his PB with plenty of games to spare.
5. The Inimitable Irishman
On top of providing Everton with an invaluable three points in the fight against relegation, Seamus Coleman’s moment of genius was another addition to a brilliant collection of show-stopping goals that the Killybegs native has scored in his 400+ game career. Others that immediately come to mind include his off-the-post dazzler at Loftus Road, the sidewinding missile at the Liberty Stadium, and of course, the top bins solo goal in front of the Gwladys Street End against Southampton. Coleman’s goal on Saturday had an xG value of just 0.05, but the best value of all was his signature for just £60,000 from Sligo Rovers back in 2009. What a player.
Excluding penalty shootouts, Everton have never lost in games where Seamus Coleman has scored (22 wins, 6 draws). #EFC— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) February 18, 2023