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5 Telling Stats From Everton’s Stalemate at Nottingham Forest

The spoils were shared in a relegation six-pointer at the City Ground

Nottingham Forest v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

1. Perished Points

Although Everton have not often held leads this season, they’ve still done an impressive job of losing them. The Toffees twice went in front on Sunday thanks to Demarai Gray’s penalty to make it 1-0, and Abdoulaye Doucoure’s header to make it 2-1. However, just like they did against Brentford, Leeds, Manchester United, Wolves, and Southampton, the Blues were unable to secure the victory thanks to a brace from Brennan Johnson, who also scored in the reverse fixture. Only Bournemouth and Leicester have dropped more points from winning positions than Everton this year, with Leeds and Wolves sitting level with the Toffees.

2. Restored Return

Everton’s most glaring of many shortcomings this season has been the inability to consistently score goals. Despite scoring twice or more for only the third time this season against Forest, the Toffees have now drawn level with Wolves for the fewest goals scored in the league with 19, with Southampton and Forest sat just above on 20 but both possessing games in hand. Everton’s next opponents, Brentford, have scored 37 goals this season at the time of writing (7th best in the PL), so it’s likely that the Toffees must once again score more than one goal in order to come away with three points. Let’s hope the first-half flurry at The City Ground was indicative of more to come.

3. The Determined Duke

One bright spot since the appointment of Sean Dyche has been the resurgence of the nearly forgotten Abdoulaye Doucoure. The Mali international has played 528 minutes out of a possible 540 in Dyche’s brief tenure thus far, but played just 348 minutes from a possible 2,070 under Frank Lampard. It’s clear that the former Burnley boss values Doucoure as a member of the Everton squad, and although it’s unclear whether James Garner’s return in the coming weeks will threaten his place, Doucoure has, in my opinion, staked his claim to be a regular starter for the rest of the season.

On Sunday, the midfielder scored his first goal since September 25th, 2021 (527 days ago) and acted as a central impetus for Everton’s attack supporting Gray up front, while also delivering his usual workrate all over the pitch. His 8.3 FotMob match rating was the highest of any Everton player, and the second highest of the match only behind Johnson’s 8.6. Although his contract expires at the end of the season, Doucoure has worked his way into a very important role in the immediate future of Everton Football Club.

4. Gray’s Gravity

Due to the ongoing absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the serial underperformance of Neal Maupay, Sean Dyche finally handed Demarai Gray the keys to the Everton attack by sticking him up top on Sunday. The natural winger had only played 81 minutes in three appearances under Dyche heading into the match, but immediately showed his value when he cooly slotted home from the penalty spot in the 10th minute. Although his overall performance wasn’t his greatest, it was still a marked improvement over Maupay and Simms at the striker position, and Gray has proven to be Everton’s most dangerous attacking player over the past two seasons.

The fact Dyche continued to snub him despite the team only scoring 1 goal from open play in his first 5 games in charge made no sense to me, so I’m glad he finally got the start he deserved and made it count. Until Calvert-Lewin is back fit and ready to go, I believe Gray should without a doubt be one of the first names on the Everton team sheet.

5. Status Quo Sustained

Heading into the match at The City Ground, I was very wary of just how strong Nottingham Forest have been at home as of late. Only Manchester United currently possess a longer home winning streak than “the Tricky Trees”, and despite falling behind twice, Forest kept that streak alive with young Brennan Johnson’s pair of equalizers. In fact, no team in the Premier League have earned a larger percentage of their points from home fixtures than Forest’s 76.9%. Everton will be hoping to go on a similar run at Goodison Park during the upcoming home-stretch, but there’s no denying that picking up what would’ve been only their second away win of the season would’ve been a massive boost to their survival efforts. However, despite having a great opportunity to do just that, both Forest’s home unbeaten run and Everton’s winless away run continued as many would’ve expected beforehand.