Those who read my match analysis (only a few of you so far) on a regular basis, I usually just deconstruct moments that happened in both halves and go through some talking points. I’m going to change it up this week and go through some of the key talking points and changes that I thought made Everton great and so clinical going forward. It’s a waste of time talking about all of the 9 goals, considering a couple was gifted to us. There was some key dynamics I’ve found that I thought I’d share. Here is my analysis.
The Barkley + Rom Link
Everyone has had their opinions on Barkley and Lukaku, mine is that they have never linked perfectly together in the four years they’ve been here; but yesterday was a whole lot better. A noticeable stat I remember is that Barkley and Lukaku didn’t complete a single pass between each other against Southampton away, but yesterday it was literally “feed the Rom and he will score.”
Amazingly, Barkley’s average position map was deeper than James McCarthy’s. This enabled him to have much more room when in possession and this is where I think Barkley works best.
As you can see on the position network, Ross was a key influencer in midfield but he isn’t as far forward as we have sometimes seen him. Barkley had 4.9% of Everton’s total possession percentage, which was the 2nd highest amount on the Everton team. His touch map was always quite impressive, working everywhere around the 18-yard box.
As for Romelu Lukaku, this was the best game he has had in a while, having 13 touches inside the Bournemouth penalty area. This speaks massive volumes. Although Bournemouth defensively was the worst I’ve seen from any PL side this season, Everton worked into the box magnificently and this could be the first real side in which Koeman wants.
I am not saying that the link between Lukaku and Barkley worked just from the one assist (what an assist by the way), but because this was the first time that they were passing and creating between each other for the entire 90 minutes. It was a thing of beauty and certainly the best we’ve seen from the two men for The Blues.
Everton defence: Strengths and Weaknesses
In case you’ve forgotten, Everton have maintained one of the best home defences in the Premier League this season. Recently, Koeman has put Everton in a 352 with Coleman and Baines as wingbacks. In my opinion, this is when we are at the top of our game because the formation breaks down the 4231 (PL’s most common formation) the easiest, which is why Leicester won the league and why Chelsea will win it under Conte this season.
Even after a 1-1 draw at Stoke, I was still expecting the same system, so I was very surprised when Koeman put us in a 433. Although this worked very well in the first half, in the second we started very poor. In fairness to Eddie Howe, making two changes put us on the back foot, but Everton looked very poor defensively, being exposed on the wings. It’s only when Koeman replaced Gareth Barry with Mason Holgate, to make it a back 3, did we look more stable and a lot better defensively.
One problem is Ramiro Funes Mori. I’m not going to publically execute him; they were all very poor in that half an hour, by Funes was that bad. In a back three, he is completely fine but in a back four he is noticeably worse than usual. I like him and at times I think he is slightly over-criticized, but he went completely missing when we needed him to step up.
One player who I strongly believe has stepped up in the Everton backline is Joel Robles. He has faced a lot in his Everton career, including being the back up to both Tim Howard and Maarten Stekelenburg. Although conceding 3 goals is no big achievement, he wasn’t at fault on any of them and made a fantastic stop at 3-2 from Arter’s strike.
It’s a big statement to make, but Joel is good enough to be Everton’s number one for now. He won’t keep up this sort of form forever, but for now he could be the difference between settling for seventh and elevating a strong push for European places.
The New Signings: Morgan Schneiderlin and Ademola Lookman
We’ve picked up two gems here. Schneiderlin’s long ball distribution certainly matches Gareth Barry’s, hence why Barry isn’t really needed in that midfield (still a good back-up however). What surprised me the most about our new Frenchman is his attacking contribution is a lot better than I first realised.
He isn’t a creator, he is a recycler and in possession he is our most effective midfielder apart from Barkley. Schneiderlin was only dispossessed once throughout the entire 90 minutes, made two tackles and completed 59 out of 63 passes (94% accuracy).
Only one player bettered Schneiderlin’s passing percentage in the Everton team, and that man was Ademola Lookman (96% accuracy). Lookman demonstrated some fantastic dribbling ability and made the jump from League One to Premier League look very easy. He’s made a couple of fantastic appearances when coming off the bench and was awesome throughout the 70 minutes yesterday.
Lookman’s ball control is fantastic, once he has that upper-body strength then he will be one of the hardest forwards to stop with the ball at his feet – completing 4 out of 7 take ons against Bournemouth. In my opinion, Lookman’s future is playing as a striker instead of being pushed on the wing. He can beat any player 1-v-1 and his link-up play is quality for somebody to have only been at the club for a month!
Definitely one of the craziest games of football I’ve watched since we beat Blackpool 5-3 at Goodison, but a game filled with positives. Barkley is starting to evolve into a completely different type of midfielder, Lukaku showed how crucial support from others around him are needed to lead us to victory and overall a very impressive attacking display. Everton are now 7 points off the Champions League places with 42 points still to play for. It’s unlikely but it’s something that we should definitely be aiming for. With no cup competitions left to play for, there is no excuse why we shouldn’t make a go for it. We are now unbeaten in the league for over a month now. Time to be positive.
Stats via Squawka, Whoscored and FourFourTwo Stats Zone,
Up the Toffees.