With the season moving into its final stages, Everton find themselves locked firmly in a battle for European football.
Under manager Carlo Ancelotti, the Toffees have, at times, shown incredible resolve and high levels of performance which saw them top the table in the early weeks of the season.
There have been inconsistent spells however, which have seen the Toffees blow opportunities to stay in the top four battle and yet, they are still fighting for European football.
So who has been Everton’s top performers from a statistical standpoint?
Our top five has been compiled using average rating per game data from WhoScored.com.
The Athletic’s Everton reporter Greg O’Keeffe gives his professional opinion while John Barlow of the Toffee Blues (Everton’s second biggest fan channel) gave us the fan consensus as they both spoke to MerseySportLive.
5. Michael Keane (6.91)
At 28, Keane has grown into an integral part of Everton’s side. He leads the charts for minutes played in the Premier League for Everton with 2640 minutes which is 94 minutes more than the closest player.
He has proved to be one of their most consistent performers which has seen him become part of Gareth Southgate’s England squads on a regular basis.
Going forward, he’s notched three goals and one assist, with his header against Liverpool in October a standout moment for the defender.
In the air, he wins 2.9 aerials per game, which is the highest out of all the centre back’s at the club. He also leads the stats for interceptions with 1.5 per game and clearances too, with 4.5 per game.
“Keane has arguably enjoyed his best season at Goodison. His composure on the ball and goal-scoring threat have been a major plus.”
Toffee Blues TV:
“Keane has had I’d say a 6/10 season. He has done okay for the majority but has had a few errors, I do think he was better last season. Still, he has 4 goals and 2 assists which is impressive for a centre back.”
4. Richarlison (6.99)
Often Everton’s biggest threat, Richarlison can play a multitude of attacking roles and is an integral player for the club; he is second to Keane in minutes played with 2524 in the league.
He is often a driving force of the side and is usually a main threat as he has 2.3 shots per game, which is just behind top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Furthermore, he is by far their most fouled player (2.2 per game) which is mostly due to his dribbling ability in which he has 1.9 successful dribbles per game – the highest in the squad.
His return in all competitions is 12 goals and three assists, with six goals coming in the league. He hasn’t been able to build on the promising campaign of last year, but has still been a constant threat.
“Although not quite reaching the levels hoped for after his previous promising campaign, Richarlison’s tenacity and hard-running remain a huge asset.”
Toffee Blues TV:
“Richarlison hasn’t looked his regular self this season, probably down to majority of our style and play focusing on Calvert-Lewin this season. Richy still does have 12 goals and 3 assists this season though which for a player who I don’t think has played too well is decent return. Worked his socks off too.”
3. Lucas Digne (7.08)
The Frenchman is a vastly experienced left back, who is certainly one of the first names on the team sheet as he is the sixth highest player for minutes played. He offers pace, technical ability, and good delivery from out wide.
He has the third highest tackles in the squad with 2.2 per game, and he also offers 2.3 clearances and 1 interception per game. In addition, he is only dribbled past 0.9 times per game. For comparison, that’s less than Tottenham’s Sergio Reguilón and Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo.
Going forward, the 27-year-old has seven Premier League assists, which is the highest in the squad – this is joint highest in the league for a defender, with West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell also on the same number of assists.
He also has the second highest amount of key passes with 1.5 per game and has the highest crosses per game with 1.5 showing he is a constant outlet on the left flank for the Merseyside outfit.
“So much of Everton’s attacking threat, some may say too much, comes through the Frenchman’s cultured left foot. An essential member of the team.”
Toffee Blues TV:
“You know what you get with Lucas, a quality left back. Brilliant that he signed a new contract with the club too. Hopefully we can get somebody in the summer to link with him probably on the wing.”
2. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (7.21)
Everton’s main man Calvert-Lewin has risen to heights never reached before in Everton colours as his 16 Premier League goals have seen his stock rise as he has become a regular in the England squad.
He’s also bagged three Carabao Cup goals and two FA Cup goals which makes this his best ever scoring season as a professional so far.
His strengths lie in the air as, at 6 foot 2, he has the highest aerial success rate in the squad with 4.5 won per game. Whilst also averaging the highest shots per game with 2.5.
Those aerial stats see him joint third in the league for aerials won per game and in the top 10 for shots per game which shows he is always a threat as the target man for Everton, who is also capable of running in behind.
“The breakthrough star of Everton’s season and evolving into a top class centre forward. His goals have been key to the European places charge.”
Toffee Blues TV:
“Dom has been one of our best players this season, I would say my Player Of The Season. But to break 20 goals in a season is something I never thought he would ever do for us. Can’t wait to see how he manages next season with a better squad around him.”
1. James Rodríguez (7.24)
The former Real Madrid player took the league by storm in the early part of the season, as he fired Everton the top of the table in the first month.
He had produced three goals and four assists inside his first six matches but since then, he’s struggled to replicate that form.
His creativity has been a great addition to this Everton side, as he sits joint top for through balls in the league. He also has 1.7 key passes per game, which sees him inside the top 15 in the league for that stat.
Possessing great technical ability, the Columbian will look to improve on his first season in the league, but it is clear he is a leading player in this Everton side.
“Simply Everton’s best player. Although injuries have hampered his overall impact when he is available he’s usually the best player on the park. So many big results this term, such as the overdue Anfield win, simply wouldn’t have happened without him.”
Toffee Blues TV:
“At the start he was fantastic, then his injuries started flaring up. Carlo started playing him when I think he wasn’t 100% fit which hasn’t helped. But James quality on the ball when he has played has showed and the team are so much better when he is playing.”
Follow Greg O’Keefee on Twitter, at @GregOK and view his work here https://theathletic.co.uk/author/greg-okeeffe/
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