The 3-0 win against Crystal Palace at Goodison Park saw Everton 12th in the Premier League table

Although the Toffees were two points better off at this stage last season, there is a sense of optimism as manager Frank Lampard has made some shrewd acquisitions in the summer, especifically in midfield. Idrissa Gana Gueye returned to the club from PSG whilst £33 million was spent on Amadou Onana from Lille.

However, the standout central midfielder for Lampard’s side this season has been a player already at the club. Alex Iwobi has come on leaps and bounds since the arrival of  Lampard. The Nigerian international had struggled for consistent form under previous Everton managers, but this season has looked revitalised. Naturally a winger, Lampard has opted to play Iwobi on the left side of a three-man midfield – most recently alongside Gueye and Onana.

This new position suits Iwobi’s skillset more than being tasked to stretch defences and score goals. Ever since his Arsenal days, he has been regarded as an impressive dribbler, with a solid passing range, and his ability to do so has been utilised by Lampard to progress the ball through the lines and up the pitch as the Toffees look to hit teams on the counter attack.

Attacking Numbers

After 12 games this season, Iwobi has one goal and five assists which matches his best tally for goals and assists for Everton.

According to Opta, compared to his Toffees midfield counterparts, Tom Davies, Onana, Gueye and Doucoure, Iwobi excels in assists, forward passes, through balls attempted and take-ons completed per 90 mins. This highlights his role in the team as a force to push his side up the pitch in possession and try to threaten the opposition’s defence with through balls for the likes of Anthony Gordon, Dwight McNeil and, following his return from injury, Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

We saw this in Everton’s recent win against Palace as Iwobi secured two assists, including a smart backheel pass to McNeil for the third goal.


He ranks in the top 18% for key passes compared to other midfielders – that is a pass that directly results in a teammate taking a shot on goal. These stats show Iwobi regularly creating chances for his teammates even when Everton are not likely to dominate possession in most games.

Defensive Ability

Defensively, his work has improved as well. While he is not winning the ball back too often in the final third, Iwobi has been regularly pressing the opposition in Everton’s defensive third. This could be due to the team’s shape or the instructions he has been specifically given. He has been impressive in applying pressure to the opposition.

As per, Iwobi attempts 5.56 pressures per 90, ranking him in the top 22% of midfielders. With a success rate of 36.4%, he’s placed in the top 18% for successful pressures amongst midfielders.

These numbers show him to be an effective force in putting pressure on the opposition which eventually could lead to turnovers in possession. Combining this with his ball carrying ability and his creative numbers, you can see that the new central midfield role that Lampard has played Iwobi in suits the best of the Nigerian’s skillset.