In the middle of Everton’s struggling season in the Premier League, Abdoulaye Doucoure has been one of Everton’s most consistent performers. The Frenchman has been a regular feature in Benitez’s midfield and has missed just four matches due to an injury. Under Benitez, Doucoure has been given more freedom to roam higher up the pitch as the Spaniard wanted more offensive output from him.

During the start of the season, Doucoure was instrumental in Everton’s decent run of games and scored two goals, and added a further four assists after eight league fixtures. He ranked highly among the league’s top midfielders and displayed his increased offensive output by creating a goal every other match. Everton’s decline in form almost coincided with Doucoure’s injury as they failed to win any games in his absence, a scenario that has continued even after his return. Everton’s struggle for form this season has seen them drop to 14th position in the league with five wins, four draws, and eight losses in 17 matches.

In their recent draw against Chelsea, while he didn’t see much of the ball, Doucoure made sure to aid his team in the defense and was diligent. With Benitez under huge pressure to revive his side’s form, Doucoure would be pivotal if Everton are to climb their way back to the top half of the table.

Let’s dive into his stats to gauge just how crucial is the Frenchman for Everton.

Doucoure is a versatile midfielder capable of slotting in multiple roles due to his intelligence and awareness. He has been deployed in multiple roles by previous managers he has played under. This season Doucoure has added an attacking output to his defensive interventions. His attacking output is evident from his attacking and creativity stats. Doucoure’s most notable stats this season have been goals per 90, headed shots per 90, and shot accuracy. The majority of his attacking and creativity stats have been above the league median value.

Doucoure’s ‘pass receive location’ displays the location where he drops to receive passes.  One of Doucoure’s tasks is to gather loose balls when the play is in the opposition area. During possession, Doucoure joins the attack and is often their main outlet, engaging with opposition players higher up the pitch. Along with Allan, he has fared well in Everton’s midfield, despite Everton’s struggle in the league.

One of Doucoure’s biggest assets is his mobility. His heat map indicates his high work rate. The darker red areas indicate that he has pushed higher up the field more this season. The Frenchman’s line breaking runs and dynamism often cause trouble to his opponents. Under Benitez’s 4-4-1-1 system and its variations, Doucoure has featured in the right side of the midfield. The Frenchman’s work rate allows him to cover vast spaces on the pitch.

Doucure’s dynamism aids him in hounding his opponents and pressuring them to lose the ball. His duel map displays the location where he engages in defensive and aerial duels. Doucoure has engaged in duels actively in his half and the opponent’s half.

From his stats, it is evident that Doucoure has an immense presence in Benitez’s midfield. His versatility allows him to be deployed in multiple roles on the pitch, while his dynamism allows him to engage actively with the opposition players. The Frenchman needs to be in his best form if Everton are to revive their season in the league.