After a bright start to the season, Everton are now winless in six games. Their poor form recently is further highlighted by four losses in the previous five matches. As a result, Rafa Benitez’s side are placed 12th in the Premier League with four wins, three draws, and five losses in 12 matches. With Benitez under massive pressure, his side needs to rally up and bounce back in the upcoming matches if they are to cement their place in the top half of the league table.
Much of Everton’s poor form can be attributed to the growing and extensive list of injuries to many of their prominent starting XI players. The likes of Calvert-Lewin, Andre Gomes, Yerry Mina, and Abdoulaye Doucoure have all suffered injuries which have limited their appearances. Recently, Demarai Gray was added to Everton’s long list of injuries when he suffered an adductor injury in the recent 0-3 loss against Manchester City.
Amidst Everton’s injury crisis and poor form, Anthony Gordon has emerged as Everton’s bright spark in recent matches. While he is yet to register either a goal or an assist this season, his recent performances have inspired confidence in Everton fans. Benitez has even described Gordon as an important player for Everton in the future. In the recent games against Tottenham and Manchester City, he was one of Everton’s standout performers, displaying his technical ability and energy. So far, Gordon has made nine appearances in the Premier League, although most of these appearances have been cameos. However, Everton’s injury crisis can prove to be a boon for the attacking midfielder.
Let’s analyze his stats from the current season to gauge if Gordon can provide Everton with the attacking and creative spark in their upcoming matches.
While he has mostly appeared as a substitute this season, barring the previous two matches, Gordon’s attacking and creativity stats have been impressive, with most of his attacking stats surpassing the league median value. He has averaged upward of four dribbles per match with a success rate of 81.82%. In addition, Gordon averages more than eight attacking actions per match. He has described his playing style as quick and explosive.
In Everton’s recent loss against Watford, Gordon was substituted after an hour. Benitez explained his decision stating that Gordon lacked the necessary intensity to perform for 90 minutes and that his best work would come in short spaces. Gordon has been recommended to improve his overall stamina and physicality, and there have been signs that he is improving slowly in that regard. So far this season, Gordon has been deployed on both the right and left sides of Benitez’s 4-4-1-1 formation, indicating that he is adept at playing multiple roles.
For an attacking midfielder, Gordon’s defensive work is commendable. His duel map indicates that he has often dropped deep to support his defenders. Gordon has engaged in defensive duels both in the offensive half as well as in the defensive half.
From his recent performances, Gordon has displayed his dormant potential and laid his claim in Benitez’s starting line-up. While he can still improve his fitness, work rate, and physicality, his technical attributes can provide Everton with the attacking and creative spark in their upcoming matches.