Everton narrowly escaped being demoted last season, securing their spot in the Premier League with a close 1-0 victory against Bournemouth on the last day. Manager Sean Dyche’s efforts ensured they avoided relegation, and there was optimism for a smoother season ahead without the threat of demotion, giving them a chance to solidify their position before moving to a new stadium next year. However, their season began with a disastrous start.
Everton kicked off the season with a five-game winless run, succumbing to defeats against Fulham, Aston Villa, Wolves and Arsenal. A surprise 3-1 win at Brentford in September offered a brief reprieve but their subsequent defeat to newly promoted Luton – still that club’s only win in the Premier League after 12 matches – suggested that Everton were in for another long season.
After suffering a painful and concerning loss against Luton at home, Everton has begun to move away from danger and improve their standing in the league. In fact, they have emerged victorious in three out of their last five games. Their recent 3-2 win against Crystal Palace has pushed them eight points above the relegation zone. With the current performance of the newly promoted teams, it is unlikely that Everton supporters will have to endure another battle to avoid relegation this season.
It could be argued that Everton deserves a higher ranking than 14th in the table. They have faced misfortune this season, as their poor finishing has been the main reason for their below-average performance. It’s important to note that four of their six losses in the league were by only one goal, and in three of those games, they had more shots than their opponents. They have struggled in close matches and have not been able to score crucial goals. Surprisingly, their goal difference is equal to Manchester United’s, but Everton is in 14th place while United is in sixth.
In the current season, Everton has scored a total of 14 goals in the league, placing them as the 12th highest scoring team. They have taken a total of 167 shots, making them the 10th most active team in terms of shots. In terms of shots on target, they rank ninth with a total of 57 shots, which is on par with Manchester United who are ranked eight positions higher than them. It is evident that Everton has no trouble creating opportunities, but their main issue lies in finishing them. They have missed a total of 22 big chances, ranking them fifth in the Premier League for most missed chances. Additionally, their shot conversion rate of 8.4% places them at 13th in the league.
At the beginning of the season, they were either unlucky or careless – it depends on how you see it. In their first seven matches, they only earned four points, and they missed the most obvious opportunities compared to all other teams in the league (18). Their conversion rate of 5.6% was also the lowest among the 20 Premier League clubs. Despite only scoring six goals in those seven games, it did not reflect their performance on the field. The only thing they were missing was the ability to finish their chances.
Their poor start can be attributed to their lack of success in scoring goals. Everton has only scored 14 goals, which is significantly lower than their expected amount of 20.8 goals. This difference is the biggest among all teams in the league this season. In September, centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite acknowledged their misfortune, stating that they have been unlucky in the games they have played so far.
However, luck seems to be turning in favor of Everton. They are successfully scoring goals while also maintaining a strong defense in the style of Dyche. They have no trouble preventing their opponents from scoring, with Branthwaite standing out in the defensive line. This season, Everton has only let in 17 goals (three of which were penalties), making them the ninth best team in terms of conceding goals. They also have a low average of only 12.4 shots per game, which ranks seventh in the league.
Dyche has successfully implemented a defensive strategy at Burnley and is now doing the same at Goodison. Everton is leading in tackles per game (20.5), but has the fourth lowest possession (39.2%). Their approach is to maintain a tight formation and then quickly launch counterattacks on the wings. Most of their offensive plays occur on either the right (36%) or left side (39%).
Everton (13) and Wolves (14) have been the top two teams in the Premier League this season when it comes to attempting counterattacks. Despite not scoring a goal from these attempts, it is likely that they will eventually see success. Dyche has a specific strategy in mind, utilizing a 4-4-1-1 formation with traditional wingers on the sides and two diligent central midfielders to protect the defense.
At the beginning of the season, Everton’s performance may have caused worry among fans that they would once again be fighting against relegation. However, there were positive signs and it was only a matter of time before things improved. This is exactly what has occurred. With three wins in their last five matches, Everton has moved away from danger. Dyche has not altered his strategies, but rather, his team was due for a boost in form. In reality, Everton has been playing better than their current standing in the league indicates.
Top performers in the Premier League this week.