With Everton having a poor run of form, only managing three draws in their last 3 Premier League games, including the Merseyside derby, fans would have been left wondering how long things are going to stay like this and when they are going to return to winning ways. Maybe it’s just bad luck, but there is definitely something going wrong considering they should have got more than the 3 out of 9 points in their last three displays.
This weekend, they welcomed a travelling Stoke side to Goodison Park, who have not been the best away team this season, conceding 11 goals and only picking up 4 away points previously. Everton, on the other hand, have not lost a game at home and maintained their impressive record, winning comfortably, thanks to an influential performance from Gerard Deulofeu, who played a vital part in the 4-0 win.
After limited opportunities, Roberto Martinez finally decided to give a first Everton start to the 19-year-old forward, who is on loan from Barcelona. With the longest amount of match time since joining, coming in last week’s derby, Deulofeu would have been hoping to prove why Martinez should started him more often. And he did exactly that, producing a fine attacking display, scoring one and being involved in two.
Deulofeu started the match off bright, threatening Stoke’s goal early on with a number of attempts. With the Spaniard testing Begovic so regularly, he finally scored his first Premier League goal just before the half time whistle. Begovic had to have full concentration every time Deulofeu picked up the ball near his goal, as he took 5 shots, more than any other player on the pitch, all of which were on target. As seen below, it was calculated that he had taken a shot about every 22 minutes.
It was easy to see why Deulofeu was important to the result, as not only did he produce goals but also created goals for his teammates. Deulofeu was involved in the second goal, crossing into the box to Gareth Barry whose poor control allowed the ball to fall for Coleman to volley into the net. Funnily enough, this was Deulofeu’s only successful cross out of his attempted 12.
Completing 56% out of a total 9 dribbles, Deulofeu made the most dribbles in the game, again, more than any other player on the pitch. Out of the unsuccessful dribbles, he was still able to win 5 out of 9 Everton corners. From a corner, Deulofeu assisted Brian Oviedo’s goal, passing short for Oviedo to strike from just on the edge of the area.
Barcelona to Merseyside
After such an impressive performance, Everton fans will be hoping that the young Spaniard starts every match from now on and why shouldn’t they? When key players haven’t been producing, Deulofeu has stepped up and showed why he is such a star in the making. And as much as Roberto Martinez would like to keep him after his loan deal has finished, Barcelona will surely be keeping an eye on things.