Saturday, March 25, 2023

Everton: Iwobi was a standout today

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Everton suffered their second defeat under Sean Dyche as Aston Villa prevailed 2-0 in a largely scrappy affair between two teams hungry for the three points.

The Toffees had the better chances in the first half but failed to convert, and it took a penalty from Ollie Watkins to break the deadlock before Emiliano Buendía sealed the victory with just under ten minutes to go. The result means that Everton slip back into the Premier League relegation zone.

Despite the defeat, there were some positives to take in terms of individual performances today. Dwight McNeil was impressive, receiving the second-highest Sofascore rating in the Toffees’ starting XI with 7.2/10 as he sought to create plenty of chances for team-mates.

The winger made four key passes, succeeded with seven of his eight dribbles and delivered 13 crosses into the opposition penalty area during the 90 minutes, but it was to no avail as Everton couldn’t find a goal.

However, it was Alex Iwobi who was arguably the finest player for Dyche’s team on the day, doing his bit for the team in spite of them shipping their 13th league defeat of the campaign.

How did Iwobi play against Aston Villa?

Firstly, he received the highest Sofascore rating of anyone in the Everton starting XI with 7.8/10, despite playing for just 70 minutes.

Secondly, the Nigerian midfielder offered a similar attacking threat to McNeil, albeit on the opposite flank. He played two key passes, delivered six crosses, took 41 touches and completed two of his three dribbles.

Everton’s new-found approach was praised by journalist Ben Grounds, who tweeted at half-time: “Encouraging so far after absorbing some early Villa pressure. Dyche is already building a clear identity, getting the ball wide to McNeil with Onana, Iwobi, and Doucoure flooding the box. Gueye doing a fine job screening the defence. Enough for fans to certainly get behind.”

Iwobi was constantly making runs into the Villa penalty box from his position wide on the right, and he wasn’t afraid to chip in defensively when required either.

The 26-year-old won four of his six ground duels while making two tackles and one clearance, although he did lose possession 12 times, which didn’t help Everton’s cause when it came to looking for a goal.

The Nigerian midfielder ranks as the club’s joint-fourth best player this season with an average Sofascore rating of 7/10 and he certainly showcased his abilities this afternoon, but it was just a pity that he couldn’t inspire his team to a vital three points.



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