Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has lauded Dominic Calvert-Lewin as ‘one of the best’ in the air, after being left impressed by the Everton regular’s performance against his title-chasing side on Saturday.
Marco Silva once again trusted Calvert-Lewin to lead his attack at Goodison Park over the weekend, in what was the former England under-21 international’s 15th start in the Premier League from a possible 18 dating back to his outing at Cardiff City on February 26 (TransferMarkt).
Despite being the striker favoured by Silva throughout the closing stages of the Portuguese’s maiden term at Goodison Park, Calvert-Lewin repaid his manager’s faith with just six goals in 35 games in the league.
The Sheffield-born forward has already scored two goals in six league fixtures this season, with the 22-year-old nodding home from the line on Saturday after Seamus Coleman chipped Man City ‘keeper Ederson for what would have been the Republic of Ireland captain’s 27th in blue.
Calvert-Lewin’s prior strike at Bournemouth also came from the air, when he rose highest in the Cherries’ box to strike from close range after Richarlison whipped the ball into the area.
The Sheffield United product has caught the attention of City boss Guardiola, who claimed sides would need the talents of the 22-year-old if they were to cause his squad as many problems in the absence of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte.
“They can do it if they have Calvert-Lewin’s skills,” Guardiola said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo, when asked if long balls and diagonal passes could be a tactic teams could use to get the better of his Etihad Stadium natives.
“If they have Richarlison skills, they can do it. There are a few teams that are using it and we adapt to it. I think, when you win two Premier Leagues, you face different styles, not just all the same.
“We knew it was tight, this stadium, and the spectators push a lot to [the players]. We knew it. Calvert-Lewin is one of the best headers I have ever seen in jumping and flicking the ball [on]. Richarlison is strong, so we know it [was going to be tough].”
Despite Guardiola’s lavish praise, Calvert-Lewin is not entirely showing himself to be ‘one of the best’ players in the air, as the 22-year-old has actually lost more duels than he has won since the start of the 2017/18 Premier League campaign.
Across his 32 appearances in the 17/18 season, he won 135 of his 305 duels in the air, which was a tally which decreased to 111 from 160 last term, and is so far continuing on the same path with Calvert-Lewin only getting the better of an opponent 31 times in 66 battles, per WhoScored data.
The 1.87m centre-forward may be set for a career-high average 6.9 successful duels per 90 minutes, but is also set to come home close behind his career-high duels lost (7.8 to the 8.2 recorded in 17/18), which he must improve to warrant the praise Guardiola has issued.
Is Marco Silva the right man for Everton?
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