Everton supporters in the Transfer Tavern have been somewhat satisfied in the last few days after seeing their side kick off the 2018/19 Premier League season with a hard-fought draw.
There was much optimism among Toffees fans heading into the new campaign following the appointment of Marco Silva earlier in the summer, and two goals from debutant Richarlison twice gave his side the lead at newly-promoted Wolves on Saturday. Yet the Merseysiders were twice pegged back thanks to goals from Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez, while the red card in the first half to defender Phil Jagielka hardly aided their cause in searching for all three points.
Nonetheless, there are many satisfied Evertonians around the country following Saturday’s draw, and while Richarlison has unsurprisingly earned several rave reviews for his efforts in netting twice on debut, it was £18 million-rated ace Idrissa Gueye (as per Transfermarkt) who was Everton’s unsung hero at Molineux at the weekend.
Ultimately, the midfield position has been something of a problem area at Goodison Park for a while now, and that cause wasn’t helped greatly over the summer following Wayne Rooney’s departure to DC United.
However, Senegal international Gueye has been the one that has kept things ticking over expertly in the heart of the Toffees midfield, and he did so again on Saturday with another excellent display both on and off the ball for Silva’s side.
The 28-year-old touched the ball 65 times and enjoyed a very healthy pass success rate of 83% over the course of the 90 minutes, and while the latter number was less than fellow midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin (88%), Gueye touched the ball more times and made, and completed, more passes than the France international.
Significantly, Gueye’s work off the ball was excellent as well in winning all three of his aerial duels as well as making three out of the four tackles he attempted during the match, thus giving the visitors a platform in the midfield from which to get forward and create opportunities.
And with two interceptions and a clearance, the Senegalese star did his defensive duties well to help the Toffees absorb the pressure that was always likely following Jagielka’s sending off, at the same time staking a claim for a midfield spot which is likely to come under threat following the arrival of Andre Gomes on loan from Barcelona.
Yes, Richarlison deserves a lot of credit for two well-taken goals on his Toffees debut, but Gueye’s efforts in the midfield means he was the unsung hero as they took a point from proceedings in the West Midlands.
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