Everton wrapped up their Goodison Park schedule for the season with a fourth-straight win and fifth successive clean sheet at home on Friday night.
Their 2-0 win over Burnley demonstrated once again the points potential at both ends of the pitch for the Toffees – which may help make them a team worth covering in the early stages of 2019/20.
We’ve had a look at the key talking points in this latest Scout Notes article.
Everton 2-0 Burnley
Goals: Seamus Coleman (£5.2m)
Own Goals: Ben Mee (£4.6m)
Assists: Richarlison (£6.4m), Lucas Digne (£5.4m)
Bonus: Digne x3, Coleman x2, Kurt Zouma x1 (£5.0m)
Lucas Digne‘s (£5.4m) 12-point haul on Friday night lifted him to fourth among the highest-scoring defenders of the 2017/18 season, which will go some way to making him one of the first names in teams next term, provided the price and fixtures are right. The Frenchman offered attacking threat once again, finishing the win over Burnley joint-third for goal attempts and joint-top for chances created, securing maximum bonus too.
Options such as Aymeric Laporte (£6.2m) and Marcos Alonso (£6.2m) admittedly have a game in hand on Digne, but to be so close to the top three assets at this stage, Liverpool’s triumvirate of Andrew Robertson (£6.8m), Virgil van Dijk (£6.7m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.7m) says a lot about how much he has to offer, especially in terms of attacking returns.
What turned some managers off Digne, even when he was intermittently registering big scores over the winter period was Everton’s poor defensive form. However, now that Marco Silva has addressed those problems effectively, Digne has the potential to be the complete package next season. In the last 10 matches, the Toffees have kept eight clean sheets and have not conceded a goal at home since February, when Manchester City came to visit in Double Gameweek 25. The teams that have blanked at Goodison Park since then are Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and now Burnley, who did not manage a shot on target until the 58th minute on Friday night.
When looking ahead to next season for options, Digne’s success should not let us overlook what Seamus Coleman (£5.2m) has to offer. Against Burnley, he registered more touches in the penalty box than any other player bar Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.4m) and had the joint-most number of shots there too. That led him to score his second goal of the season when he opted to stay in an advanced position even after one of Everton’s attacks broke down. Coleman’s persistence was rewarded as his position allowed him to nod home the rebound from Digne’s 20th-minute shot – although he did admit post-match that the manager was probably unhappy before he found the net.
“To be fair, no probably not (asked if Silva would have been happy with him playing so far forward). He likes one of us (the full-backs) to go in and the other one to stay but I was desperate to get on the score sheet so I went against the manager’s orders and got the goal and that’s all that matters.” – Seamus Coleman
Whether the Toffees can carry their defensive form into 2019/20 may depend on whether they can tie Kurt Zouma (£5.0m) to a permanent deal at the club. The Chelsea loanee has been vital to recent improvements at the back for Everton and was once again a key performer at the back on Friday night, earning considerable praise from his colleagues and the local press. Zouma also pulled in one bonus point for his efforts.
“I think eight in 10 now which is brilliant. It gives us the foundations to win games. (Zouma) is a top-class player so we’re obviously desperate to keep him. He’ll have his own situation so we’ll have to see, but fingers crossed (we can keep him).” – Michael Keane
“In the last 10 matches, we kept eight clean sheets playing offensive football, just in this way we can grow as a team. Everything is different this season, the ideas are different, some players they need time to adapt, everything that we are asking them is different. They are doing well and they are enjoying what they are doing.” – Marco Silva
Also key to Everton’s improvements at the back in recent months have been the performances of Idrissa Gueye (£4.7m), whose continued presence at the club may prove pivotal in whether or not we target their defenders for 2019/20. The Senegalese international has been a crucial cog in the Toffees’ midfield when it comes to breaking up the play of their opponents and offloading to the more creative outlets. However, such impressive displays have attracted the attention of suitors both in the Premier League and outside of it, so Silva may face a tough summer of trying to keep hold of Gueye ahead of him.
“Obviously, Burnley play with two big lads up front so they’re going to win a fair few, and we had to win the knock-downs. Some of the midfield lads did that brilliantly today.” – Michael Keane
“Our work is already done, our board already knows what we want for the next season, but the first thing we have to do is keep our best players.” – Marco Silva
Owners of Sigurdsson can probably feel a little hard-done-by in Gameweek 37 as he was once again a key part of Everton’s attack. He had more touches in the penalty box than any other player, was joint-top for shots in that area of the pitch and registered the highest number of completed passes in the final third. Furthermore, it was his pass that set Richarlison (£6.4m) up to find the net 17th minute, but he lost his assist when it was reclassified as a Ben Mee (£4.6m) own goal because the initial shot was off-target. Sigurdsson was substituted in stoppage time but only for tactical reasons. Centre-back Phil Jagielka (£4.3m) came on for the Icelandic international to make potentially his last appearance at Goodison Park.
Richarlison owners also suffered some frustration considering the Brazilian lost two points from his goal becoming just an FPL assist. Also, he was forced off the pitch early in the second half with a recurrence of the rib injury that has plagued him in recent weeks.
Those invested in Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.4m) were left disappointed too as his hard-working performance yielded no attacking returns. This was the first time since Gameweek 29 that the youthful forward blanked at home, but he came close to making it a fourth successive match in the points. Calvert-Lewin proved to be the so-called ‘assister for the assister’ of both of Everton’s goals, playing the ball into Sigurdsson before he set-up Richarlison, and having a shot blocked before Digne nearly scored a few minutes later, the Frenchman’s effort just saved by Tom Heaton (£4.8m) before Coleman turned it in.
Calvert-Lewin certainly deserved his praise at full-time because it was his graft that helped Everton on their way but whether he can retain his place in the side next season depends on how Silva wants to set his side up. The Toffees manager cited the influence of Romelu Lukaku‘s (£10.7m) departure from the club as a major influence in his plans for the club’s strike-force, indicating that he is on the hunt for a more recognised goal-scorer long-term.
“I think we’ve got that good balance in the second half of the season. When the play out from the back or when to recognise to go long. I think Dominic has done that well up front and has given us options. He causes defenders problems all night long. So we’ve done it well, we’ve mixed our football well and we’ll look to do that next season as well.” – Michael Keane
“Since Lukaku left our club always it will be the same conversation. When we had a striker score more than 20 goals every season and we sold the player everyone is asking if one player can score more. I think we have to respect Dominic (Calvert-Lewin), respect Cenk (Tosun) and Richarlison who can play there. Of course, if you ask me if I want an improved goal-scorer, of course, I want. We have some targets for us.” – Marco Silva
Burnley offered very little at Everton and proved once again why they have dropped off the Fantasy radar. They are the only side with no asset owned by more than 5% of managers, and we saw why on Friday night. As already mentioned, it took until roughly the hour-mark for the Clarets to land a shot on target and the manner in which they started the game had them looking very shaky and likely to concede even more at 2-0 down. A Gameweek 38 meeting with Arsenal is not expected to yield much in the way of returns at either end of the field based on this performance.
Everton XI (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Digne, Zouma, Keane, S Coleman; Gueye, Schneiderlin; Bernard (Lookman 73′), Sigurdsson (Jagielka 90+1′), Richarlison (Walcott 49′); Calvert-Lewin.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Heaton; Taylor, Mee, Tarkowksi, Lowton; Brady (Hendrick 80′), Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson (McNeil 69′); Wood, A Barnes (Vydra 72′).