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Talking Tactics

Arsenal must beware of Richarlison's aerial threat

Adrian Clarke 19 Dec 2019
Richarlison, Everton

Adrian Clarke analyses how dangerous the Everton forward has been with his head this season

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points ahead of Matchweek 18.

Nobody in the Premier League attacks crosses better than Everton's Richarlison 

The 22-year-old has spent the bulk of this season operating as a winger but is at his best getting on the end of balls whipped into the penalty area.

One of only three top-flight players to score more than two headed goals this term, the Brazilian has produced more efforts on goal with his head than anybody else.  

Had Richarlison started more than just five matches as a central striker, he would, in all likelihood, be streets ahead of any other player on that list.  

Arsenal must make it a priority to try and prevent crosses being sent into the box.  

Most headed shots and goals
Most headed shots Most headed goals
Richarlison 15 Chris Wood 4
Sadio Mane 13 Richarlison 3
Raul Jimenez 12 Jamie Vardy 3
Sebastien Haller  12    
Double trouble 

Six of Richarlison's last 10 efforts have been with his head and his last three Premier League goals have all been dispatched with headers from excellent open-play crosses 

Two of those assists came from right-back Djibril Sidibe, with Bernard’s left foot supplying the other 

Caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson's switch to twin strikers has increased Richarlison's goal threat from these situations.  

In Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton boast two of the most dangerous aerial threats in the league

With full-backs Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney out injured and Hector Bellerin also uncertain to start, Arsenal can expect to be targeted down their flanks.

If they do not get tight enough to block those crosses, the players may well be in for a long afternoon under the gaze of their new head coach Mikel Arteta.

Set-piece tormentor 

Richarlison is renowned for his pace, his finishing ability off either foot and his adaptability across the forward line, but he is also superb at getting on the end of set-plays.  

In fact, over 38 per cent of Richarlison’s opportunities this season have come from corners and wide free-kicks.  

Remarkably, the only Premier League player to have more chances from these situations is team-mate Yerry Mina 

Most shots from set-pieces
Player Total
Yerry Mina  16
Raul Jimenez 15
Richarlison 15
Harry Maguire 14
Ruben Neves 14

*excluding penalties & direct free-kicks in 2019/20

Early in the campaign Richarlison consistently read the flight of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s set-piece deliveries, but in recent matches left-back Lucas Digne has been his chief supplier.  

Both players created seven chances apiece that led to Richarlison attempts from set plays.

If Digne is not passed fit to feature against Arsenal, the experienced Leighton Baines will be expected to fill the void.  

A man in form 

With four goals in his last seven league appearances, Richarlison is on a hot streak ahead of Arsenal's visit to Goodison Park 

He has perhaps been at his most impressive this season when cutting in from the right wing, scoring twice from 19 attempts across seven starts in that position.  

However, he is developing a handy strike partnership with Calvert-Lewin, a pairing Everton's next manager will surely be interested in fielding.  

Arsenal arrive low on confidence and with a poor record on their travels, conceding the first goal in six of their eight road trips this season.

So a fast start from Everton and an on-song Richarlison could make it another challenging day for the north London club.

Also in this series

Part 1: Greenwood one of league's best two-footed talents
Part 2: Duel between De Bruyne and Maddison to be decisive
Part 4: Spurs focusing on quick breaks under Mourinho

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