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Talking Tactics

Calvert-Lewin can rise to the occasion against Palace

Adrian Clarke 17 May 2022
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton, Talking Tactics

Adrian Clarke says fit-again Everton striker can use his aerial prowess to great effect on Thursday

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 37.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (EVE) 

Now that he has returned to full fitness, Calvert-Lewin can be the focal point Everton need to help them get over the line in their battle to stay in the Premier League.

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The striker made only his 13th start of an injury-ravaged campaign in Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Brentford, scoring for a fourth time this season.

Losing that key fixture, with nine men, was disappointing, but Calvert-Lewin’s goal will lift his morale ahead of Thursday's hugely important home encounter against Crystal Palace.

When Calvert-Lewin starts 
  Matches Goals Goals/90
Calvert-Lewin starts 13 19 1.46
Other matches 26 20 0.77

While the 25-year-old will be frustrated at his lack of goals and match-time, it is clear Everton are more potent when he starts.

As shown in the table above, Frank Lampard’'s side score almost double the number of goals per match when Calvert-Lewin is in their starting XI.

His presence in attack adds an additional goal threat and with the lively Richarlison and Anthony Gordon flanking him, Palace's defence will have their hands full.

Aerial power

The Toffees like to mix up their distribution between short and long passes, but Calvert-Lewin’s inclusion in the side does provide a handy outlet.

No Everton player wins more aerial duels per 90 minutes and despite featuring for only a third of the campaign, just one team-mate has won more in the air than him.

When Palace go to press Everton inside their own half, they are more likely to be susceptible to a longer pass because of Calvert-Lewin’s presence.

He won nine of 12 aerial contests against Brentford last time out and his flick-ons will help the likes of Richarlison and Gordon to advance.

Most aerial duels won at Everton 
  Aerial duels won Starts
Michael Keane 90 29
Dominic Calvert-Lewin 72 13
Richarlison 65 27

The 6ft 2in striker scored seven headed goals in 2020/21, which means he is a threat every time Everton send the ball into the box.

This is an approach Everton have taken a lot this season, despite their disappointing results.

Using the wings as a source of their attacks more frequently than most teams in the division, they have produced the third-highest number of successful crosses.

Most successful open play crosses 2021/22
  Succ. open play crosses
Liverpool 119
Spurs 103
Everton 99
West Ham 99
Man City 99

Currently using a 3-4-2-1 formation, Lampard has given opportunities to Alex Iwobi and Vitalii Mykolenko in wing-back positions and both will hope to provide plenty of service to their attack.

If Calvert-Lewin can dominate Palace's defence, Everton have a great chance of securing their Premier League status.

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