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Talking Tactics

Richarlison has tools to lead line for Everton

Adrian Clarke 20 Oct 2018

Adrian Clarke says Brazilian can thrive as a central striker against Crystal Palace

Adrian Clarke looks at the tactical battles set to take place in Matchweek 9.

Everton v Crystal Palace

Richarlison is the deadliest finisher at Marco Silva’s disposal.

So it would be no surprise if he is asked to play as Everton’s lead striker for the second successive match against Crystal Palace.

Having scored four times from only nine efforts this term, the 21-year-old has many of the attributes required to succeed as a centre-forward.

He is powerful, quick, strong in the air, boasts exceptional movement and is calm in front of goal.

Last time out against Leicester City, Richarlison scored a poacher's goal and also drew two Wes Morgan fouls that led to the defender’s dismissal.

The Brazilian is the man Palace will fear most at Goodison Park.

Best mins/goal records in 2018/19
 Player Mins / goal Conv rate Shots on target Goals
Hazard 82 58% 83% 7
Aguero 116 21% 46% 5
Richarlison 120 44% 78% 4
Murray 129 42% 50% 5
Lacazette 134 24% 47% 4

*minimum four goals; figures up to MW8

Penalty-box player

It is no coincidence that Everton's worst two performances of the season, at home to West Ham United and Huddersfield Town, were matches Richarlison missed through suspension.

Adding speed and dynamism to the left flank within Silva’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, he has stretched defences and made a number of excellent contributions.

Yet very few of those have come from wide areas.

In his six Premier League starts the former Watford winger has delivered just 11 open-play crosses, none of which have been successful.

He has also created only four chances for team-mates.

So, despite being more accustomed to playing as a wide man, Richarlison is far more of a forward player than he is a creator.

Most of the damage he inflicts occurs inside the penalty box. Three of his four goals have been close-range finishes from the centre of the goalmouth.

Pushed on

From a tactical perspective, Silva’s side play a faster and more adventurous brand of football than Everton did under Sam Allardyce.

The Toffees are ranked ninth for the most shots in the division, at a rate of 12.9 per match.

That is a far cry from their 9.4 shots per 90 minutes in 2017/18, ranked second from bottom in the division.

The pace of Richarlison has helped Everton to push rival defences deeper this term.

At the back they are also able to hold their line much higher, with the athletic Kurt Zouma at centre-back.

Those two summer additions have registered the second and third-fastest top speeds respectively within the Everton squad.

Share of touches in each third
Everton  2017/18 2018/19
Touches in final third 24.1% 26.5%
Touches in central third 43.7% 46.7%
Touches in defensive third 32.3% 26.8%
Attacking transformation

As the table above shows, the impact of these tactical and personnel changes is that Everton now have considerably more touches in the most advanced areas of the pitch.

The Toffees have transformed themselves into a side who play on the front foot.

Silva has implemented a style of play that makes best use of the combined speed and skill provided by Richarlison, Theo Walcott, Bernard and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Palace will pose a threat on the counter-attack this Sunday but they must ready themselves for a stern examination inside their own half.

Also in this series

Part 2: Huddersfield can give Liverpool aerial challenge
Part 3: How Mourinho has form in stopping Hazard
Part 4: Vardy pace can break Arsenal's winning run

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