Stunning statistics show January decision will be key for Everton as integral player nears return

Dyche has confirmed Doucoure will not recover in time from his thigh injury for this one.Dyche has confirmed Doucoure will not recover in time from his thigh injury for this one.
Dyche has confirmed Doucoure will not recover in time from his thigh injury for this one.
The Everton midfielder has been key ever since Sean Dyche's arrival at the club.

Everton have a number of key players who are integral to the way they play and going without them would be hugely detrimental to their fortunes, but Abdoulaye Doucoure's absence seems to hit harder than any.

Doucoure, 31, has six goals and one assist in 20 games this season to go alongside the seven goal contributions he posted last season and his record of non-penalty goals has him right up there with the best midfielders in the league since Sean Dyche's arrival. And that's why fans were overjoyed to hear that the midfielder had opted not to attend the Africa Cup of Nations scheduled to begin next week which would have taken him away for most of the month. An untimely injury has prevented him from featuring in any of their last four games, as well as their clash with Crystal Palace in the FA Cup. Despite that, he could return against Aston Villa on January 14.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Without his presence in midfield, Dyche does not have a player capable of being that goalscoring threat from midfield. James Garner has shown glimpses of it this season and will be tasked with stepping up in his absence, but Doucoure's unique profile and threat is something that cannot be easily replicated - and the stats back it up not only under Dyche, but under the previous few managers as well.

Doucoure signed in 2020 and has played under Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez and Frank Lampard, as well as Dyche. As per ToffeeAnalysis, the figures show that all four managers have experienced better fortunes in terms of points per game with Doucoure in the side rather than when he is not. The biggest disparity is shown from Dyche's reign; as he averages 1.44 points per game with him in the side and just 0.17 when he is isn't, further corroborating the idea that he is fundamental to Everton right now.

Benitez also experienced a huge drop-off as well - from 1.2 with to 0.25 without. For Ancelotti, it was more of the same, as his figures dropped from 1.69 with to 1.25 without but his side was by the far the most complete out of the four as he managed an eighth placed finish and had more firepower in his side as a whole, which is why the points without him wasn't as low as the others.

The most interesting is Lampard's figures; the former Chelsea and Derby County manager famously neglected the midfielder for most of his time at the club, especially from the beginning of the 2022/23 season up until his eventual sacking in January of 2023. Across that six-month period, he managed just 223 minutes, starting just once and perhaps, given those facts, his choice to neglect the former Watford midfielder is one of the reasons why he failed to keep his job.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For Lampard, Doucoure's presence resulted in eight wins and two draws in 24 games and they conceded less shots (3.6 less) and earned more points per game (0.42 more). Without him, it was just one win in 14, with six draws and seven defeats across that time.

Every manager also conceded more shots per game without him in the side which also tells it's own story, but his total duels won numbers have been slowly falling from a high of 53% in 2020/21 to 49% (21/22) 40% (22/23) and 35% this season.

The reason for the steep drop-off is obvious, however; he is playing further forward than he did when he arrived at the club and is now affecting the game far more in the final third than ever before. He's now averaging far more shots and more key passes per game than during any period across his time at the club which reflects his new role. For Dyche, and Everton, the sooner he returns the better and the awarding of a new deal earlier this season was one of the best decisions they've made in recent times.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.