Bolasie is improving at Everton but is it enough?

Can Ronald Koeman get the most out of his mercurial £30m buy?

Gary McCarty 10/11/2016 21comments  |  Jump to last
Ronald Koeman

Can Koeman get the best out of Yannick Bolasie? (CC BY 2.0) by Ronnie Macdonald

When Everton spent a whopping £25million to bring Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie to Goodison Park, many Toffees fans were up in arms about their club frittering away such large sums of cash on a volatile and unpredictable player. This was a significant chunk of the John Stones money for a man who only managed to muster 5 goals and 3 assists in the previous campaign. The DR Congo player had showed flashes of brilliance (see video below) while at Selhurst Park, but he needs to raise his game a fair few notches to justify the enormous price-tag. After eleven appearances for the Merseyside club, there have been some slight improvements. The question is, is it enough?

Ronald Koeman has proven his worth in the Premier League, and Everton fans should respect his decisions. But it must have hurt to see the Dutchman’s old Southampton charge, Sadio Mane, move to the wrong side of Liverpool in a transfer that only cost £5million more than the Bolasie move. The 24-year-old has scored 6 goals and created 2 this season at Anfield, with a 67% shot accuracy. It was Koeman that signed the Senegalese forward and moulded him into the devastating attacker he is today. So why didn’t he attempt to bring Mane with him to Everton?

Hopefully the answer to that is that Koeman believes Bolasie to have the potential to be a stronger force than Mane, and a player who will link up with Romelu Lukaku more effectively. Certainly, the early signs suggest that Bolasie could become a key player in this Everton side, and the partnership with Everton’s sharpshooting striker is beginning to blossom.

Article continues below video content

Comparing Bolasie’s average stats courtesy of Fantasy Football Scout this season with last, the player has made vast improvements in his involvement and distribution going forward. The 27-year-old is averaging 26.6 touches in the final third, up from 25.7 last season, the amount of passes he receives in the opponents half is up to 21 from 19.3, and he is completing 53.4% of dribbles, up from 47.5% last term. The biggest enhancement in Bolasie’s game from last time out is his goal involvement of 41.7%, from 26.7% in the previous campaign.

While Lukaku continues to be Everton’s main threat in front of goal, Bolasie has the potential to become an assist master. His distribution is clearly on the up for the Blues. Last season Bolasie had a pass success rate of 72.8% in the final third and 18.1% of his crosses met their intended target. This time he has a pass completion rate of 80.2% and his crosses are at 22.7%. This season the former Palace man is creating a chance every 52.3 minutes, whereas last season he set up a goal scoring opportunity every 95.2 minutes. He has also added through balls to his game, with 3 so far and none in the entirety of his previous campaign.

The evidence of Bolasie’s stock rising is there to see, but there are also a number of other factors to take into consideration. He is now playing in a top six challenging side, rather than a team that frequently languishes in the wrong half of the table. The winger also has the opportunity to tee up a highly prolific striker now, whereas at Palace he didn’t have a traditional centre-forward to get on the end of his crosses and passes. Everton are at home to Swansea this weekend, which would be the ideal opportunity for this partnership to thrive. It will be interesting to see if some of the football tipsters go with Lukaku to score a couple this weekend, given he’s already scored a hat-trick against Middlesbrough at home this season.

Although there are other players that could push Bolasie out of the starting XI, namely Aaron Lennon and Gerard Deulofeu, due to the fact that the club forked out so much money for the player it is likely that Koeman will continue to favour him in the right-wing role. But the manager wants his new signing to add more goals to his game.  A secure place in the side should give Bolasie enough time to grow, and hopefully fulfil the potential that his past glimmers of brilliance have suggested he possesses.

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Reader Comments (21)

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Declan Martin
1 Posted 10/11/2016 at 22:40:49
Could have been worse.

We could have ended up with Sissoko...

Anthony Hughes
2 Posted 11/11/2016 at 09:23:22
He's 27 years old. I don't think their will be any great dramatic improvement in his natural ability. Hopefully Koeman and the coaching staff will be able to assist him with his decision making and in-game play. As you say, Gary, hopefully he will now be (or eventually will be) playing with better players which may bring him along.
Gary Edwards
3 Posted 11/11/2016 at 14:36:56
Bolasie at Palace for the past 4 seasons:

2015-16 - 26 Apps, 5 goals
2014-15 - 34 Apps, 4 goals
2013-14 - 29 Apps, 0 goals,
2012-13 - 45 Apps, 3 goals, 8 assists in the Championship

Compare to Mirallas, mindful that a good number of MIrallas appearances were as a sub.

2015-16 - 23 Apps, 4 goals
2014-15 - 29 Apps, 7 goals
2013-14 - 32 Apps, 9 goals,
2012-13 - 27 Apps, 6 goals,

Premier League official site stats tables show that Bolasie is 5th in number of crosses with 66. Mirallas is 15th with 48. Townsend 1st with 89. Bolasie is also = 6th with 4 assists. Make of that what you will...

I really hope that Bolasie finds and maintains that form he's so often displayed against us... and that Koeman is concerned enough to give him the occasional kick up the backside to ensure he stays focused. We need Bolasie to be at his very best to have any chance of success and, for £28m, we have every right to expect his best.

Sean Patton
4 Posted 11/11/2016 at 16:26:24
Mirallas this season is going backwards. He looks a shadow of the player he was whereas Bolasie is improving and, if he keeps on doing so, then £25M for five years will be money well spent.
David Pearl
5 Posted 11/11/2016 at 18:29:56
For me he looks a better player on the left. Then again, it's hard to tell as to what shape we are playing up top. When a few more pieces are added in January we might see further improvement but for now I'm not overly impressed. How can I be, we have Gana in comparison, who is twice the player at a third of the cost.
James Stewart
6 Posted 12/11/2016 at 04:13:08
Bolasie was a good buy but he has some way to go before he is on par with Mane. We should have been in for him. I agree, Bolasie is better from the left.
Mike Gaynes
7 Posted 12/11/2016 at 05:53:34
Gary #3, I'd say the last player in our side to require a kick up the ass is Bolasie. To the contrary, he plays with an almost crazed intensity at times. It does contribute to mistakes, but it also delivers great moments, like when he took that ball off Rom's foot and scored.

And it sure is great to have the one thing we lacked most in recent seasons... pure, blazing speed.

Phil Sammon
8 Posted 12/11/2016 at 07:19:32
He's been easily our most creative player of the season so far. He's provided the most assists and laid on a good number of chances that have been fluffed... mainly by Lukaku.

I've been a supporter of Mirallas for a long time but right now I don't see how he can hold down a first-team place. Barkley too... but it seems we have nobody else even vying for that central attacking berth.

Bolasie can go on the left and Lennon (who has barely had a poor game in an Everton shirt) can play wide right. Deulofeu through the centre? Or even Tom Davies.

All-in-all, I'm feeling very down on all things Everton at the moment. Even the West Ham win relied heavily on their missed chances. There's something really not quite right at the club.

Laurie Hartley
9 Posted 12/11/2016 at 08:48:37
Phil (#8) – your last paragraph struck a chord with me – that's how I feel.

I think we've lost our mojo. We need someone to help us get it back.

Jeff Armstrong
10 Posted 12/11/2016 at 09:31:28
The reason Mane did not sign for us, is that once Koeman has touched you, you never want to play for him again, that came out in the summer from one of his ex charges at Saints.
Darren Hind
11 Posted 12/11/2016 at 16:34:55
Bolasie provided the most assists?

I suppose those tackles against Man City and West Ham Utd can be construed as assist's.. but creative?

That fella who used to take the long throw-ins for Stoke created more chances than Bolasie. I suppose he was creative too...

Mick Davies
12 Posted 12/11/2016 at 21:32:21
I'm sure Koeman reassured Southampton that he wouldn't take any of their players; pity, as they had a few that were much better than most of ours.
John McGimpsey
13 Posted 13/11/2016 at 13:32:48
Bolassie = Peter Beagrie... we spunked a load of dough on a bang average player.
Rick Tarleton
14 Posted 14/11/2016 at 09:42:10
Don't worry, Bolasie is soon to be joined by yet another "talented" winger in Depay. That's four that I can count, with Lennon and Deulofeu, that'll sure help us to play the pressing game beloved of Koeman.
Frank Wade
15 Posted 15/11/2016 at 11:18:43
Don't worry, Rick, we also have McGeady to return from his loan. Sorted.
Anthony Dwyer
16 Posted 16/11/2016 at 09:41:59
I think some comments are a bit harsh on Bolasie. Yes he cost more than he's worth, but he didn't set the fee!

Bolasie has stepped his game up too, he is working hard, that's how he's been credited with his tackles becoming assists, could anyone see Deulofeu making that challenge vs West Ham?

Bolasie is frustrating, but he's made decent chances in every game this season apart from the Chelsea game, he should only be judged on his here and now, not on his past as we have already signed him so its pointless picking out his past stats.

I do feel we as a group on ToffeeWeb seem to find reason to slate our most important players, always finding reasons to give them shit.

Ross is another one we do this with, but I think we have to look at the players who offer nothing all the time first before moaning about Ross, Rom, Bolasie and Co.

Deulofeu, Lennon and Mirallas all play in Bolasie's position, surely we should be moaning about them before criticising Bolasie!

Everything Everton is a little dull ATM, partly down to 1 win in 7, partly down to getting hammered by Chelsea, but mostly down to Koeman talking shite all the time.

Brian Furey
17 Posted 16/11/2016 at 12:22:10
Bolasie's goal for DR Congo v Guinea

Hope we see a few more of these.

Daniel Lim
18 Posted 16/11/2016 at 14:16:37
So that one was a tackle that accidentally flew to Rom.
But it was an intended cross to me.
Shane Corcoran
19 Posted 16/11/2016 at 14:37:22
His age, inconsistency and price tag made this purchase a very strange one. I've seen little to change my mind, albeit it's early days.

His performances have looked okay partly because of some of them being okay, partly because we're comparing him to Mirallas and Deulofeu, and partly because we've played some poor enough teams.

Still, I'd stick him on the left and give Lennon his bloody chance on the right.

Brian Furey
20 Posted 17/11/2016 at 14:38:46
He's 27, Shane, so should be at his peak. He's big, strong, athletic and fast with loads of skill whilst good in the air as well. Yes, he often over plays the ball and doesn't do the simple thing but for me he's the most exciting player we've had for years.

He seems to have a strong connection with Rom already and, if he continues to set him up for more goals, it will be another reason for Rom to stay. He's a lot better than Mirallas and even Pienaar in my opinion but you got to remember that a player who takes men on as much as he does will often lose the ball. It's always been the same with wingers.

The price tag seemed high at the time for a guy that doesn't seem to score a lot of goals compared to Mané but prices this summer really went crazy. I too would always play him on the left but we really need another right-sided player to score goals regularly.

Shane Corcoran
21 Posted 17/11/2016 at 14:56:03
Brian, exciting players are all well and good when you're winning games.

But, for example, in a game where you're behind and you need your wingers to get the ball in the box, it's hugely frustrating, at times, to watch Bolasie slow the ball down enabling a team to double up on him instead of just trying to beat his man.

I think we're entitled to be a little more critical of a signing when he cost so much. I know it's not the player's fault that he cost what he did, so the criticism is directed at Koeman just as much as Bolasie.

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