Gylfi Sigurdsson had a limited impact in his first season at Everton and remains on the periphery of the action this term. Matt Cheetham at Sky Sports takes a deeper look at the stats and reasons behind his struggles...
His current average of 15 successful passes per 90 minutes ranks 79th of the 83 midfielders to play significant minutes this season - hardly the return of a player flourishing under new management. Using Opta's starting XIs, and comparing him with those playing similar central roles so far, his lack of involvement is highlighted further.
There's little doubt Sigurdsson's input is key, yet remains alarmingly peripheral - and he's been signed to be his club's creative focal point. Until a way is found to feature him more, or that prominent presence is identified elsewhere, Everton will find it hard controlling games and breaking down defences.
» Read the full article at Sky Sports
Reader Comments (36)
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1 Posted 12/09/2018 at 08:32:36
2 Posted 12/09/2018 at 08:35:43
I thought he was poor against Huddersfield but his quick creative thinking at Bournemouth got the second goal (should have been the winner). Against Southampton, he was one of better players and his work rate pressing the opponent was commendable.
Listen, Sigurdsson was never ever a £45 million pound player, we know that, he knows that, but he didn't set the transfer fee. What he offers is a good technical ability; he can't carry the ball – that's not his game – but we knew that before signing him.
He also can't help the fact that Everton don't really possess other midfielders that don't run forward but you can see he will progress with Richarlison and Walcott in the team.
As for people blaming Gylfi and bemoaning Tosun not getting service, well I'd suggest he starts getting into positions to actually score because numerous decent balls into the box have been delivered (some by under scrutiny Sigurdsson, yes!) and our striker has been nowhere to be seen.
Last season, Sigurdsson proved with some genuine top class strikes that he has ability, the goals against Split, Swansea and Southampton and Liverpool in the Cup were majestic finishes and he at the time was the only Everton player capable of those types of goals.
Sigurdsson wasn't helped last season by what was in front of him and I'd have loved to have seen him in the same team as Lukaku.
3 Posted 12/09/2018 at 08:53:12
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4 Posted 12/09/2018 at 08:58:22
He's a good player, he works hard, he's lethal from set pieces when he has a target to aim for.
Unfortunately he's not good enough for the role he is supposed to play, especially from open play.
Would he flourish more with a more creative player ahead of him, ie, playing the box-to-box role instead of the Number 10 role?
I don't think we'll ever break into the top 6 with Sigurdsson as a Number 10. He's not good enough against the top teams, he's not creative enough to break down teams who park the bus.
5 Posted 12/09/2018 at 09:04:07
You say his days are numbered but who is going to replace him right at this moment in time with the transfer window shut?
People are pinning everything on Bernard but he's barely kicked a ball. He could be amazing but there's also a chance he could be another Rodrigo (one of Moyes's first ever signings in 2002) and just disappear into the abyss.
The Premier League is a ruthless place to instantly say “he must replace this fella or that fella” without seeing him play first.
Sigurdsson should be played behind the striker.
If Tom Davies, Morgan Schneiderlin and Gana get regular games in the centre of midfield, it's a travesty for me that Sigurdsson doesn't get time there.
6 Posted 12/09/2018 at 09:05:25
7 Posted 12/09/2018 at 09:53:35
Very few teams play with 2 forwards anymore, the advent of the “Number 10” has replaced this. There's two main types of Number 10, either a withdrawn forward (Steve Ferns zonal marking piece highlighted Cantona as this) or an attacking midfielder. Either way, the “Number 10” is effectively replacing a striker so has to contribute for the loss of goals he is replacing. This either happens by goals or assists (the withdrawn forward would generally still score 10-15 a season, the attacking midfielder would chip in with 10-15 assists, the goals would come from elsewhere such as wingers). I just don't see Sigurdsson contributing any of these from open play.
He is still a very good player, he works hard, he is comfortable on the ball, he looks like he's got a good understanding of the game. He just doesn't contribute enough in the “Number 10” role for a team looking to break into the top 6.
Could he alter his game slightly to be a box to box midfielder? He certainly has the work rate, the ability to shoot from distance, the knowledge of the game etc.
8 Posted 12/09/2018 at 09:55:10
I am beginning to agree with you. The main threat Everton has is from the wings. I think Sigurdsson is poor and his stats show why.
I also think that Tosun also flatters to deceive. His stats are not much better and Niasse has been very disappointing this season. These players do not seem to have put the effort in during the Summer or bought into Silva's tactics. They all rarely beat defenders or hit the target.
I know that a lot of people like Tosun's link play but 95 % of the time he has his back to goal. His play has all the hallmarks of a player who is not confident he can beat his marker. Calvert-Lewin has put the effort in during the Summer and it shows in his play.
The problem Sigurdsson has is his stats weren't much better before joining Everton. His transfer fee was way above his value. Therefore, he may continue to struggle.
9 Posted 12/09/2018 at 10:07:38
10 Posted 12/09/2018 at 10:39:16
11 Posted 12/09/2018 at 10:51:50
In open play, he has always been very mediocre by Premier League standards which is why I really didn't want us to spend £45m on him. He has his qualities; he's smarter than many, technically sound and works very hard. He would add something to most mid-table teams. But he's a long way behind the likes of Silva, De Bruyne, Eriksen, Hazard, Firmino, Ozil, or Mahrez. He's a bit slow and can't beat a man which doesn't help and his passing and vision, whilst better than most in our team, is not on a par with the top playmakers.
Basically he's fine for us now as a 7th- to 10th-ish team but, if we want to go further than that, we need a better or more than one playmaker. Gylfi is the best we've got for now until Bernard (or Lookman or Dowell?) shows better. Perhaps we should have challenged Fulham more heavily for Seri as he seems to have hit the ground running.
12 Posted 12/09/2018 at 11:40:22
I have seen him regularly get the ball knicked away from him by players who could only dream of having his skills but who have two of the main requirements for the Premier League (generally speaking) and that's strength and pace.
IMHO, he's like several other players we have who do some very good things, seldomly, and average things most of the time. The better teams have players for which the reverse is true, and that's what we need.
13 Posted 12/09/2018 at 13:09:17
14 Posted 12/09/2018 at 15:20:47
15 Posted 12/09/2018 at 15:26:56
What the stats show is that Gylfi is not dominating games, but he is effecting them. He has key moments, just not enough of them. I think it's very harsh to say he is still struggling. Everything these days is black or white, great or shite. Sigurdsson is doing alright. He has his moments and they lead to goals, but there's not enough of them and if he could increase those moments, well, we'd be flying.
Why do people go on about Bernard? Simply because unlike Sigurdsson, he has done it at the highest level (Champions League). Just watch that Man City game. He has magic in his boots. His shooting, his passing, his control, his dribbling, it's stuff to drool over.
The issue is his size and weight. And whether the opposition can bully him out of games. I hope that his ability will shine through and he will find a way. Just like David Silva did.
Unless Sigurdsson starts to dominate games, and we don't turn these draws into victories, then I think Bernard could displace Sigurdsson.
As for dropping Sigurdsson back into midfield, it's interesting, but there's a 6'-2" Portuguese who says it won't happen. It's going to be interesting enough to see how Silva changes the midfield dynamic to get Gomes into the side – never mind playing Sigurdsson deeper in a position he isn't comfortable in.
16 Posted 12/09/2018 at 15:43:39
17 Posted 12/09/2018 at 15:53:54
We bought Gylfi on the back of a great season at Swansea where he had 13 assists. 10th best in the Premier League that season — and the top Englishman was our own Ross Barkley with 8.
I think we need to realise that 8 is a very good number; this is what Sigurdsson needs to deliver, and if he can get into double figures, then he's having a good season.
18 Posted 12/09/2018 at 16:07:50
19 Posted 12/09/2018 at 16:13:44
20 Posted 12/09/2018 at 16:18:05
Gylfi floats in a freekick, the defender gets a nick on it, but Calvert-Lewin still heads it home. Gylfi may not get an assist if the defender got enough of a nick on it to change the flight of the ball.
Kev Campbell scored in a scramble. No assist there.
And so on.
Man City get lots of assists. What does this tell you? Good play and joined up football. Last season we hardly had any. This tells us we were a scrappy side tucking away loose balls, or Niasse robbing defenders and scoring goals he made for himself. In other words a low number of assists will often show a poor midfield. So, that could prove your original point.
21 Posted 12/09/2018 at 16:33:31
22 Posted 12/09/2018 at 16:43:48
23 Posted 12/09/2018 at 18:50:17
24 Posted 12/09/2018 at 19:22:12
I'm more in the "not really struggling" camp – I think Gylfi's playing pretty well. One key aspect of his open-play passing game that hasn't been mentioned here is the timing of his passes – at his best, he's an absolute artist at delivering the ball – not only where a teammate needs it, but when. You almost never see him give the ball to a teammate offside, in a poor position, or under pressure.
The problem as I see it is that such timing is a function of the system you're playing in, because you have to be able to anticipate where your target is going to be. Gylfi is definitely a rhythm guy, not an instinctive creator like a Coutinho, but in one year with the club he has played under four different managers coaching at least three different attacking systems (I'm not sure Rhino had an actual system). And the club's #1 attacking threat right now is the newcomer Richarlison.
Probably more than any other player we have, Sigurdsson's performance level is dependent on his ability to bed into the rhythm of a system and anticipate where the passes will be, because he's not going to do it with individual magic. I think by midseason, when he's fully familiar with Silva's preferences and comfortable with Richarlison, you're going to see him orchestrating the attack as he does for Iceland (and did at Swansea).
Bernard's electric talents offer appetizing alternatives – nobody here was more excited by his signing than I was – but he can't match Gylfi's consistency. He'll be an exciting side dish, but Sigurdsson remains the main course in midfield. And Gomes, like Bernard, is more comfortable using his silky skills where he has time on the ball, rather than in the mixmaster of the #10.
25 Posted 12/09/2018 at 19:55:12
Versus Huddersfield though, on the day their midfield won the day, and ours struggled.
Gonna be interesting once the squad gets fit, but for now, let's be positive and focus on what we have.
Sunday will be tough and whoever starts must do the business like those who come on as subs.
Let's hope the "first Premier League win of the season" curse doesn't happen.
26 Posted 12/09/2018 at 21:58:15
A 4-4-1-1 would suggest a withdrawn striker. A 4-2-3-1 would suggest an attacking midfielder, which is what Sigurdsson is meant to be, and the focal point of midfield should provide more creativity than what he does.
You quote 13 assists for Swansea; however, only 5 were from open play – 1 less than Barkley got from open play. He created 25 chances from open play, the same as Gueye and Barry, and 31 less than Barkley.
He's not a bad midfielder, he's just not good enough for a top 6 challenge.
27 Posted 12/09/2018 at 22:11:30
Ross has left now and there's no point looking back. Sigurdsson is here to play, he's paid far too much to be a sub, so we have to embrace what he is, and make the most of it. With players like Richarlison and Walcott, and himself, he can get a lot of free-kicks in and around the penalty area. I think his set-piece proficiency cannot be understated and we could get a lot of points from this.
That doesn't mean that there's not a world where Bernard forces his way in as #10. I really hope the Brazilian can show his best because what I saw in highlights for Shaktar was sensational. He could be a real superstar. I'd rather see him central than shoved wide on the left.
28 Posted 12/09/2018 at 22:27:05
But you'll never see his best in the #10 slot, where he's going to be surrounded by defenders and keeping the ball is at a premium. He's not strong enough physically and too freewheeling by instinct.
29 Posted 12/09/2018 at 22:41:39
I believe he can play the #10 role by giving complete freedom to roam, going into space on the left that Richarlison naturally vacates when he comes inside.
Theres serious questions about him because of his size and the Bournemouth cameo only raised them. Five minutes is not enough though. Hopefully we can see him on the left on Sunday, in Richarlisons place, with Lookman in for Walcott.
30 Posted 12/09/2018 at 22:48:58
A shame about Barkley; I do think he would have done well in this team and with this coach. For all his inconsistencies, I miss having someone in the middle who could turn and run at a retreating team.
31 Posted 12/09/2018 at 22:54:28
32 Posted 13/09/2018 at 08:03:30
He was not the most intelligent of footballers in the Pirlo or Iniesta mould but what he could do is carry that ball forward and I believe in two of his four seasons here, he actually had a pretty strong scoring record and had a decent shot on him.
33 Posted 13/09/2018 at 08:16:33
There is a marked improvement so far this season but, like the team, it is a work in progress that needs more time under Silva.
When they finally have Mina, Bernard and Gomes playing, we can start to make fair assessments about the team's progress and that of Silva.
34 Posted 15/09/2018 at 16:23:20
35 Posted 16/09/2018 at 16:29:53
36 Posted 23/09/2018 at 19:34:53
Neither is Siggurdsson.
Let's hope Gomes is better.
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