In Focus: Will Richarlison stick or twist at the Toffees?

Richarlison has not always been at his best for Everton this season

Richarlison has not always been at his best for Everton this season

Richarlison has aspirations of playing Champions League football — but Everton’s chances of qualification are firmly in the last chance saloon. 

The Toffees have not won in five Premier League matches and need three points against Arsenal tonight to close the gap on their rivals for the top four.

If Carlo Ancelotti’s side are unable to match the forward’s ambitions, would one of Europe’s biggest clubs be keen to add the 23-year-old Brazilian to their ranks?

Ahead of Everton’s clash with the Gunners, we take a look at Richarlison’s impact this season and what may hold him back from a big summer move.

On-field impact

Richarlison has mainly operated as a left winger or a central striker this season, with 277 of his touches and contributions across the campaign occurring in the left-hand third of the pitch, 121 in the centre and 59 on the right.

The former Watford man is a dynamic dribbler who has attempted 3.19 take-ons per 90 minutes in the league this season, completing 1.8 of them — a stat that could potentially be even higher if Everton enjoyed more possession in matches.

He is also not afraid to pull the trigger and has registered a commendable 2.55 shots per 90 minutes in 2020-21, as well as proving a useful asset when pressing from the front.

He ranks in the league’s top 40 players for possessions won in the attacking third this term (0.76 per 90).

Lacking in front of goal

Richarlison has scored less goals and notched less assists this season
Richarlison has scored less goals and notched less assists this season

Yet for all his industry up top, Richarlison has struggled to produce in the key moments. 

He has scored just 0.24 goals per 90 in the Premier League this season — significantly below his 0.38 expected goals — and has only contributed 0.12 assists.

These numbers are down on his overall contributions (goals and assists) from the previous two seasons, which came in at exactly 0.47 per game in both campaigns.

The reason behind this dip could partly be explained by the role that Dominic Calvert-Lewin is taking in the side, with the striker mainly staying in the box when Everton are in possession.

Room for improvement

Richarlison has also struggled with his link-up play this season, with his passing stats not making for pleasant reading.

The Brazilian’s 24.3 passes per 90 and average passing accuracy of 69.95% are both outside the top 300 players in the division for those metrics.

He has also created just 0.72 chances and 0.16 big chances per 90, neither of which are particularly impressive.

Carlo’s thoughts

Carlo Ancelotti pinpointed the areas where Richarlison can look to improve
Carlo Ancelotti pinpointed the areas where Richarlison can look to improve

Even Ancelotti has acknowledged there are areas where the winger must improve. 

Speaking last month, he said: “Richarlison is a modern striker, a complete striker because he is a striker who works really hard. 

“The physical statistics of Richarlison are really high, like a midfielder — but he has speed and he is really clinical in the box.

“He has not a specific position on the pitch because he can play centre forward, he can play on the right, he can play on the left.

“Where he has to improve is with his technical ability, and he can improve, controlling the ball — but his movement without the ball is really top and his positioning in the box is of a high standard.”

Missing a few pieces

As Ancelotti highlighted, there is plenty to like about Richarlison’s game, but he is lacking in certain key areas that make a move to a European giant appear unlikely this summer.

Improving his passing stats could go a long way towards securing a big-money transfer, while nailing down one position will most probably help with his long-term development.

There is no doubting Richarlison’s raw talent, though — and at 23, he has got plenty of time to continue his progression.

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