Everton‘s battle to retain their Premier League status continues this weekend as Frank Lampard takes on his former club Chelsea at Goodison Park, with the hosts in desperate need of a positive result.
At present, the Toffees find themselves in 18th place and two points adrift from safety, albeit with a game in hand on relegation contenders Burnley, having registered their 19th loss of the campaign away to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby last Sunday.
While Lampard insisted that his side produced a “good performance” and were denied a clear penalty against Jurgen Klopp’s title-chasing outfit, the 43-year-old will know that it is only points on the board which will help spare his team from a first relegation since 1951.
In order to bounce book on Sunday against Chelsea, one man who needs to give way is Brazilian midfielder Allan, with the former Napoli star having endured a torrid time of it against the Reds last time out.
Although dominating the ball clearly wasn’t the name of the game for the visitors – as their opponents finished the clash with a Premier League record of 85% possession – they certainly weren’t helped out by the performance of the £16.2m-rated midfielder, who achieved just a solitary successful pass in his 73-minute display.
Even if it was not in his remit to dictate the tempo of the match, the 31-year-old still failed spectacularly in his other duties, winning just one duel throughout the game prior to his substitution, as the away side hardly laid a glove on Thiago Alcantara, who pulled the strings for the opposition.
Such a shoddy performance is not a one-off for the Everton man this season, either. He has also been dribbled past 2.7 times per game in his 26 top-flight outings and has lost 146 duels in total, showcasing his lightweight nature in the centre of the park.
Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp echoed that view earlier this season, as he suggested that the 31-year-old simply “can’t run” and that the club have “no legs in midfield”, with that potentially a key factor in their struggles so far this term.
Football Insider pundit Paul Robinson previously suggested that the club has “too much quality” to go down, but with games quickly running out, they simply cannot afford to be carrying any passengers, particularly against Thomas Tuchel’s side this weekend.
Lampard needs to be ruthless on Sunday and axe the diminutive Allan, or else risk witnessing another horror show from the £120k-per-week midfielder.