Gylfi Sigurdsson delivered a huge statement to Carlo Ancelotti against Arsenal on Saturday amid rumours that the Everton midfielder may not have a long-term future at Goodison Park.
The ex-Swansea City maestro once again captained the Blues in the absence of Seamus Coleman, who returned to the bench following a hamstring strain, with Ancelotti also handing Sigurdsson the armband for his side’s prior wins over Chelsea and Leicester City.
Sigurdsson did everything Ancelotti could have asked for and more at home to Mikel Arteta’s Gunners, as the Iceland international’s hard work and determination set the tone for his teammates to follow as they clinched a 2-1 win.
The result briefly moved Everton up to second place in the Premier League table as Ancelotti celebrated his one-year anniversary at Goodison Park, over which he has now won 19 of his 38 games at the helm across all competitions.
Ancelotti is still looking to stamp his mark on a squad heavily assembled by his predecessors Ronald Koeman and Marco Silva, with reports surfacing recently that Sigurdsson and Tom Davies could soon be sold as the Italian targets midfield reinforcements.
Everton’s core unit is said to be seen as an area of concern despite the summer arrivals of Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez, yet Sigurdsson’s display at home to Arsenal once again hammered home why the £100,000-per-week playmaker should not yet be written off.
Sigurdsson, who Silva once hailed as a “fantastic” player both on and off the ball, worked his socks off to help control the centre of the field against the Gunners, while his clinical accuracy from set-pieces saw Yerry Mina head home the would-be winner at the near post.
His desire to impress in royal blue was evident, too, as Sigurdsson drove play on with 17 of his 39 passes coming in the final-third, 18 of his total passes marked as forward balls, and two being deemed as key passes, per WhoScored.
Sigurdsson’s deliveries were often sublimely accurate with each of his key passes coming from two of his three corners that found an Everton player, while also connecting with a teammate with two of his four crosses, per SofaScore.
The £16.2m-rated midfielder further aided Everton’s cause with success in four of nine ground duels, one of two aerial contests, made one clearance, one interception and one successful tackle, while taking two shots and being successful with each of his three dribbles.
The likes of Andre Gomes, Davies and Fabian Delph have a hard road ahead if they are to prove to Ancelotti that they have futures at Goodison Park if Sigurdsson supposedly does not.
AND in other news: “Huge blow” – Exclusive: Pundit reacts to major Everton setback.