This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
When your left-back features in the top two for assists and top five for goals last season, you know there may be a slight issue with your team. Lucas Digne enjoyed a marvellous campaign for Everton following his arrival from Barcelona, but Marco Silva’s side seemed to really lean on the defender to deliver the goods going forward.
The France international appears to be a dead-ball specialist, taking corners and free-kicks for the Toffees whenever Gylfi Sigurdsson doesn’t. But it’s the side’s reliance on the left-back to be their main attacking outlet in open play, that is threatening to really back-fire on them.
Following a defeat to newly-promoted Aston Villa on Friday night, Everton find themselves with just one goal to their name in their opening three Premier League games of the season. One of the big worries for Silva has to be that he has picked line-ups that contain some of his most destructive offensive players in Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Bernard, and seen little reward.
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All three had an uneventful game against Dean Smith’s side, and the responsibility of creating chances was almost exclusively shunted towards Digne on the left-hand side. The full-back put in game-highs of eight crosses into the box and four key passes, and saw none of them converted.
If the Toffees continue to use the former PSG star as their chief architect, opposition teams will simply get their wingers to double-back and provide support for the full-back. It was startling to see how Silva’s men looked lost with the ball in central areas, and time and time again shifted the ball to the 26-year-old even where there was no room to cross.
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Whilst their defensive record has been impressive, their ability to find goal-creating options from elsewhere will be the main source of concern for Silva.