Everton pulled off a big coup in the transfer market by signing James Rodriguez with a fee of 25 million pounds from the Spanish giants Real Madrid. It’s no secret that Carlo Ancelotti is a big admirer of James Rodriguez from his tenure at Real Madrid. But will the signing of James change the scene at Goodison Park as the serial underachiever Everton are looking to again make their presence felt in the European circuit? Here we are trying to chalk out how James can make an impact at the blue half of the Merseyside.
Positional Analysis: Formations to be tried
Under Carlo Ancelotti, Everton has mostly played in a compact 4-4-2 formation. It has so far proved quite effective as the tendency of conceding goals has been stopped to a great extent. But one of the biggest drawbacks of this formation is the lack of creativity. In the latter half of the season, we had seen Everton starving for some creativity at the final third. So with James’s inclusion in the squad, a formational tweak might be in Ancelotti’s mind.
The 4-4-2 formation can still be used at Everton but with a subtle change from 4-4-2 flat to 4-4-2 diamond might take place. James Rodriguez can be the tip of the diamond as the central attacking midfielder. This might resemble the 4-4-2 diamond Ancelotti played at Real Madrid with James as the key man in the lineup. By using this formation James’s creativity can be fully used. As he can become the creative hub of Everton’s midfield, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin will be fed the ball by the Colombian superstar.
Another formation that will be on the card is 4-2-3-1. The 4-2-3-1 is a stable formation with equal importance to both offense and defense. In this case, James can play at his natural no.10 position. It gives him the opportunity to be the creator in chief for the Toffees. In this formation, he can be protected by Allan and Doucoure. In this regard, he can make it a lot easy for Calvert Lewin upfront by playing the ball upfront which can be controlled by Calvert Lewin by making swift runs behind from the defenders.
Creative Nature of James Rodriguez: Excellent Passer
James Rodriguez is just the player whom Everton missed for the last few years in the final third who can produce sparks upfront. Everton often looked bland in front of the goal with a lack of creativity up front. A lot of attacking midfielders came but none of them proved to be much successful for the Toffees. With James Rodriguez, they get a proven creative player who proved his mettle for the biggest clubs in Europe in the highest stage. In his 231 total appearances for the clubs he had played for, he has registered 69 assists which is a testament to his creative ability.
He is always present in the schemes of the game. He is not that kind of the player who just stays at his position and plays the game. He can move freely in the midfield area to receive the ball and start the forward progression. His dribbling skills and pace make him one of the most dangerous men in the case of transition from attack to defense.
He has an enviable record of registering 2.3 key passes per game throughout his career which is a signal indicating his prowess to find the right player and right spaces in the attacking front. He has a successful pass completion rate of 85.7% which is rare for a player of his position. All these sheds light on James’s need in this Everton side. Ancelotti is a shrewd manager in the transfer market, this can prove to be one of his shrewd businesses.
James Rodriguez: The Set Piece Master
James Rodriguez is an excellent set-piece taker, it needs no describing. Though Gylfi Sigurdsson is also an excellent set-piece taker present at Everton, lately he has spent most of his time on the bench. So Everton missed a proper set-piece taker in the field. With James Rodriguez in the squad now, that worry may end.
James is an excellent free-kick taker. Out of all the goals he scored in his career 20 goals came from set-piece situations, giving proof of his excellent set-piece taking skills. He was the designated set-piece takers for Porto, Monaco, Colombia, and Bayern. So by bringing James Rodriguez to Everton, the blue half of the Merseyside gets a natural threat from the dead-ball situations.
A Goal-Scoring Threat from the Long Ranges
In a match where the opponents are proving to be too tough to break defensively, a player who can connect the long rangers become invaluable to the squad. James Rodriguez will provide just that to the Everton. What makes James so special is his all-round goal-scoring ability from all around the pitch.
He takes 2.35 shots per 90 minutes of which 1.22 shots are on target. This means more than half of his shots end up goal bound posing a serious threat for the opponent defense. One can’t forget his wonder goal in the 2014 World Cup in Brasil in the Pre-Quarterfinals against Uruguay. He has 0.35 goals on a shot per target which mean out of 3 shots in target one invariably finds the back of the net, that’s some record, to be honest.
In the Premier League, teams of the lower middle table often pose a threat of playing with low blocks resulting in very little space in between the lines to play with. In this condition, the ability to hit a long ranger becomes so crucial for the team.
James Rodriguez has xG90 of 0.20 and xA90 of 0.40, this signifies his goal-scoring ability is overtaken by his goal assisting ability. This can prove to be a real asset for his team in the coming seasons. He has 0.93 Goals+Assist per 90 minutes which is absolutely brilliant. It means he will almost be involved in a goal-scoring sequence per match. He has 0.71 goal scoring actions per match that are brilliant from his team’s perspective. Making him a man to watch out for in the coming seasons.
There is no denying in the saying that James Rodriguez signing at Everton can prove to be a game-changer with a World Class Star in the dressing room. Young players like Gordon, Holgate and Calvert-Lewin will get to learn a lot about playing at the highest stage helping them a lot in their future. So, now only time will tell if he turns out to be a successful deal at Everton under Carlo Ancelotti or the deal may go down as a flop. As for us, it will be an interesting outcome indeed.
Can James Rodriguez be the answer to Everton’s Midfield Woes? Please let us know in the comment section below.