Sticky patch not stopping Richarlison’s rise at the Toffees

SOCCER

After successive defeats ahead of the international break, Everton need to get back to winning ways when Crystal Palace visit Goodison Park tonight.

The Toffees sit eighth in the Premier League but are five points behind Chelsea in fourth with two games in hand, meaning Champions League qualification is still a possibility.

Richarlison, 23, drew blanks in the defeats to Burnley and Chelsea after netting four goals in four games and the Toffees will need him to hit top form if they are to break into the top four.

We run the rule over the exciting Brazilian’s season so far as he continues to be linked with a move away from Goodison Park.

Big results in poor teams

While eyebrows were raised when Everton spent £50million on Richarlison, then 21, after one promising season at Watford in 2017-18, he quickly set about proving his worth.

The Toffees were inconsistent at best during his first two seasons at the club, finishing eighth and 12 respectively, although only notching five less points when they finished in the bottom half.

Despite that, Richarlison scored 13 league goals in each campaign and won the fans’ Player of the Season award at the end of last season.

Less goals this year

Under Carlo Ancelotti, Everton have a genuine chance of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League — yet the stats suggest Richarlison is not hitting the same heights.

The form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin has overshadowed him this term and he has frequently been played on the left of a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation.

Richarlison scored the opener against Liverpool but has found goals hard to come by this term
Richarlison scored the opener against Liverpool but has found goals hard to come by this term

That has meant just six goals in the league — although he has netted a further six in cup competitions — and at times, especially at the turn of the year, Richarlison has cut a frustrated figure.

Speaking in February, Ancelotti said: “He likes to play centre forward, honestly.

“But for the fact that he is young, he plays where I tell him to play!”

Move to the middle

When Calvert-Lewin picked up a hamstring injury in February, Richarlison took his chance through the middle with both hands.

The opening goal in the Toffees’ famous 2-0 victory at Liverpool was the highlight of a run in which he netted four goals in four games from centre forward — including winners in two narrow 1-0 wins over Southampton and West Brom.

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

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

“[He is] fantastic with the head and clinical in front of the goalkeeper and his movement without the ball is really good. He can be one of the top strikers in Europe.”

Destined for bigger things

That versatility — showcased by excellent performances on the left even if goals were lacking — is one of many reasons there are rumours linking Richarlison with a move away from Merseyside.

Barcelona were tipped with a large bid last year and plenty of the Premier League’s big boys have also been linked.

Carlo Ancelotti has hailed Richarlison's talent and attributes
Carlo Ancelotti has hailed Richarlison’s talent and attributes

Not that Ancelotti is interested in any of that talk.

He said last month: “I don’t know how long his contract is but Richarlison will stay here as long as I stay. This is for sure.

“I like him as a player. And if he doesn’t like me as a manager, it doesn’t matter. He will stay here.”

Sticking with the Toffees

With the prospect of European football, plus one of the game’s greats in charge at Goodison Park, it is hard to see why Richarlison would want a move away from Everton.

He told the club’s website: “The manager’s arrival was really important for the club.

“He’s a winner, he instils into the players a strong mentality to win games and that’s what’s happening.

“We have a very good, young team but we’re also aware that we’ve had to suffer for this and now is the time to reap the rewards.

“We know we have the potential to be towards the top and we’ll definitely get there.”

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