We haven´t struggled for goals this season, but we´ve had difficulty breaking down stubborn defences who figured out how attacking methods early doors. In recent games, the introduction of Vellios has changed all that.
The Greek youngster has been used sparingly since arriving at Everton, but he seems to be developing well at Reserve level and, of course, he seems to always make his presence known when he gets a run out at senior level.
Last season, he came off the bench and seemed to score every single time – at one point becoming the Everton top scorer and netting a goal every 86 minutes on average – before being relegated back to the reserve set-up to continue his development.
Aged just 20, it´s too much to expect Apostolos to be a first team fixture just yet. The type of player he is gets better with age as he physically comes along. He´s the target man, a player who relies on getting his back into a defender, winning flick ons, holding up play and playing in his team mates, whilst looking to get a run on a defender and head on goal when the ball is whipped in from wide areas.
But his impact from the bench last year was good – this year, that has continued, with critical cameos against Sunderland and Tottenham.
Everton have utilised a frontline consisting of Nikica Jelavic and Marouane Fellaini this year. When we have looked bereft of ideas in the two aforementioned games, Vellios has came on and Fellaini has been pushed deeper into midfield.
Against Sunderland, he came on in the 73rd minute, and the result of that action meant that Fellaini and Jelavic scored one each to turn a 1-0 loss into a 2-1 win. Vellios played the role of target man, freeing up Jelavic to run off the shoulder whilst Fellaini was able to gain space and come into attacking areas from deep.
Against Spurs, the Vellios effect was even more pronounced. 79 minutes gone, he comes into the game, wins multiple flick ons and causes chaos, allowing Everton to get the equaliser as Pienaar was left free in the box to head home, before his enthusiasm directly resulted in an assist for Jelavic for yet another dramatic 2-1 victory.
It´s no coincidence. With the current absence of Victor Anichebe, our usual “Plan B”, it´s great news to see a young striker coming into games and looking to take his chance.
Next time we´re in a spot of bother in a game and you´re looking at the bench to make a difference, don´t be surprised to see Moyes give Vellios a shout. And don´t be surprised if Apostolos develops into a serious contender for a first team starting position over the next few seasons.