Early Frontrunners for Toffees’ Player of the Season

We may have only just turned through the opening act of this Premier League season, but a select few players have already laid down the gauntlet, upped their respective games, and proven ready to battle for Everton. With a quarter of the season in the books, if these frontrunners stay fit for most of the rest of the season and continue to play near the level that they have done so far, the Toffees will have a strong season.

In recent years, the Player of the Season award has been spread around the pitch. Jordan Pickford nabbed the prize in 2017/18 and 2021/22, full-back Lucas Digne won in 2018/19, winger Richarlison hauled it in for his 2019/20 efforts, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s breakout season up top landed it in 2020/21. This year, the goalie might just be in for his third in six seasons, but he’s got some stiff competition from the outfielders.

A decent start to 2022/23 for Everton

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It was a good summer, especially when you add in the loans of Conor Coady and Rúben Vinagre to save some cash, but whenever there’s a lot of squad turnover, it takes time to find a rhythm. The first two games may have resulted in losses, but they were close, and against far bigger spending, higher-calibre teams in Chelsea and Aston Villa.

Then came an onslaught of frustrating draws. They were tough games against sides set to battle relegation. Nottingham Forest, Brentford, and Leeds United managed to grab a point from 1-1 scores. While also a draw, the 0-0 against Liverpool was a superb result, and one that may have spurred the victories against West Ham United and Southampton – following the cancelled game away to Arsenal.

Losing 2-1 to Manchester United wasn’t a bad result on the day. It wasn’t a great game, and there were a few standout performances in Blue, but Cristiano Ronaldo and Antony really were the difference-makers that they’re paid to be. The overall story has been struggling to find the back of the net, but finding a 20-plus goalscorer is one of the most difficult tasks for any club.

So, after nine games, Everton sat happily in 12th with two wins, four draws, three losses, and a -1 goal difference. According to the top-rated gambling sites in the UK, Everton have done enough so far to all but count them out of the relegation battle. At the second-best site, Forest, Bournemouth, Southampton, Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham, Leeds United, and Brentford are more likely to see the drop. Then, there’s Everton, with a healthy 23/5 to go down, while Forest and Bournemouth are below evens.

It’s looking good so far for the onset of Lampard’s rebuild. He earned his place by staving off the drop last season and has picked up well this season. He’s now properly enforcing new ideas that are bringing out the best in some players who have been rotation pieces in the past, as well as new young talents. Right now, these are the stars leading the way for the new Toffees.

Player of the Season early frontrunners

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Not by the usual gaping margin, but Jordan Pickford has been Everton’s best player so far this season. In eight games, he’s secured two man of the match awards and a sneaky assists – which teed up the late equaliser against Forest. More importantly, while he only has one clean sheet, his rate of saves has been excellent. His 4.2 saves made, 78.57 save percentage, and 4.2 shots faced inside the box per game far outstrip the likes of Nick Pope, David de Gea, Hugo Lloris, and José Sá in the goalie comparison matrix for per 90-minute stats.

A bit higher up the pitch, Nathan Patterson was very impressive through to the international break. Putting in some great blocks and fair tackles, he was a bright light down the right side. His passing has been fairly good, he always seems to be in the right place to clear the ball, and the young Scot looked confident on the ball. Of course, the international break proved its worth once again, sending Patterson back with an ankle injury. He should miss up to five weeks, but the 20-year-old will have plenty of time to get back to top form.

Perhaps the revelation of the season, however, has been Alex Iwobi. His strike against the Red Devils aside, the former winger has been on fire in the middle of the park. Lampard’s most trusted outfielder, the former England central midfielder has had faith in playing the Nigerian in a double-six and a number-eight role, and in both, he’s shown energy, flair, and poise. Iwobi’s superbly strong, is averaging a couple of tackles per game, has a strong pass percentage, and is relentless when he spots an opening with the ball at his feet.

While Pickford is still facing far too many shots from within the box, the centre-back pairing of newcomers Tarkowski and Conor Coady has been sound. Both rather muscular chaps standing 6’1’’, they’ve ironed out a few of the initial kinks and now stand as what looks to be a well-run backline. Of the two, however, Tarkowski has been the standout. He wins an average of 3.1 aerials per game, 5.6 clearances, 1.7 interceptions, and 2.0 blocks. He’s been selfless in trying to keep the ball out of the net, and best of all, he was a free transfer!

There’s a long way to go, but so far, Pickford, Patterson, Iwobi, and Tarkowski have been Everton’s top performers, laying the foundation for better things to come.

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