Darron Gibson’s withdrawal early in the games against West Brom further demonstrated his importance to Everton. Prior to Gibson pulling up injured, Everton were dominating play, moving the ball quickly and looking the most likely to create the crucial opening. In truth, for the rest of the match at the Hawthornes, Everton lacked any real penetration and the defence certainly missed the cover provided by Gibson’s disciplined play in front of the back four.
If we look at the recent game against Aston Villa the increasing influence of Darron Gibson on the Everton team becomes clear. Against Villa, if you discount corners, Gibson completed 90% of his passes. In direct conflict to Jack Rodwell, who filled the same role in the early part of last season, the vast majority of Gibson’s passes were forward. Again, looking at the diagram, all the failed passes, bar one, were when Gibson was looking to force the play by playing a positive attacking ball.
Evertonians will be praying that his injury picked up against West Brom is not too serious and hope the international break has come at just the right time to buy Gibson time to regain full fitness.
Evertonians have been won over by Gibson’s play and equally Gibson appears to have been bitten by the Everton bug, the Sky camera’s capturing the Irish international singing a Grand Old Team at the end of the victory over United on the first weekend of the season.