Marouane Fellaini in detail – Commitment to the cause despite United interest

Each week we look in-depth at the performance of a member of the Everton team, breaking down their display, looking at both the positives in their play and areas for improvement. We will try to break down some of the general misrepresentations that the football media regurgitate week after week and provide a detailed analysis of individual player performance. For the second in the series we look at Manchester United target Marouane Fellaini, focusing on his performance in the recent Premier League fixture against West Bromwich Albion.

Felli west brom

The future of Everton’s most prized midfield asset, Marouane Fellaini has grabbed column inches in the national press throughout the summer, with the colossus Belgium linked with a big money transfer to Arsenal and Manchester United. At the moment of writing, the fact remains that Fellaini is an Everton player, with neither club activating his well reported release fee, which expired on 31st July, or since agreed on an acceptable price with the club. Fellaini for all the news coverage about his future has not at anytime caused a fuss, nor has he refused to train and he continues to perform for Everton, treating the club with the utmost respect. However, despite Roberto Martinez maintaining that Fellaini continues to give his all for Everton, the former Standard Liege player has become, rather unfairly, the focus of supporters ire on Twitter, internet Forums and Radio phone-ins.

Fellaini has always distanced himself from newspaper reports in his homeland where he or his father have been reported to hint at a future away from Everton, however these reports are regularly used by fans to justify their anger and disappointment whenever his performance levels drop anywhere below the sublime. This was very much the case at the weekend, when despite producing a strong midfield performance, a number of Blues took to the internet to slam Fellaini and claim his head was clearly focused on a move to Manchester United.

Since the appointment of Roberto Martinez, Fellaini has played in his preferred deeper midfield role, operating in front of the back four, providing protection to the defence and dictating the Blues quick and simple passing style. The first graphic below, demonstrates Fellaini’s undoubted strength in the tackle, winning all five tackles, the most of any player in the entire match. All but one tackle was in or around the half way line, which demonstrates perfectly the excellent work rate of Fellaini, who worked tirelessly to close the West Brom attackers down quickly and effectively. Out of seventeen 50/50 duels, Fellaini appeared with the ball on ten occasions, he also used his height to great effect, winning four out of five aerial battles. Most importantly, when the ball was given away, Fellaini was quick to win the ball back, recovering the ball on six occasions.

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The second graphic demonstrates further the important work completed by Fellaini in a defensive capacity, with a lot of running going unnoticed by a large proportion of the home crowd.

heatmap

This heat map shows the ground covered by the Belgium throughout the 90 minutes and evidences that not only was Fellaini important in disrupting West Brom, he was also Everton’s most prominent attacking player and was certainly unlucky not to score when his late shot deflected back of the inside of the post. His work rate was such that his influence on proceedings throughout the game was only matched by Leighton Baines, with Phil Jagielka and Seamus Coleman also heavily involved.

20130827-150505.jpg

Fellaini has often been criticized for his lack of discipline, but that has not been evident at all in the first two games of the new season. Martinez has instilled an element of calm in Fellaini’s play, with the Belgium only conceding two fouls in the entire ninety minutes. This is a significant improvement on last season, when several niggly fouls resulted in Everton surrendering dangerous attacking positions.

If Fellaini excelled in a destructive manner, he was also integral to the Blues in building possession. His passing was strong, completing 85% of his 66 passes, the highest number of passes attempted by any player in the game. His completion rate was down on the previous week at Norwich, where again he was the top passer in the game, but with an excellent completion rate of 91%.

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This was far from Fellaini’s best display in an Everton shirt, but to suggest a lack of committed to the Blues cause is totally unjustified and unfair. We have seen throughout the summer, several top players using the media to publicly voice their unhappiness and criticize their team and then producing half-hearted performances in pre-season games. This cannot be said of Fellaini, who at times does comes across as moody (Wigan, FA Cup Quarter Final) and clearly has a short temper, but as Martinez has maintained throughout the summer, he has demonstrated an excellent professional mentality.

It is always frustrating when a top player looks destined to leave the football club, but it is unfair to criticize a player who continues to gives his all for Everton.

Do you agree or disagree? Do you want Everton to keep Fellaini or is now the time to cash in? What price is acceptable?

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8 thoughts on “Marouane Fellaini in detail – Commitment to the cause despite United interest

  1. Sometimes I feel we get blinded by stats. Fellaini is not as dynamic as people think, slows the play up, and quite often chickens out of tackles (eg: cowardly ‘header’ V WBA; Norwich’s 1st goal; cowardly play V Wigan; Lpool both games and Semi last year).

    That said, games V Man U were exceptional.

    Consistency and dynamism is needed under Martinez & he doesn’t show this.

    Terry Smith

    1. Terry

      I think it is very easy to use stats to prove most points, but what I try and so is make observations from the match and then use the stats as evidence to support what I have witnessed and experienced.

      It is very easy to get caught up in the views of the person next to you or behind you. The moaners are always louder than those who are positive and think players are performing.

    2. Hi Daniel,

      Firstly, I really do take exception to the inference that I am influenced by the Negative Naismith Nomarks in the ground or the Knuckle Draggers on Twitter. I’ve been an Evertonian for over 50 years and think I can make an educated assessment of a player’s performance. You couldn’t be further from the truth in actual fact. We moved seats this year because of the idiotic comments made around us and I’m just wondering whether it will ever change. If I’m being honest, if I had been a casual fan, I probably wouldn’t have gone back. Years ago, Geoff Nulty, Alan Harper, Victor Anichebe, Leon Osman came in for the Bully Boy Barracking. It’s Naismith’s turn now. A crowd fed on Sky highlights and reality TV game show football gossip has no patience and no intelligence. I can see what Martinez is trying to do but I think the ‘tourists’ and Sky supporters want immediate gratification. So never, ever say I’m influenced by morons – not supporters – morons.

      Secondly, I was there at Wembley when he went missing for the 2nd goal, at Goodison for his disgraceful performance against Wigan and on Saturday when he chickened out of a header on the edge of the box – the same place he’d chickened out of a tackle the previous week at Norwich for the 2nd goal.

      I was also at Goodison to witness an absolute Master Class last year against United.

      I am not saying that I wasn’t impressed by some of his contribution on Saturday but not all of it (not that he was alone!)

      I was thrilled when he signed, fell in love with his skill and contribution ( read a great article about his chest being ‘like a glove’ by Barnie Ronay Guardian) but also feel he misses too many match-winning chances, goes missing and is not the great defensive midfielder a lot of people seem to think he is. But………….. I would never accuse those who do of being unduly influenced by people around them. THAT would be offensive.

      Cheers
      Terry Smith

      1. Hi Terry

        Firstly I must apologise, I certainly didn’t mean to cause offence, that is the last think I want to do. When I set this site up just over a year ago it was because I had become so frustrated with the same people that you highlight in your comment. I do want to encourage healthy debate but without causing upset.

        I too have moved to avoid the same knockers who just follow everybody else and struggle to form their own opinion.

        I do however feel that Fellaini is suffering from comments to the media that are not his own or for the huge mistake he made in the Wigan FA Cup match. I may be wrong, but I think the reaction that day was one of frustration, not only with the scoreline and his own performance, but also with those so quick to criticise.

        I do remember hearing a story that Arteta and Cahill became very frustrated with supporters turning on them when they endured a drop in form, all of which I find very disappointing.

        I can only apologise over upsetting you again and do hope you continue to contribute on a regular basis to the site.

      2. Cheers Daniel,

        What a refreshing change! Much appreciated.

        Here’s a few more threads then:

        1 The ‘great’ home support is a myth. We don’t sing and only at away matches does it match the atmosphere of years ago (unless it’s a crackin’ game). My view is that this is down to all-seater stadia, transient fans who have a fast-food mentality to watching football and the saturation of TV football.
        2 I loved Arteta and Cahill when they were good but they were not in their last years. The hankering after Cahill turns my stomach at times.
        3 I despair over the Militant Tendency side of our fans. I understand their frustration at the inept direction of our club, but don’t like the bile and belligerence fuelled by the easy access to Twitter.
        4 I’d like to keep Fellaini but think a fund of £25m+ would be a better way to re-invent the squad. He will sulk if Moyes doesn’t get his way.
        5. I am thrilled that we’ve got Martinez. In all respects, I am convinced he is a better match for us.

        Cheers
        Terry

  2. @StDomingos1878 absolutely spot on that mate. The unfair stick he got after WBA was shocking. At the game I thought he did well.

  3. @StDomingos1878 Gd piece but $ talk. ~ 25m or more, I fear his head will be turned. Pray hard it’s not gonna happen. COYB!

  4. @stdomingos1878 Poss will go, but people saying he knows he is so hes playing crap are wrong, his names Fellaini not Moyes!

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