Abdoulaye Doucoure was brilliant against Norwich City. The Everton midfielder is a solid contender for being the player of the season so far. Doucoure is a rejuvenated man under Rafa Benitez and Everton are reaping its benefits.
Doucoure was tracked by Everton for a long time. Back in 2019, when Marco Silva was in charge, the Toffees made two offers for the midfield dynamo but Watford rejected the advances. A year later, Everton had their way as the Hornets suffered relegation and Doucoure switched Watford for Merseyside.
He arrived as a complete box-to-box midfielder who added steel to the engine room. However, he wasn’t fully able to assert himself even though he was an important part of the midfield. There was a sense of observation that he didn’t exploit his attacking potential in the system. The reason behind it was that he was required to babysit James Rodriguez.
The Colombian isn’t the most defensively committed player and hardly tracked back. In an effort to cover the spaces, Doucoure had to carry out extra defensive duties. With a managerial change and change of style, the Frenchman is now blossoming.
Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure was fantastic against Norwich City
The game against Norwich City proved that Docuoure is on a roll this season. The Toffees managed to get back to winning ways after two consecutive defeats. Even though it was a bland game for most of the 90 minutes, whenever Everton attacked, much of it was passing through Doucoure, especially in the first half. He was the channel of the Everton attack on numerous occasions.
Doucoure was energetic and purposeful throughout the game. There was a brief period in the second half when Norwich was growing in the game as the Toffees had a slender 1-0 margin. The Canaries showed some promise and the Toffees looked a bit edgy. Everton really needed a second goal to seal the win and that’s when Doucoure rose and grabbed a goal.
Allan won the ball in the middle and moved forward but was challenged and lost the ball only to be collected by Demarai Gray. The English winger ran with pace and intent towards the Norwich goal. In came Doucoure, running parallel to Gray wanting a pass. The former Leicester City man set it up on the plate for Doucoure who drilled the ball past Tim Krul to kill the game.
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The Frenchman was outstanding for the Merseysiders. He made 51 accurate passes with an impressive pass accuracy of 88%. He created one chance and scored one goal. He was the most consistent and combatant in the middle, recovering the possession 13 times, most by any player in the game. He won three out four attempted tackles and won six duels.
Last season, Doucoure had two goals and three assists in 29 Premier League games. Thanks to his rejuvenation under Rafa Benitez, the 28 year old has unravelled his attacking potential. He has matched his last campaign’s goal contribution tally in just six Premier League games this season.
Doucoure, the midfield dynamo, is fast becoming the heartbeat of the midfield and Everton are looking much stronger in the middle because of his presence. If the 28 year old can keep up the level, the Toffees have a lethal option on their hands.
Can Abdoulaye Doucoure be Everton’s most important midfielder this season?