Everton: £27 million man is the key to Premier League survival

Everton (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) /

Everton are often criticized for its leaky defence and costly errors made by the rearguard. The centre back pairing of Michael Keane and Mason Holgate has not been up to the mark. In such a situation, the Toffees have dearly missed Yerry Mina.

Holgate and Keane have played 15 games together and the Toffees have ended up conceding 25 goals and losing eight of the 15 games. Everton have missed the aerial dominance along with the aggression that can keep the opposition attackers at bay.

In the next eight games, the Royal Blues need sturdy performances from the defence. Everton isn’t a team that operates on the philosophy of ‘you score four, we score five’. A tight and sound defence will be key to victories.

Mina’s absence for the majority of the league campaign has heavily hurt the Toffees. Mina may not be the best in the league but he has pretty much emerged as the best centre back in the Everton team.

Yerry Mina is crucial to Everton’s defence

The Colombian international has just played 10 Premier League games this season. In 10 games that the 27 year old featured in, Everton have managed to win four games and pick up a solitary point in two others. When Mina is on the field, the Toffees looked much more secure at the back thanks to his aerial ability and movement.

Mina records 4.04 aerial wins per 90 minutes and is in the top eight per cent of aerial wins category across Europe. Mina has won 68% of his aerial duels compared to Keane’s 65% and Holgate’s 61%. Mina averages 5.39 clearances per game, significantly higher than Keane. Mina’s presence on the pitch makes Everton much more assured at the back. Everton’s win percentage when Mina is playing is 40% which drops to 20% when the Colombian doesn’t play a single minute in the game.

Everton ends up conceding 1.85 goals per game when he is out of the team as compared to 1.4 goals when he does feature. The Toffee defence becomes substantially vulnerable in Mina’s absence. The former Barcelona man isn’t a reincarnate of Paolo Maldini but when he’s on the team the defence remains stable. It is evidently clear that his presence improves the team and even with his few shortcomings, the positives outweigh the negatives.

Mina’s biggest concern is to remain fit for the remainder of the season. The Colombian has suffered two separate long term injuries forcing him to miss 20 games in the league. The hamstring injury suffered in December has kept him out for nine games, where the Royal Blues have ended up conceding 14 goals, losing six games.

Mina has returned to training with the squad which will be a huge boost to Frank Lampard. With the 27 year old returning to full fitness, he’s likely to take his place in the starting lineup, possibly at the expense of Holgate or Keane.

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