COMMENT By Danny Wright
Idrissa Gueye rarely receives any plaudits from the media or fans. However the Everton midfielder is currently the best defensive player in Europe’s top five leagues.
According to WhoScored, the 27-year-old has made more tackles this season and more tackles per game than any other player in the top leagues of England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy.
With 93 tackles to his name, Gueye is miles ahead of the European elite. Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson is second in the rankings with 88.
Gueye has made 4.9 tackles per game in 19 recorded appearances. In comparison, Chelsea’s much-lauded N’Golo Kante makes 3.6 tackles per game and Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele makes three.
There are many similarities between Gueye and his Chelsea counterpart, with most of their defensive stats looking the same apart from the huge gulf in the amount of tackles each performs.
The Everton man is also great on the ball as well as off it – what is the use of winning the ball back if you don’t do anything with it?
With an 84.8% pass completion this season it’s baffling to know how Everton managed to get the midfielder so cheap.
Gueye signed at Goodison Park in August 2016 for a fee of around £7million and has since become the main reason as to why the club are far exceeding what they achieved last season.
He finished bottom of the 2015/16 Premier League with Aston Villa, but the Senegalese midfielder clearly showed that he was far better than the players that surrounded him during his time in Birmingham.
Ronald Koeman will be hoping Gueye can prove pivotal in his team’s bid to achieve European qualification this season, a place the former Lille man should definitely be playing.
He can start by putting in more of his top defensive work when his side take on Middlesbrough on Saturday.
In other Everton news, 26-year-old midfielder ace delivers verdict on his future at the club.