It had been an almost perfect start to the season for Everton under Rafael Benitez, until they travelled to Villa Park and were well beaten 3-0 at the weekend, although they did have several players missing including Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Jordan Pickford.
Do you think Doucoure is Everton's best midfielder?
Someone that was available and played 90 minutes for the fifth-straight match in the league was Doucoure, who has already racked up one goal and three assists. Considering he only managed two goals and three assists in 29 appearances last campaign, Benitez appears to be getting a better tune out of Doucoure than Carlo Ancelotti did.
Thomlinson spoke very highly about Doucoure’s form this season.
“I think Doucoure has been one of the outstanding midfielders in the league so far this season under Benitez, totally revitalised his position. Effectively, when James [Rodriguez] was there, he was asked to do all of James’ dog work.
“Whereas now, when he can drift into those left-hand pockets as well, he’s got the freedom to get into the box way more like he was at Watford.
“The pass against Burnley, man, it’s just out of this world, like he’s such a good footballer and alongside Allan, when Allan can do the dirty work and give him the ball to distribute and keeps it very simple, I think that’s a really nice little duo.”
TIF Thoughts on Doucoure…
Under Benitez, Doucoure seems to be playing a much more important role in the team, especially going forward, as he is currently leading the way at Everton having racked up the most passing yards out of anyone in the squad, whereas under Ancelotti last season he finished seventh (FBRef), which is showing how Benitez is wanting to get more out of the midfielder.
Alongside someone like Allan, who loves doing the dirty and defensive side of things, having won and attempted the most tackles out of anyone in the squad (FBRef), it seems Doucoure is now being given a licence to get further forward and affect things in the final third, which will arguably give defences more to think about if they also have the likes of Calvert-Lewin, Andros Townsend, Demarai Gray and Richarlison all looking to push forward.
It now remains to be seen whether Doucoure can maintain this level of performance and improve on last season’s numbers.