Abdoulaye Doucoure stole the show against Leicester City on Wednesday night with an “absolutely magnificent” display as Everton claimed a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium.
The ex-Watford enforcer earned his 13th-straight start of the Premier League season since leaving Vicarage Road for £20million to become one of Carlo Ancelotti’s most-favoured Toffees figures.
Everton took the lead in the East Midlands through Richarlison when the Brazilian penned his fifth across all competitions by cutting in from the left and slotting the ball home with a low strike past Kasper Schmeichel.
Mason Holgate doubled the visitor’s lead midway through the second half when the centre-back turned poacher to prod the ball home on the rebound after a sublime double save from Schmeichel at a corner.
Doucoure’s workload in the core of the engine room was sent into overtime shortly before Holgate rippled the back of the net, having seen midfield partner Allan limp off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury just before the break.
The Brazilian’s absence was felt but managed well by Doucoure, who earned rave reviews from former Tottenham Hotspur and Hull City defender Michael Dawson.
“They [Everton] have worked their socks off. Doucoure, in front of Everton’s back-four, has been absolutely magnificent,” the 2008 EFL Cup winner said, while speaking on Sky Sports’ Soccer Special [16/12, 19:48].
Dawson was certainly right, with Doucoure stealing the show at the King Power Stadium to send Everton above Chelsea and into fifth place in the Premier League table, sitting just a point behind Leicester for fourth.
Doucoure was anywhere and everywhere as he strove to thwart Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes with composure on the ball and a brute force off it, while proving to be a particular thorn in Jamie Vardy’s side when the former England international broke with a chance to level the score.
The 27-year-old titan ended the game with a team-high 60 touches of the ball as Everton struggled for possession with Leicester commanding 60.7% of the game, per WhoScored.
Doucoure further topped the Toffees’ charts for total passes (49) and accurate passes (43), as well as recording one shot, two successful tackles from two attempts and two interceptions.
Only Alex Iwobi in a stellar night for the former Arsenal attacker registered more successful dribbles (4) than Doucoure (1), with the pair plus Holgate the only Everton players who started to boast a 100% dribble success rate.
Of Doucoure’s total passes, he further found teammates with each of his three long balls, per SofaScore, and left the field having won four of five ground duels and never committing a foul.
It was the perfect performance from the titan-like Doucoure on a night his responsibilities went up a gear with Allan forced off through injury, and showing every reason why Everton sought a deal with Watford this summer.
AND in other news, Carlo Ancelotti would tarnish his Everton record by luring one of his former stars to Goodison Park in January…
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