By Nick Ware

31st Jan, 2021 | 7:13pm

View: 0 key passes, 50% tackle accuracy - Ancelotti's midfield gamble backfires on Everton

Carlo Ancelotti opted for the creative talents of Gylfi Sigurdsson alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure in the Everton midfield versus Newcastle United but it backfired on him.

With Doucoure returning to the side after missing the visit of Leicester City in midweek through suspension attention turned to who would miss out between Andre Gomes and Tom Davies to partner the 28-year-old.

As it turned out, neither of them would be selected as the Blues succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park against a Newcastle side who had not won since December 12.

Instead, Ancelotti opted to field Sigurdsson in a deep-lying position as he plotted a way to break down a Newcastle defence he expected to be deep and tough to break down.

The move made sense in some ways but in reality, it failed to work and left Ancelotti with egg on his face.

Per WhoScored the Iceland midfielder failed to weave his creative magic and did not make a single key pass in his 55 attempts.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

According to Wyscout data Sigurdsson made 10 passes to the final third at a respectable 80% accuracy but none of these made their way into the penalty area.

In fact he has not made a pass into the penalty area since the Blues beat Chelsea 1-0 on December 12.

If he was brought into the starting XI to provide some thrust and creativity to Everton’s attacking play then this was sorely lacking.

He recorded a joint league-low xA of 0.01 to really expose his failure at being able to create an opening.

Sigurdsson was also dispossessed twice and dribbled past on a couple of occasions as he proved to be a passenger in the Everton engine room.

He was also lacking on the defensive side of his game with a 50% tackle accuracy lower than everyone else on the pitch except Newcastle striker Callum Wilson (33%).

The 31-year-old is famed for his superb set-piece deliveries but he recorded a 0% accuracy after none of his three corners reached an Everton player.

The return of Allan cannot come any sooner.

Sigurdsson is clearly not cut out for a dynamic role in the middle of midfield and is so far off the profile of player that Allan and Doucoure are.

Allan should be back from injury soon but even without him Ancelotti must resist the urge to turn to experience and hand the baton back to Davies against Leeds United on Wednesday.

Marcelo Bielsa’s energetic side will overrun Sigurdsson in midfield and will proved to be the Blues’ downfall.

The Sigurdsson midfield experiment must start and end on Saturday.

In other Everton news, our view on which key Blues man deserves to be dropped after another disappointing display v Newcastle.