View: Reliable defensive ace culpable as Everton sink to woeful Newcastle defeat
Lucas Digne proved even the very best have off-days as he endured a game to forget in a disappointing 2-0 defeat for Everton against Newcastle United.
The 27-year-old is one of the key players at Goodison Park and the Blues really missed him after his injury setback kept him out of seven Premier League games with Dominic Calvert-Lewin in particular feeling the negative effects of this as he has only scored one league goal since November 22.
Digne slotted back into the side as a left midfielder in the 2-1 win at Wolves on January 12 and reprised this role again v Leicester City in midweek but was restored to the defence for Saturday’s fixture.
However he failed to have the required impact at Goodison Park evidenced in a number of statistics.
Per Wyscout, he was successful with only one of his crosses giving him an extremely poor 10% accuracy, not something we have been accustomed to seeing with his season average of 37.2%.
He also lost possession 15 times against Steve Bruce’s side which is higher than his 11.26 per 90 average.
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Defensively he was also lacking winning just 43% of his duels (his season average is 54.5%).
At Goodison News we have picked out a couple of defensive mistakes Digne made against Newcastle.
In the below image you can see Digne at the top of the screen tracking the run of Callum Wilson.
The Newcastle man has stolen a few yards on him with his pace, something he should have been more aware of, but there is still a chance to resurrect it and stop a clear-cut opportunity.
However what Digne does next borders on the unforgivable as he make a rash decision to try and play Wilson offside by stepping up.
He gets it all wrong and as you can see when Almiron plays the ball between Michael Keane and Yerry Mina Wilson is clearly onside and through on goal.
Luckily for Everton the striker hit the post but it still forced a dangerous corner for Newcastle and was a sign of things to come from Digne.
The next selection of clips shows the passage of play before the visitors score their all-important second goal of the game to put the result beyond reasonable doubt.
Granted, Digne is put in a difficult starting position as the Blues flooded forward in search for an equaliser.
He is the last man back as Jamal Lewis races down the left hand side with Wilson again looking to run in behind.
The Everton defender now has a few choices here – to close Lewis down immediately, block the run of Wilson, or to stick in between the two and close the angle down for both.
Digne opts for the first option which was the wrong decision as he is too far away to impact upon Lewis in any way.
Lewis is able to pass the ball around Digne with consummate ease to take the Blues man out of the action and send his striker through on goal for a one-on-one with Jordan Pickford.
Wilson actually mis-controls it which should allow Digne the chance to sprint back and block any potential shot on the line, which would also give Pickford the opportunity to close the forward down and narrow his angle.
However Digne ambles back which gives Wilson the chance to fire the ball into the far corner and secure the three points for Newcastle.
We don’t want to be too harsh on the French international given he has only recently returned from injury and is usually such a reliable performer but no individual should escape scrutiny and particularly not so after such an awful defeat to a team that had not won in their last 10 games.
It is time for the Blues to switch back on and rediscover their focus ahead of an important second half of the season with a European spot in touching distance.
We expect this to act as a wake-up call to Digne and that he will remind fans why they regard him so highly and as one of the best full-backs in the division.
In other Everton news, our view on the selection gamble that backfired on the Blues v Newcastle.