Rafa Benitez has Doucoure playing in a whole new gear for Everton this season
Doucoure has been a changed man under Benitez.
The French midfielder enjoyed a positive debut season under Carlo Ancelotti last season.
However, since the appointment of Rafa Benitez, Abdoulaye Doucoure has hit new heights.
In 29 Premier League appearances last season Doucoure scored twice and registered three assists.
This season, though, it’s taken him just six games to reach those numbers (Transfermarkt).
Not an awful lot has changed, but Benitez has given the Frenchman the licence to play on the front foot and it’s paying off.
The more aggressive stance that Doucoure’s taking is improving incredibly effective.
His underlying numbers show just how he’s been allowed to express himself on the pitch.
Doucoure has been a changed man under Benitez
His tackles per game are up from 1.8 last season to 2.7 this season, and his numbers in possession have also improved.
The ex-Watford man is taking more shots, making more key passes and is winning more fouls per game than he was under Ancelotti (WhoScored).
These numbers reflect the risk-taking and more aggressive approach to his game.
Last season Doucoure had a higher pass success rate and he took less poor touches per game.
However, that’s an expense of the midfield man being more explosive and creative.
With Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray ahead of him, Doucoure is attempting more audacious passes.
They’re working too, as he’s doubled his through balls per 90 from last season and is completing 0.7 more long balls than last year (WhoScored).
His goalscoring is likely unsustainable.
Doucoure is outperforming his xG this season (Understat).
However, having underperformed his xG in seven of the last eight seasons, the Everton fans won’t mind him chipping in with extra goals.
The next step for Doucoure is consistency.
The Frenchman has been sublime for six games, but he needs to carry this on.
Rafa Benitez has been integral to this turn in form, so long may it continue under the Spaniard.
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