All Evertonians will agree that one of the best moments of Everton’s season happened in their most recent 3-2 defeat to Arsenal.
This moment occurred in the 59th minute of the game, as Andre Gomes made his long awaited return from the horror ankle injury he suffered back in November. The midfielder’s incredible recovery time of just 112 days was a testament to his work ethic and character off the field, but just how will his return benefit Everton on the field?
The answer is relatively simple, massively. Ever since the Portuguese international joined the Blues in 2018, he has been a fan favourite. His love for the club is vocal and his effort and skill on the pitch is unmatched. Gomes brings one thing that the Toffees have desperately missed since his injury, class. Gomes simply does it all. His passing ability is lightyears ahead of his fellow midfielders at the club and his composure brings a sense of control and calm to any game he plays in. The midfielder will be essential for Carlo Ancelotti to implement his style of play upon Everton. Ancelotti has stated that he wants his Everton side to control the game and to attack with pace and directness. This is why Gomes’ return is so crucial to the Blues. The midfielder has an incredible ability to remain calm in possession and play eloquent long balls and devastating through balls. This skill was shown against Arsenal as Gomes almost set Richardson clean through on goal with a magnificent through ball. Gomes can ensure Everton have control in games and can also find the magic pass to unlock stubborn defences. This is something that Everton have found very difficult to do without the midfielder. For example, Everton’s 2-0 home defeat to Norwich was defined by a clear lack of class and creativity in Everton’s midfield, which is a problem that Gomes’ return should fix.
Yet another reason that Gomes’ return offers Everton so much hope is the fairly sub-par play of the midfielders that have been selected in Gomes’ absence. In particular, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fabian Delph have struggled mightily to replicate the incredible quality of Andre Gomes. When the injury occurred, the most obvious candidate to attempt to replace the creativity lost was Gylfi Sigurdsson. However, the Icelander has had an incredibly disappointing season and has offered little-to-no creativity for the Blues. As for Fabian Delph, while reliable on the ball, Delph fails to offer the defence-splitting through balls of Gomes and instead plays relatively safe passes. Whilst this usually ensures Everton keep possession, Delph is not a player that can split a defence with a magnificent pass and nor is Sigurdsson. Another thing that Everton have lost in Gomes’ absence is his incredible ability to quickly regain possession for Everton after it has been lost. This ability often goes unmentioned in relation to Gomes, however the fan favourite’s effort and work rate offers a significant amount of protection to the Blues’ backline.
Finally, another example of the incredible impact that Gomes’ return from injury will have is the clear lack of leadership in the side. As Seamus Coleman has lost his place at right back, Everton’s captain on game days has been one of Lucas Digne and Gylfi Sigurdsson. Neither of these players gives an awe of leadership that should be required from a captain. However, in Gomes Everton have a player that is leader both for the players on the field and for the fans in the stands. The midfielder is a firm fan favourite and has a clear love for the fans. Therefore his return will ignite an overwhelmingly positive buzz at Goodison Park, as fans excitedly await his return against Manchester United. Also, Gomes’ incredible desire, work-rate and commitment on the pitch often acts as an instigator for the rest of the Everton team to put the opposing team under immense pressure. Andre Gomes’ return will immediately add the much needed leadership that Everton have lacked since his injury.
To summarise, the return of Andre Gomes could propel Everton towards the European places as the midfielders incredible skill and work rate will massively benefit the Blues on the field and cannot be underestimated, as when he is on form, Gomes has the ability to dominate and win games for the Toffees.