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How Everton have went from zero to hero in the backline

Everton have drastically improved their defensive record this season. After playing
13 Premier League games so far, the Toffees have only conceded 12 goals which is
the fourth best defensive record in the league. In comparison to the same stage in
the 2021-2022 season, the blues had conceded twenty. In addition, Everton have
already kept four clean sheets this season which is already halfway of what the team
achieved in the entirety of last season. A major reason as to why the defence has
improved so much is because of James Tarkowski. The English centre half arrived to
Goodison Park on a free transfer from Burnley and the player has revolutionised the
defensive unit. Here is how the man has played a massive part in Everton’s season
so far.

Aerials won

James Tarkowski has won an average of just over four aerial duels per 90 minutes.
This is double the average of a centre half across the big five leagues across
Europe. It is evident that a strong asset of Tarkowski’s game is his ability to win
Last season Michael Keane had an average of nearly three whilst Mason Holgate
had an average of 2.35. This shows that they are above the average but are still not
even close to fulfilling the excellent work Tarkowski completes in the air. However,
Ben Godfrey has a very low average of 1.36 which for a player of his height and
strength is underwhelming. James Tarkowski is far superior in this aspect to the
three players compared.


As well as Tarkowski having excellent ability in the air, he is also brilliant with his
clearances. Tarkowski averages over five clearances per 90 minutes. This is nearly
double the average from a centre back from the top five leagues in Europe. It is clear
to see that the England International is performing at a high level in this part of his
During the 2021/2022 campaign all three centre halves produced similar numbers in
this area. Keane, Holgate and Godfrey averaged just over four clearances per 90
minutes. These numbers are impressive as they are above the average, although
they are still considerably way behind the level at which Tarkowski is performing at in
this part of Football.


The Manchester born man is furtherly fantastic with his ability to block. Tarkowski
averages just over two and a half blocks per 90 minutes which is more than double
the average from across the five greatest leagues in Europe. In the Premier League
this season, Tarkowski is first in the blocks category, making more than double the
amount of the player in second.
Ben Godfrey is a player well known for getting his body on the line, yet even at his
solid average of just under two he is still way behind the seriously spectacular
Tarkowski. Michael Keane and Mason Holgate are underwhelming to say the least in
this area, with both not even making the average, which for a side who last season
conceded shots for fun is really poor.
It is undeniable that James Tarkowski is by far and away the superior centre back.
He beats the other centre halves convincingly. Whilst a few of them have decent
statistics, they will have to improve rapidly to get anywhere near the level of
Tarkowski. Fans can now go to games expecting Everton to put in a strong
defensive performance, which was quite the opposite last season. Long may it

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