Everton were dealt a major blow last week as it was announced that the French left-back Lucas Digne was withdrawn from the national team due to a hamstring issue before the match. As details of his injury were revealed recently, he can miss out for up to a month. Digne has been facing problems with this recurring injury on multiple occasions during his Everton career.
Lucas Digne signed for Everton in 2018 when he joined from La Liga giants Barcelona. He went on to enjoy an impressive campaign at Goodison Park, consistently displaying his defensive attributes along with menacing runs into the opposition half. Digne created a total of 52 chances in the 2018/19 season, more than any other defender in Europe’s top-five leagues, while his 280 crosses were the highest delivered by any player in England’s top division. Last season he was a prominent part of Ancelotti’s defence, making thirty appearances in the Premier League. He created eleven big chances and laid on seven assists. Digne has performed excessively well throughout his time at Everton, continuing to create chances for his teammates and provide a threatening cross from set pieces.
The arrival of a new manager is usually accompanied with changes, both in tactics and starting eleven. But new manager Rafa Benitez has trusted Digne in a similar manner as his predecessors. This season he has been involved in all of Everton’s seven games in the Premier League.
Let’s analyse his stats this season in order to understand his impact for the Merseyside team.
Lucas Digne is an attack-minded left-back who is creative as well. He has created many chances for his teammates during his time in Everton. His passing and progression stats have been impressive this season as well. Digne’s crosses into the opposition box carry a high threat. He surpasses the league median value for most of the passing and progression metrics. His expected assist per 90, crosses per 90 and shot assist per 90 deserve a special mention.
Although in the past he was criticized for his defensive frailties, the Frenchman has since displayed that he has improved in his defensive duties. He has a tackle success rate of 50% this season. In addition, he has 14 clearances and 41 recoveries. His defensive actions chart indicates that he fulfils his defensive duties quite well.
Digne’s pass map is impressive. It shows his wide range of passes in multiple areas of the pitch. In addition to his short passes, he has delivered multiple threatening crosses into the opposition box, some of them even from his own half. The left-back sprays majority of his passes from half-spaces and out wide in the opponent half.
Digne offers an accomplished balance between attacking push and defensive solidity. His heat map displays his impressive work rate and the areas of the pitch in which he is most active in. The red zones in the opponent half indicate his movement in the opponent half during his team’s transitions in attack.
He has been involved in defensive duels all over the left-wing. Digne often tracks back to complete his defensive duties, while he is also involved in defensive duels in the opponent half. This season he has won 31 duels and lost 25 of them. His fourteen aerial duels won indicate he is above par in aerial duels as well.
The recent news of his injury will certainly be a frustrating point for the Everton fans. Rafa Benitez will have a difficult task at his hand to replace the Frenchman in the left-back position. An important point that Benitez and his medical staff must focus on going forward is the recurring nature of his hamstring injury. Everton’s next fixture in the premier league sees them welcome West Ham at Goodison Park. Whatever may be the outcome of the match, Digne’s attacking output and creativity from left-wing will definitely be missed by Everton.