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Moise Kean targets for improvement to give Ancelotti a dilemma

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Moise Kean produced a performance that neatly packaged up a summary of his strengths and weaknesses for Carlo Ancelotti to analyse.

On the final day of the season, with the 20-year-old handed a rare start, he showed his talent and promise but also the areas he needs to improve if he is to muscle in on Everton's frontline more often.

Strikers, above all else, are judged on goals and Kean's tap-in, after moving free at the back post to collect Theo Walcott's driven cross, vindicated Ancelotti's decision to name him in the starting XI against Bournemouth.

It was his second goal of the campaign after joining from Juventus last summer for £25m.

And, for 45 minutes at least, he played with a greater level of maturity than seen before, his decision-making was sound and he played the lone frontman role well.

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But, he should've scored more than once, failing to get enough power on Lucas Digne's cross and his ability in the air is one of the areas of his game Kean must improve on if he is to begin challenging Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin more often next season.

But, as Ancelotti has been at pains to stress, most of all, Kean needs time and being able to cope with the physical demands of the English game is not something that is achieved overnight.

Here we look at some of the key stats from Kean's first season in the Premier League and how he compares to joint top-scorers Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who both struck 13 times this season.

The competition in front of him, as described by Ancelotti, is "really high" and though there are parts of his game where Kean falls short, he still stacks up to his team-mates in a number of areas.

Speaking this week, he has vowed to "be ready to show to the boss" next season.

Diego Rico fights for the ball with Moise Kean during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Bournemouth (Image: CLIVE BRUNSKILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Areas for Kean to improve in

As with any young player, there are distinct areas for Kean to improve.

That becomes apparent when comparing his figures to that of Everton's two starting strikers - although it certainly comes with caveats.

Both Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are far more experienced in the Premier League and they were handed greater game-time throughout the campaign.

It stands to reason their figures in certain areas would be better, but it does still pinpoint the aspects of Kean's game that might perhaps need to be worked on.

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Goals, of course, are the base requirement for a striker to achieve.

Even accounting for Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison's increased amounts of game-time, searching for the average per 90 minutes rather than totals across the campaign, the pair come off better than their young team-mate.

Kean managed 0.19 goals per 90 minutes in the league, compared to 0.41 and 0.35 from Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison respectively.

But, of course, there are other facets that need to be analysed.

Over the course of 2019/20 a lot of emphasis was placed on Everton's strikers being strong in the air, especially as a need for a more direct attacking approach took over.

Calvert-Lewin particularly excelled on that front, challenging for an average of 12.39 aerial duels per 90 minutes, winning 43.6% of those.

Evertonians wouldn't have needed to see those figures to understand how much the 23-year-old has improved in that area, but it does show how far ahead of his team-mates the striker has become.

Richarlison takes on an average of 5.48 aerial duels per 90 minutes, winning 30.8% of those, while Kean goes up for 3.67 - winning just 17.9% of those.

Throughout the campaign a long ball up to the strikers became an integral part of Everton's game, meaning that it should be one the Italian is looking to improve.

Between them, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin scored eight headed goals.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is 33/1 to top a truncated chase to be Premier League top scorer, while Richarlison is a huge 50/1.


Ancelotti's system also revolves around strong defensive work from everyone on the pitch, including the strikers.

The manager has often talked about that being a particularly impressive aspect of both Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison. By that logic, it will be something he wants to see in Kean.

In terms of defensive duels per 90 minutes the Italian scores higher than Calvert-Lewin, going in for 3.2 per match compared to his team-mate's 2.15.

However, the latter wins 45.6% of those battles, which is much higher than Kean on 32.4%.

Richarlison, on the other hand, scores much higher than both - attempting 4.71 defensive duels every 90 minutes and winning an impressive 64.7%.

Areas in which Kean compares
What's most intriguing about Kean's numbers are the areas in which he is performing on a similar level to his team-mates.

The striker might not have gained the amount of time on the pitch that he wanted, but he has shown a number of qualities which will have impressed Ancelotti.

Where the striker might lose out in terms of aerial duels in this regard, he makes up for it in terms of dribbling and ball retention.

Per 90 minutes, the youngster takes the least amount of unsuccessful touches with 2.5 - compared to 3.4 from Calvert-Lewin and 2.7 from Richarlison.

Moise Kean runs with the ball during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between Everton and Watford (Image: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)


Both Kean and Calvert-Lewin are dispossessed 0.8 times per 90 minutes compared to 2.2 for Richarlison - although the Brazilian does take a lot of creative responsibility on his shoulders so can be excused.

The youngster attempts more dribbles per 90 minutes than both of his team-mates although Richarlison is more successful with his than the Italian, completing 54.2% compared to 37.7%.

Linked to that is a metric for progressive runs.

According to Wyscout, a run is considered progressive if the distance before the starting point and the last touch of the player is 30 meters (if starting and finishing points are in their own half), 15 meters (if starting and finishing points there are in other halves) or 10 meters (if starting and finishing points are in the opposition half).

Kean completes 1.97 of those per 90 minutes which places him a rather impressive 34th in the league considering his game time. Richarlison, for example, is just ahead of him in 33rd.

Elsewhere, while the goals might not have flowed in the manner the summer signing would have hoped, his shooting has actually been comparable to his team-mates.

Kean took an average of 2.45 shots every 90 minutes in last season's Premier League, with 50% of them on target.

That accuracy is better than both Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin - with only the latter bettering the 20-year-old in terms of his sheer amount of shots every game.

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What's clear is that there is a platform for Kean to build on.

While scoring goals is the bread and butter of every striker, it's not the be all and end all.

Consider the position Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison were both in with comparable amounts of Premier League experience. Both had their doubters, but many were able to see through that.

Kean has the base to build on for the future and increased amount of game time could well lead to much more frequent and consistent results.

Change of formation

Ancelotti tested his players in the second-half of his first season in charge with different formations and systems.

Could he make room for Kean by going 4-3-3? Or 4-4-2 and playing Richarlison out wide, as he did at Newcastle in December?

The Everton boss has clear that his team will not just have "one identity" but be able to play in a variety of ways and while Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin are the established front two, at the moment, Kean could force his manager's hand and bring out a change in formation so he can be included from the start.

Ancelotti also finished the season by playing a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Kean as the lone frontman against Bournemouth.

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti talks with Moise Kean

Or is it more likely to be a case that Kean has to be doing enough for the Blues boss to drop one of the regular front two? Kean took the place of Calvert-Lewin, who was in badly need of a rest, for the final game of the season while Richarlison, also fatigued, kept his place.

Ancelotti, who also has Cenk Tosun in his ranks but is expected to give his sale or loan - fitness dependent - the go-ahead this summer, has hinted about asking for a fourth centre-forward.

“I think we have three good strikers. Maybe we can have another one but we will see at the end of the season if there is a necessity," he said.

Kean will hope to convince Ancelotti that there is no need.




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