What are we missing from Abdoulaye Doucouré?

Tuesday, 3 November, 2020 24comments  |  Jump to last
I have commented before about wanting to see more from Abdoulaye Doucouré. Let me say straight away, this is not a criticism as I am sure he is playing how Carlo Ancelotti wants him to play as a defensive shield along with Allan. But this is not the Doucouré I watched at Watford in the last 4 years.

I went on YouTube to look at his highlight reels — which is not a great way to assess a player — but what I saw was him getting into the box, scoring several goals, some from outside the penalty area. He does have a good shot on him. Not that you would guess that from his Everton performances so far.

So I ask myself: What has changed? — apart from a change of club and managers.

When he came in with James and Allan, I was more excited than the arrival of James and Allan, as I thought I knew what Abdoulaye would bring to our midfield. A big strong athletic box-to-box player that we so desperately needed. Added to that his ability to get into the box and score a few goals.

Watching him play against us, I always hoped that Watford would get relegated and we could snap him up. But he does not appear to be the same player. Why? Obviously he is a manager's dream and plays very much according to the tactical plan, which he has done well so far this season but I feel Carlo is missing a part of his game that we are crying out for again, based on our last 3 games.

At Watford, he ran the show in midfield. He responded well to Deeney who was the type of captain and leader we can only dream of. Is he missing this type of encouragement on the pitch? Who would you choose to lead the Blues? Deeney or Sigurdsson?

Maybe when Jean-Philippe Gbamin finally is fit enough to play, he will join Allan as the midfield shield and Doucouré will be given more freedom to get up the field — and become again the player he was at Watford.  

Reader Comments (24)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Alex Gray
1 Posted 05/11/2020 at 08:26:54
He’s being restricted currently and is playing more of a right back then a midfielder.

When Coleman bombing forward he would cover so we’re not too exposed on a counter. Sadly this only made sense when we had the attacking threat of Coleman.

Mike Price
2 Posted 05/11/2020 at 09:39:18
Totally agree with your observations and especially on Deeney. I’ve thought for years now that he would be a great signing for us, he’s a proper leader and a very decent striker too. Sadly, he’s probably past it now.
Robert Tressell
3 Posted 05/11/2020 at 09:42:47
I think what we're missing is top quality. He's a good athletic player with a good engine. That's it. He had Capoue at Watford alongside him, doing a lot of good defensive work. You could argue Capoue ran the show at least as much as Doucoure. The partnership gave him a bit more license to join an attack that often had good width and pace (Deulofeu, Sarr, Peyrera), creating space for an athletic box to box player. But he's never had a great range of passing or goal return.

Like others, he'll start to look good again when Richarlison, Rodriguez and Coleman are back.

Rob Dolby
4 Posted 05/11/2020 at 09:49:10
Think you answered your own question.

He is playing to orders. Doing the cover work for Rodriguez and bizarrely covering jjk last week against Newcastle.

I thought that we signed him to be that centre mid that burst past the striker to go through on goal after all that looks like his strength. Ancelotti is deploying him deeper to do other people's running and lack of pace.

The worrying thing for me is that he is becoming one of the first to get hooked off the pitch which must frustrate the lad.

Brian Harrison
5 Posted 05/11/2020 at 10:01:38
I don't think we have seen the best of Doucoure yet, as others have commented he was a very good box to box midfielder at Watford. I think Ancelotti knowing James wouldn't do a lot of tracking back has played Doucoure in a deeper role to help the full back. I think only when we move James to a more central role and get another wide player in, will Ancelotti then release Doucoure to play his natural game. As Rob in post 4 said we were used to seeing Doucoure run past his strikers at Watford and get in the box, and I am sure when we can release James from playing wide then Doucoure will again be used in his Watford box to box role. I think until the last 10 minutes against Newcastle it was very noticeable that we only had DCL in the box so having someone like Doucoure to get up and help both DCL and Richarlison when he returns must be the plan.
Robert Tressell
6 Posted 05/11/2020 at 10:11:35
I should probably add that we're missing a fit and on-form Gomes too. In theory a trio of Allan, Doucoure and Gomes has a nice blend of discipline, artistry and athleticism - but unfortunately Gomes has been a passenger this season. Sigurdsson, Delph and Davies don't offer a great deal either. So it limits the impact Doucoure can make.
Jim Bennings
7 Posted 05/11/2020 at 12:26:53
Doucoure was magnificent in put win at Spurs, full of energy, up and down the pitch, that was the Doucoure we knew we were buying and for two years have tried to buy.

The trouble is that it's Everton's blueprint to just nullify instead of encourage attacking (one of the reasons why it was so refreshing the goals in the first six games, but probably we knew exception to the rule).

We sign players and we change their dynamic, too often we restrict players and then within months it looks like a complete different player to the one we bought.

Alan J Thompson
8 Posted 05/11/2020 at 15:00:57
I think most have put their finger on it in that we seem to worry more about having a defensive midfield than getting people forward and in the box.
Barry Rathbone
9 Posted 05/11/2020 at 16:42:08
He has no mastery of the football consequently once the usual excuse period enjoyed by Snides, Walcott, Davies, Gomes, Bolasie, Tosun etc is over he will be the next whipping boy.

We barely put up with Rom because he couldn't control a ball but his effectiveness at scoring goals diluted the vitriol.

Nothing down for this chap I'm afraid

Dale Self
10 Posted 05/11/2020 at 16:51:05
I think Robert's mention of Capoue is the clue here. Doucoure and Allan will work out an understanding that will bring Doucoure forward more but with direct and obvious runs to loosen up defenses. The run onto Iwobi's pass is obviously what we'd like to see more of but until the defensive setup settles into reliable form expecting that is a bit much for us right now as a regular feature.
Bobby Mallon
11 Posted 05/11/2020 at 17:28:05
We are missing fucking goals shots blocks and tackles. Pisses me off. I know I shouldn’t mention that lot across the park but no matter who they loose to injuries they get an under 23 and they just step Straight into the role.
Darren Hind
12 Posted 05/11/2020 at 18:47:48
You have to understand that Ancelotti didnt bring these players ( Doucoure AND Allan) in to score and create goals. If he did. He had not done his homework

In well over three hundred games Alan has barley got into double figures. He has averaged about a goal per season throughout his career. Doucoure is a slight improvement. He's got 31 in ten seasons - averaging three per season. Compare the two Ancelotti midfield signings to one of the more creative players he is inherited.
Gylfi Sigurdsson gets hammered.. and justifiably so, but throughout his career, he has scored twice as many as Doucoure and Allan combined He also creates twice as many.

Stats eh ? Who'd have em ? Even when they are correct they are misleading.

The problem with buying to midfield players to primarily defend is you need to be able to show a big improvement in the goals against column. If they don't defend properly they offer little else.

These are decent players, but they have to be better than they have been recently.

Brian Harrison
13 Posted 05/11/2020 at 19:39:59

I agree that we need to defend a whole lot better, the only clean sheet was the opening game against Spurs, and that might not have been a clean sheet if it hadn't been for two great saves from Pickford. Although, before the weekend's games, I think our neighbours had conceded the most goals so far.

Just to take Sunday's game: it wouldn't have mattered if we had the best two defensive midfield players in the country, their first was Gomes reacting too slow to a corner, and the second was a simple ball over the head of Mina – not the first time a ball over the top has found him wanting.

Without Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and James, we don't carry a goal threat as it seems the goals have dried up for Sigurdsson, who was the only other player with a decent goalscoring record. Iwobi, Bernard, Gomes, Davies are poor when it comes to scoring; the stats also say they aren't great when it comes to assists – and therein lies the problem.

We need to buy another goalscorer and play James behind the front 3; that would take pressure off the full-back behind James, and it would hopefully give James more touches; with his quality, that could mean more goals.

Stan Schofield
14 Posted 05/11/2020 at 21:26:25
He's doing what all new signings at Everton tend to do, start off quite well, but fade quite rapidly to a point where they are regarded as deadwood who need shifting on, to start the whole cycle again with the next signing.

Sorry to be negative, but isn't this what tends to happen? Must be the Everton effect that we've come to know so well.

Danny Broderick
15 Posted 05/11/2020 at 21:47:33
It's obvious to me what's happened. He was doing brilliantly up until the derby. Since then, we've lost Coleman, Digne, Richarlison and Rodriguez. Our play has become pedestrian and boring again like last season. Those 4 players are our supply line to Calvert-Lewin. Crucially, they all play out wide. As a centre mid, it must be a dream to have those 4 players on the flanks, always wanting the ball from you.

Watch his form when they come back in the team. He'll be doing lung-busting defensive interceptions like at Spurs away, or bursting into the box to create, like against West Brom at home. It's not his game to dictate play, it's his job to get about the pitch. He gives us something we just don't have in midfield without him, mainly legs and power.

Stan Schofield
16 Posted 05/11/2020 at 22:12:35
Danny @15: That was a good post. Very positive. I hope we return to form as you indicate we should.
Danny Broderick
17 Posted 05/11/2020 at 23:04:46
Fingers crossed, Stan! The last two games knocked me for six but I'm hoping we are going to catch Manchester United at a good time and get going again.

We may only have Digne and Rodriguez back as Richarlison is still suspended and I suspect 3 weeks won't be enough for Seamus to recover from his hamstring strain. But having those two will help. I'd play Gordon in Richarlison's role and try to get the team shape close to what we were doing earlier in the season.

In terms of our midfield, we will win the battle with United's midfield as long as we don't have Sigurdsson in there. Although he didn't play well against Newcastle, I think Delph can cover for Gomes and link up with Digne and Gordon on the left. I think Allan and Doucouré are better than anything United can pair together...

Dave Williams
18 Posted 06/11/2020 at 10:50:29
Danny is right- it’s not Doucoure who is the problem but rather the substandard replacements. Our midfield is not functioning at full throttle even with everyone fit because we still have one substandard player in the first eleven, be it Gomes,Siggy or whoever. Fill that place with someone who can play the DM role thus releasing Doucoure to play box to box and we will be a match for anyone outside of RS and City( and possibly a match for them too).
It was always going to take Carlo more than one window to get his squad sorted and if Gbamin can defy the odds and get back to what he was then that will be a good step forward.
Christopher Timmins
19 Posted 06/11/2020 at 12:34:29
Unless we get Coleman and James back in for tomorrow, I fear we will struggle as Man Utd play better away from home when teams come on to them.

David Cooper
21 Posted 07/11/2020 at 19:00:01
I watched Doucouré closely today. He did manage to get up into the box in the last 10 minutes and fluffed two chances. Again he played a disciplined game trying to work with Allan to protect the back four but with Sigurdsson and James either side of them, they have to try and cover what these two don’t do effectively.
I am still trying to put my finger on why he is not the player I thought we had got. His confidence must be rock bottom so maybe we won’t see the best of him till he is really contributing to the team in an attacking sense. To do that we need a change of shape and find someone to play alongside Allan. Is that JP Gbamin? Will we see him in two weeks against Fulham?
Anthony A Hughes
22 Posted 07/11/2020 at 19:15:01
Doucoure doesn't score goals and doesn't create goals. I'm not sure what some fans thought we we're getting with him. Somebody said on the live forum today about him being a no10. Do me favour please. The lad is an up and down engine and that's it.
Sam Hoare
23 Posted 09/11/2020 at 11:38:36
I'd like to see him carry the ball a bit more. What we are really missing at the moment is people to create space. That's why Richarlison is so important.

If you can turn your man and beat him then suddenly you open some space up for others to hopefully profit from and at the moment no-one is the middle is doing that except from Allan on ocassion.

Historically Doucore completes about one dribble per game in the PL but currently he's at about half that.

Ever since Barkley left I think we have lacked a muscular presence in the middle who can beat a man and advance us up the pitch quickly to produce opportunities. Gomes, Delph and Sigurdsson sure as hell are not going to that. Davies is too slow. Allan is doing it a bit but I think Doucore could certainly do it more. Is it bad that I slightly wish we'd taken Barkley on loan, think he'd do well in this team and has been pretty stellar for Villa, though a short sample so far. I hope that if we buy a third central midfielder it will be someone who can carry the ball a bit.

Martin Berry
24 Posted 10/11/2020 at 12:20:28
We are missing him playing further up the pitch like when scoring for his previous club.
Sukhdev Sohal
25 Posted 11/11/2020 at 12:51:08
12 (Darren)- Literally no sane person has said Doucoure's main role is to score goals. It is just a bonus, so whatever essay you've written is meaningless.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads