Forget Allan: Everton dynamo who won mammoth 23 duels was the unsung hero for Carlo – opinion

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If Carlo Ancelotti had drawn up the perfect start to the new Premier League season, then it surely went according to plan on Sunday afternoon.

The Everton boss watched on as all three of his major new signings in Abdoulaye Doucoure, James Rodriguez and Allan played a huge part in a 1-0 victory away at Tottenham, with the latter even being named as man of the match by Gary Neville on Sky Sports commentary duty.

But whilst the trio looked impressive and seem like great pieces of business by Marcel Brands, one man who was perhaps the unsung hero of the Toffees’ win, was Richarlison.

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On the face of it, the Brazilian spurned a few good opportunities to actually put the game beyond doubt, including missing a gilt-edged chance when the scores were all level at 0-0.

But whilst the former Watford man didn’t seem to have his shooting boots on, he did run the Spurs defence ragged with his movement, aggression and intelligence.

As per Sofascore, his 8.2 match rating was the joint-highest of any player on the pitch, tied with Jordan Pickford. And when you look at the kind of numbers behind his performance, it is easy to see why.

He was a constant threat with the ball at his feet, completing all 11 of his attempted dribbles, and earning six free-kicks. The most impressive stats however were to do with how he competed defensively.

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All in all, he contested 26 duels over the course of the 90 minutes, and he won a staggering 23 of them – to put that into context, the rest of his teammates combined won 38.

As well as coming out on top in the 50/50s, Richarlison also made five tackles, another team-high – Allan was just behind with four to his name.

So even though Toffees fans may remember his poor finishing on the day, their Brazilian live-wire was the heart and soul of them picking up a precious away victory against one of the Premier League’s big six.

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