As you’re probably aware, James Rodriguez’s arrival at Everton this summer has made the club very popular in his native Colombia.
The Blues have earned themselves a whole new set of fans in their star man’s home country and, as such, they are not short of support there should they need it.
Among those supporters, it seems, are the Colombian edition of MARCA, who have jumped to Everton’s defence amid the waves of criticism currently being aimed at them.
For those that are unaware, the Toffees are being criticised for their approach from all angles at present, mainly because of the Merseyside derby against Liverpool.
Jordan Pickford’s mistimed challenge on Virgil van Dijk, which left the Dutchman out injured for the season, coupled with Richarlison’s late lunge on Thiago, had many labelling Everton as a dirty team.
This was exacerbated by Liverpool’s players afterwards, with several coming out afterwards to criticise Pickford and Everton’s approach.
That theme continued in the media, with every man and his dog sharing their opinion on the matter, 99% of them following the theme with condemnation of Everton.
Thus, it felt almost inevitable when Lucas Digne saw red against Southampton at the weekend for a foul on Kyle Walker-Peters, with Carlo Ancelotti even suggesting post-match that the decision was influenced by the slew of stories over the last week.
Undeterred by the Italian’s ire, the media have continued to criticise Everton’s approach, but MARCA have decided enough is enough and turned to the numbers to state their case for the defence.
They say that ‘going merely by the statistics’ the ‘reality’ is that several teams have racked up more fouls than Everton this season. Indeed, their tally of 70 is only the seventh highest in the league.
In terms of yellow cards, the Blues are fifth from bottom on that table, with Leicester at the top with an impressive 16.
The ‘only data’ against Everton is their number of red cards, two, but even there they are level with Brighton, and MARCA argue it has to be remembered that they came in the last two games and they were for ‘specific plays’ that had ‘little or nothing to do with the development of the game.’
The newspaper don’t definitively state that the image of Everton being the new ‘bad boys of the Premier League’ is wrong, but the tone is very much there.
Whether it’s enough to change minds is debatable, of course, but we’re sure it’ll make a nice change for Evertonians, who must be getting a little tired of the persistent attempts to label their team as something the data shows they aren’t.