Everton managed an important 2-1 win at home to Arsenal on Tuesday night, and there were much-improved performances from a host of Everton players.
With 1 win in the last 8 games before this fixture, it looked like it was going to be another grim evening for Everton when Alexis Sanchez saw his free-kick deflected to give the Gunners an early lead in the game.
But Everton responded extremely well and one players performance that particularly caught the eye was that of the much maligned Ross Barkley. Barkley has come under a lot of criticism this season, with Ronald Koeman himself even publicly shaming the midfielder for his lack of effort.
But he was trusted from the start for this fixture and he did not disappoint. Up against the defensive figures of Granit Xhaka and Francis Coquelin, Barkley produced a dominating performance on the night to respond to his managers criticism.
He was influential throughout, helping his side create sustained pressure in the Arsenal half and picking up Lukaku knock-downs regularly. He also bagged the assist for the Ashley Williams winner.
Barkley made 73 touches in the 90 minutes, which is a lot for any player against Arsenal. This stat shows how he was involved more than usual – he was made 3 key passes, highlighting his ability to be creative.
More impressive statistics from his performance include 3 dribbles completed, 5/9 long balls and 77.1% pass accuracy. Defensively he made 2 tackles and 1 clearance to highlight how he can be effective at both ends of the pitch. If he can perform like this against Arsenal, a team with great midfielders, then there is certainly hope that he can continue to improve and realise his huge potential at Everton.
Here’s how people reacted on Twitter to the Englishman’s performance.
Barkley, Gueye and McCarthy flat 3 was brilliant, need to see that again with Valencia cutting in from the wing to help Lukaku.
— Matthew (@EFCMatthew) December 13, 2016
That performance is all we've wanted!! Barkley was quality, good to see Calvert Lewin get a run out!!
— Graeme Gedling (@BigGray87) December 13, 2016
Ross Barkley deeper is a different player, he was class today, as was McCarthy
— Christopher Hannon (@chrishannon1878) December 13, 2016
Barkley has been incredible in the second half. And thus commences the inevitable end of Arsenal's title race.
— Rez (@Asensiazo) December 13, 2016
Barkley remembered how to play footy tonight was class
— Mikey (@MJC_EFC) December 13, 2016
Barkley was brilliant.
Selfish but brilliant
— Frank Sobotka (@vickymonn) December 13, 2016
In my opinion, aged 23 now is the time for Barkley to really stand up and prove himself. He needs to become more than just potential and to do that he needs to be producing these kind of performances on a consistent basis, proving both his fitness and his quality.