More involved in the box, better than xG – how Calvert-Lewin’s game has changed

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has made an electric start to the 2020-21 Premier League season.

The striker has scored four goals in Everton’s opening two games, following up on the winner at Tottenham with a first career hat-trick against West Brom last weekend.

Eyebrows were raised for a few quarters as Calvert-Lewin joined Manchester United in the close season, but if he continues in the same direction, further links to elite clubs will surely follow.

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti does not think the 23-year-old’s performance is a glimmer of pain and points to former Milan star Filippo Inzaghi – a prolific goal scorer despite clear shortcomings in many other divisions – as an example for Calvert-Lewin to follow.

“I had a fantastic striker in Inzaghi who scored 300 goals and 210 with one touch,” the former Milan coach said last week.

“An attacker needs to be focused in the field, and I think Calvert-Lewin understands really well, because in the field he has speed, he jumps really high, he has power. Where he has improved more, there is, in field. “

Using Opta data, we compare Calvert-Lewin’s Premier League performance this season with his first under Ancelotti.

Fox in the box

Although this season may be only two games old and he failed to score in 45 minutes on the pitch against Fleetwood Town in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, there has been a clear shift in the way Calvert-Lewin plays.

During the 2019-20 Premier League season, he tended to get a bigger share of his touchdowns on the right wing in the attacking half, with only 10 percent of his touchdowns coming in front of goal.

While he has still been involved from the right flank this season, the center of the opposition box has seen the largest share of his hand.

His hand pr. 90 minutes may have dropped to 27 from 34.4, but a larger proportion of them come in the opposition box office than last season (an increase to 19 percent from 14 percent).

It may be a small sample size, but it seems that there is a clear intention for Calvert-Lewin to influence things in the most dangerous area.

Shooting boots

Given that he has become a major presence in the area, it is perhaps not surprising that he has attempted more shots per. 90 minutes this season (4.5) than he did in 2019-20 (2.9). Moreover, all of his attempts during this period have been inside the box compared to 87 percent in the previous campaign.

Calvert-Lewin is also becoming more clinical.

In the Premier League last season, he found the net 13 times and had an expected goal of 15.32, meaning he scored 2.32 goals less than expected. In 2020-21, he has scored four goals despite having an xG of 2.68.

The season may be young, but Calvert-Lewin is showing signs of developing into a serious threat to Everton.