After playing Tottenham on the first matchday of the season, Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti was questioned whether James would be able to withstand the pace and physicality of the Premier League. To which, the Italian manager swiftly replied, “I am not worried about the physicality. If I was worried about that, I would sign Usain Bolt, not James.”
As things are currently turning out to be, he couldn’t have said it any better. Ancelotti is well accustomed to James’ qualities from their time together at Real Madrid and briefly at Bayern Munich, and it’s precisely the reason he brought the Colombian to Merseyside.
James took no time adjusting to life in the Premier League as he put in a stellar first-half display against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs right after a few days of his arrival in England. His qualities on the ball were evident from his dazzling passes and sumptuous close control.
And he seems to have picked up right where he left off as he continued to show more of the same on match week two against West Brom. James left a significant impact on the game as Everton completed a 5-2 comeback at the Goodison Park.
Not only did he open his tally with the Blues, but the 29-year-old was also on hand to provide an impressive assist for hat-trick hero Calvert-Lewin.
However, it was his brilliant pass leading up to Everton’s third goal of the evening that has caught everyone’s attention. @UtdArena, a football statistical and tactical analysis account, observed an astounding stat that aptly describes James Rodriguez’s impact on the team.
By using a metric to measure the influence of a single pass leading up to a scoring chance, the account revealed that the base possession value (which is based on positive and negative contributions around key on-the-ball events.) of the pass was around 13.94%.
However, when other important factors such as the nature and the progression of the pass are taken into account, the possession value shoots up to over 28%, which means that James’ single lobbed pass increased Everton’s chances of scoring by almost 30%.
Check out the pass from Rodriguez and the subsequent goal below –