Frank Lampard is starting to honor the promise Rafa Benitez broke at Everton

Although it came only seven days on from Frank Lampard’s first game in charge as Everton boss, Saturday’s clash with Leeds United felt like a crucial fixture early into his tenure as manager.

The lackluster defeat to Newcastle United four days earlier revealed the magnitude of the task on Lampard’s hands, and fears of being sucked into a relegation dogfight had never felt more prevalent.

However, an outstanding victory for the Toffees has eased those fears.

And the manner of the win has raised confidence within the Everton camp that they’ll have enough with Lampard at the helm to veer clear of the division’s bottom three in the coming months.

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From the outset on Saturday, Leeds struggled to handle the intensity at which the Toffees started, a point captured by the fact Lampard’s men had hit five unanswered shots inside the opening 15 minutes, one of which being Seamus Coleman’s crucial opening goal of the game.

This started the tone for the full 90 minutes as Everton pressed and harried their visitors with an unrelenting pace.

Goodison Park came alive in response, having been starved of such intensity for pretty much the entirety of the campaign with Rafael Benitez in charge.

Benitez spoke early into his tenure about how he was going to make Everton an aggressive pressing side who’d work tirelessly to get into the faces of their opponents.

However, the reality played out much differently to that promise.

Lampard set out similar ambitions upon his arrival, yet crucially Saturday’s showing indicates that he’s more capable of actioning those aspirations with this Everton side.

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In Saturday’s 3-0 win, Everton made 76 pressures inside the attacking third.

A ‘pressure’ in this case means an action of pressing an opposing player who is receiving, carrying or releasing the ball.

That total of 76 was more than they made in any single game under Rafael Benitez. It was actually more than any Premier League game under Carlo Ancelotti too.

For Marcelo Bielsa’s side, Everton’s pressure was suffocating and for only the second time this season, they finished the game having failed to register a single shot on target.

Although Everton’s work without the ball made them dominant defensively, it also gave them an excellent platform to excel in attack.

Football statistician Matt Cheetham highlighted following Saturday’s victory that the Toffees recorded 20+ shots and 10+ shots on target in a Premier League game for the first time since 2013.

The 3-0 scoreline was the least they deserved for such a commanding display.

There’s still plenty of work to be done at Everton with their position in the table still a precarious one.

Yet it feels as though there’s been a cloud lifted around the club following Lampard’s arrival.

The early signs suggest that intensity is going to be the identity for the Blues under their new boss, which is both an exciting proposition and one that looks to have all the capacity to make the Toffees once again a competitive Premier League side.


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