I’m not trying to make one of those posts that exist solely to generate pageviews, but I’m seriously wondering if it’s time for Riise to start the next game on the bench.
What is he offering at this point that is so unique that different looks through Briggs or Baird or Kelly can’t provide? Sure, he’s a better player than those three on paper, but consider what Rich wrote about him when he arrived:
He’s aggressive in his attacks, goes inside and outside the full-backs, and has a history of getting into the box. It’s an intriguing combination, and one that should give us our best attacking full-back pairing for a while.
Yet, outside of the first few matches where Jol tinkered with the back four to compensate for Riise bombing down the left, Riise has barely featured in our offense. Overall, his 77.5% passing completion rate is second-lowest among defenders (except Aaron Hughes) and midfielders (except Pajtim Kasami; hmm).
For someone who supposedly is the ball-crosser and attacking back, those numbers make sense. But below are the unsuccessful passes from yesterday (includes
Baird UPDATE: Grygera for reference. Riise is on top).
Riise got much for forward than
Baird Grygera, but completing one out of 10 crosses may is not a great stat to have (though better than Duff’s 1-for-13 a month ago).
Secondly, look at Riise’s successful passes from yesterday and last week at Stoke:
Again, he did get forward a lot yesterday, but notice where the successful passes in Everton’s third are all made from: directly on the sideline. Not once did he cut into the box for that “killer pass”. Perhaps that’s because Jol had about 9 forwards on the field already, but an attacking line-up calls for someone like Riise to show a bit a of magic. Heck, Hangeland tried it.
Um, let’s not even discuss last week. I could post more chalkboards, but going back a bit he was a marauder in our 6-0 win over QPR (as was everyone on our side), and a non-factor in the 0-0 draw with WBA. So, push?
Another facet of Riise’s game is he free-kick-taking-skills. Well, we’ve yet to score a single goal from a free kick yet (us and 16 other teams), and only have one goal from a header. HatterDon’s “View of South Texas” on FoF summed up our current position wonderfully:
Our free kicks have gone from useless to comic opera to cringe-making. Why does the referee bother making the defensive wall retreat 10 yards when we’re only going to have Murphy touch it to either Riise or Baird who will shoot with a defender 5 feet away?
Now this isn’t all on him, but taking into account the other issues it does make one scratch their head, no?
Put Briggs in on Saturday at Wigan. History dictates we’ll probably draw that match anyway.