Premier League Midfielder of the Season: Idrissa Gana Gueye

Gueye is Gana win Everton’s POTY –

When Idissa Gana Gueye first agreed a deal at Goodison Park on 2nd August, not all Evertonians were happy.

At that point, Everton had spent next to nothing on transfer fees, the costlier signings of Ashley Williams and Yannick Bolasie coming later. Though Gueye had been perhaps Aston Villa’s best player in their wretched 15/16 campaign, 35 starts for one of the worst top flight teams of all time was hardly a ringing endorsement.

Any underwhelmed fans however, were promptly encouraged by an outstanding opening month for Everton and their new ball-winner. The Toffees took 13 points from their first five games, Gueye providing the power and tenacity missing in the previous two campaigns.

Ronald Koeman’s side’s first match without the 27-year-old resulted in a 5-0 defeat at Chelsea in November. N’Golo Kante, picked alongside Gueye in The Football Lab’s team, ran the show. Even Kante, who has a reputation for being everywhere, has not made as many tackles per game (3.7) as Gueye (4.5), nor has anyone else in the Premier League.

In the interests of balance, Everton coped better without the Senegalese midfielder when he left for the African Cup of Nations in January. That period saw the Toffees take 10 points from four games, which included a 4-0 win over Manchester City.

It has taken Koeman and his coaching staff some time to ensure that the energy and commitment of Gueye transmits throughout the whole team, but they have made promising strides since the turn of the year. Gueye was not an exciting signing, but one that has proved crucial to the club’s progress.