Three interceptions, 87% passing accuracy: Everton signing solid in first top-flight start

Everton Goodison Aerial

Everton summer signing Muhamed Besic was given his first Premier League start in Saturday's Merseyside derby, but how did the £4 million midfielder handle the occasion?

Saturday lunchtime's Merseyside derby saw Everton’s Muhamed Besic make his first Premier League start since a £4 million summer move from Ferencvaros, and the 22-year-old midfielder proceeded to put in an assured performance against rivals Liverpool.

The Toffees rescued a point at the death when captain Phil Jagielka’s long-range strike cancelled out Steven Gerrard’s 65th-minute free-kick, but Besic himself was an important contributor at Anfield until being substituted for Samuel Eto’o with 10 minutes to go.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina international was in the lineup more his for his hard work and defence than to showcase his underrated skill and he did a commendable, if somewhat underwhelming job, of stifling the Liverpool attack through the middle.

  Total TackleWon TackleTotal ClearanceEffective ClearanceDuel WonDuel SuccessInterceptionInterception WonAppsMins
Muhamed Besic 1 1 2 2 3 25.00% 3 3 1 80

Having spent a significant amount of time at centre-back at the club level in the past, it's not surprise that Besic should prove a solid defensive contributor, although the fact he won just three of his 12 duels over the course of the match could be seen as cause for concern.

Nevertheless, having featured in just four minutes of top-flight action prior to the weekend, the former Hamburg prospect is still finding his footing in England, and would be rushing to conclusions to suggest that there might be issues in that area going forward.

The Bosnian was an otherwise useful extra man in the midfield, with his presence allowing James McCarthy more license to get forward, but it was also good to see some of the creativity which was showcased at the World Cup in Brazil on display.

  Key PassesTotal ShotTotal PassPass AccTouchesUnsuccessful TouchPoss Lost AllDispossessedAppsMins
Muhamed Besic 2 1 53 86.79% 69 2 13 2 1 80

Besic was perhaps more wasteful in possession than one would have anticipated, but he did attempt six ambitious and unsuccessful long-range balls which hurt his passing stats somewhat.

More noteworthy, though, were two key passes on 45 and 66 minutes to Aiden McGeady and Romelu Lukaku, respectively, which could very well have ended up as assists on another day, and went some way towards demonstrating his playmaking instincts.

Ultimately, Besic might not be an automatic starter in Roberto Martinez's side over the course of the campaign but, with the club looking to compete on both the domestic scene and in Europe, he will likely see numerous starting opportunities down the road as the fixtures start to pile up.

Furthermore, he will clearly be one of the first options to come into the starting XI for games when the Spaniard feels he needs more cover in front of the back four, with his all-round play ensuring that the team don't lose too much on the attacking side in the process.

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