Ross Barkley v Yohan Cabaye: The key battle in Everton v Crystal Palace
By Matt Cheetham
Last Updated: 07/12/15 8:31pm
The midfield tussle between Ross Barkley and Yohan Cabaye will be a decisive clash when Everton host Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football, with both players enjoying something of a renaissance this season.
Everton's Barkley endured a difficult second year under Roberto Martinez in 2014/15, with injury and inconsistent form limiting him to just 22 Premier League starts.
However, the England international has become a key figure at the heart of the Everton team this term and is having a major influence on his side's attacks.
Ross Barkley Premier League stats
|Shots per 90mins||2.8||2.3|
|Mins per chance created||43mins||60mins|
|Big chances created||6||3|
Ross Barkley Everton career
|All comps||2015/16||Previous seasons combined|
Before this season, despite a number of headline-grabbing goals, Barkley's end product had always been sporadic. Remarkably it took him until his 48th Premier League appearance - and just under 46 hours on the pitch - to register his first career assist. Not what you'd expect from a No 10.
This season, though, Barkley has been one of the Premier League's top creators. He's registered five assists, the same number he'd made in all competitions in his career before this season. He's also created 29 chances - almost twice as many as any Everton team-mate.
Everton - most chances created
|Premier League 15/16||Premier League 14/15|
|Barkley - 29||Baines - 70|
|Deulofeu - 16||Lukaku - 37|
|Lukaku - 15||Coleman - 34|
|Barry - 11||Barkley - 33|
|Kone - 10||Naismith - 25|
Barkley has also added goals to his game, with six Premier League strikes this term, as well as two goals and two assists for England.
He's one of only two players to have scored and assisted five Premier League goals this season, and the five players to register at least four goals and assists will make enjoyable reading for Everton fans:
Goal involvement - Premier League 2015/16
|Jamie Vardy (Leicester)||14||1||15|
|Romelu Lukaku (Everton)||10||4||14|
|Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)||7||6||13|
|Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)||2||11||13|
|Ross Barkley (Everton)||6||5||11|
|Odion Ighalo (Watford)||8||2||10|
|Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)||4||6||10|
4+ goals & 4+assists - Premier League 2015/16
|Romelu Lukaku (Everton)||10||4|
|Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)||7||6|
|Ross Barkley (Everton)||6||5|
|Arouna Kone (Everton)||5||4|
|Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)||4||6|
Cabaye also endured a testing 2014/15. Signed by PSG in January 2014, he struggled for consistent playing time, completing just six full Ligue 1 games in 18 months away from England. For Crystal Palace to find success at Goodison Park, they must find a way of reducing Barkley's supply and limit his space, a responsibility that will fall to the French international.
Back in the Premier League, Cabaye has returned to form under his former Newcastle boss Alan Pardew.
The 29-year-old has appeared in a deeper role than he finished in at Newcastle, playing as one of two defensive midfielders in a 4-2-3-1, but he has quickly proved vital to his side's success.
Tackles & Interceptions - Premier League 2015/16
|N'Golo Kante (Leicester)||54||60||114|
|Yohan Cabaye (Palace)||48||54||102|
|Claudio Yacob (West Brom)||43||45||88|
|Erik Pieters (Stoke)||56||31||87|
|Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)||46||37||83|
Yohan Cabaye stats
|Crystal Palace PL 15/16||Newcastle PL 13/14|
|Tackles & interceptions per 90||7.7||5.5|
|Passes per 90||42||56|
|% of long passes||15||11|
|Mins per chance created||63mins||46mins|
|Average length of pass||21m||19m|
Only one Premier League player has recorded more tackles and interceptions than Cabaye this season, and those turnovers will make him especially dangerous to Everton.
His ability to steal possession has heightened Palace's threat on the break. Once he has the ball, his passing range enables him to spring his side's array of counter-attacking weapons, in Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon and Wilfried Zaha. This was evident in Palace's last game against Newcastle:
James McArthur Goal v Newcastle, Nov 28
As much as Barkley can pose Palace problems, Cabaye's capacity to turn defence into attack presents an issue for Everton. While Martinez will want his side to control Monday's game, he will be wary of his players losing possession with team-mates committed forward.
Palace have been better away from home over the past two seasons and claimed 3-2 wins against Martinez on their past two trips to Goodison Park. For the visitors to maintain this trend, Cabaye must keep himself in and around Barkley, looking to disrupt his opponent and launch his own side on the break.