Is Anna Anvegård the Key to Everton’s Goal-Scoring Success?

Mia Eriksson profiles Anna Anvegård and argues that she could provide the goals for Everton to reach the top three in the Women’s Super League. 

This season, Everton Women have set their sights on breaking into the top three in the Barclay’s Women’s Super League (WSL), a feat that would give them the chance to play in the Champions League.

The summer has been an extremely productive one for Willie Kirk and the Toffees. Twelve players were let go from the Merseyside club and nine players have shown up in their place.

Few would argue that this isn’t the best squad Everton women have ever had at their disposal. The Toffees have signed Kenza Dali and Courtney Brosnan from West Ham United, Toni Duggan from Atletico Madrid, Nathalie Björn and Hanna Bennison from FC Rosengård, Leonie Maier from Arsenal, Aurora Galli from Juventus FC and Cecilia Ran Runarsdottir from KIF Örebro.

But there is one final signing who could be fundamental to everything Everton are looking to achieve this season: Anna Anvegård, who was brought across from the Swedish top-flight Damallsvenskan where she played for multiple league winners, FC Rosengård.  

In this article, we are going to take a look at Anna Anvegård in closer detail to explain what she could bring and mean to Everton in their journey towards the top three in the WSL. 

Who is Anna Anvegård?

There are few players as suited to the number 9 role than Anna Anvegård.

For most fans of the women’s game, Anvegård appeared out of nowhere back in 2018, when she finished second-highest goalscorer during her first season in the Damallsvenskan with Växjö DFF. The season before, Anvegård had scored 30 goals for Växjö and played a big part in the club making it up to the Damallsvenskan from the Elitettan, the second division of women’s football in Sweden. In 2019 and 2020, she was the Damallsvenskan’s top scorer.

Anvegård was brought through the youth system at Växjö by the club’s former sports director, Frida Andersson, who is currently the club director in Linköping FC. Andersson talked to me about the experience of discovering Anvegård, saying:

“We saw that Anna was something special already back in 2014 when she came as a trialist to train with us.

“She had qualities that stood out; above all her technical skills and her movement along with her perception of the game. She showed from the beginning that she was willing to do all the hard work to develop into the world class player that she is today.

“It will be super exciting to follow her journey and see how good she can be at Everton in the future. Anna has a fantastic ability to adapt quickly to a team and the level that is demanded from her.”

Anvegård has proven herself to be a constant threat in front of goal with an excellent first touch and a great and natural sense of where she should position herself. This is her heatmap from the 2020 season in the Damallsvenskan:

As you can see, Anvegård finds herself in good positions not only in the box but also dropping outside the box to help out with the build-up phase.

This involvement in the build-up also means Anvegård can turn creator, as this perfectly-timed assist for her Everton teammate Hanna Bennison shows in a game where they both played for FC Rosengård earlier this year: 

The Numbers

Looking at her data in the pre-set Striker profiles in TransferLab, Anvegård ranks best in the All Round and Goalscorer profiles, something you might expect from a player of her skillset:

Striker – Target Striker: 79
Striker – Goalscorer: 93
Striker – All Round: 93

The most standout aspect of Anvegård’s numbers is the sheer volume of her goal-scoring metrics. Looking at her numbers in the Goalscorer profile, Anvegård ranks in the 94th percentile for Goals per 90 (non-penalty) in the Damallsvenskan in the time period of the last 24 months with her Expected Goals (shots-open play) numbers in the 98th percentile:

On top of this, the quantity of her touches in the box makes her one of the Swedish national team’s most spectacular goalscorers. Here’s touches in the box per 90 from the Damallsvenskan last season:

As you can see, Anvegård put up the second-highest per 90 numbers for touches in the box across the league, a performance that put her ahead of Stina Blackstenius.

If we look at Goals per 90 vs Touches in box per 90 in the last 24 months on a scatter plot from TransferLab, you can see that Anvegård comes out well, as you might expect given the rough correlation that seems to hold between touches in the box and goals scored:

However, interestingly, when you compare the quantitative numbers against the qualitative numbers that our unique TransferLab model provides, you can see that the quality of Anvegård’s touches is much lower than Blackstenius’s. This suggests that there is still some work for Anvegård to do on her in-box production:

This notwithstanding, Anvegård has an excellent way of getting the ball under control and getting shots away quickly. When Sweden played against Iceland in the European Championship 2022 qualifier, she scored a goal that showcased this efficiency in the box: 

Everton’s Need for Goals

In the WSL last season, Everton scored 39 goals in total across 22 games, fifteen goals fewer than Manchester United who finished a place abover them in the table.

Valerie Gauvin, who took up the role as the team’s main striker, had her season cut short when she got injured early on. The French international made 15 out of 22 appearances in the league and scored 5 goals across the season. The team’s top scorers—midfielder Izzy Christiansen and striker Simone Magill—scored 6 goals each. 

This is clearly a problem for the Merseyside club and Willie Kirk will hope the signing of Anvegård could be a solution to Everton’s performance in front of goal. 

If we compare Anvegård with Gauvin and Magill using TransferLab, you can see the Swede rates higher across several metrics from last season, not least in terms of Expected Goals:

With Anvegård as their number 9, Everton will get a striker that not only can score goals, but can also help in build-up. If she can translate her Damallsvenskan goals into the WSL, Everton will hope to put up the sort of output they need to qualify for the Champions League. 

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