Everton has experienced a remarkable surge in form, contrasting with the challenges they faced in the past two years.
Sean Dyche predicted a successful season for the team, which currently sits 14th in the Premier League, with a healthy gap between themselves and relegation strugglers.
While many would be quick to credit Abdoulaye Doucoure and Jarrad Branthwaite for starting that turnaround, there is another player who performs well but isn’t as well-known.
Vitaliy Mykolenko is finally getting the credit he deserves after adding a scoring touch to his game. On Saturday, the Ukraine international was questioned for going that far forward, but now that he has done so, he is being praised.
Having endured a torrid start to life at Goodison Park, brought in under Rafa Benitez and misused for much of his tenure, at last the former Burnley boss seems to understand his role.
He has never been one to post explosive attacking numbers; instead, he has relied on his stability, which also gives him some leeway to advance when circumstances allow.
Who Scored even declared on Twitter that “Vitalii Mykolenko (7.31) is the highest rated left-back in the Premier League this season” as a result of this improbable comeback story.
Is Vitaliy Mykolenko the best left-back in the Premier League?
Even though many would find that ridiculous, it would be difficult to find someone who is comparable to the 24-year-old.
After all, he demonstrated the entirety of his newly acquired skill set by keeping Mohamed Salah and Jarrod Bowen silent in the weeks before his goals against Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace.
According to Sofascore, the £58k-per-week mainstay is averaging an impressive 0.5 crucial passes per game in the league. He also mixes that with 3.3 clearances, four tackles, and 5.8 ball recoveries.
In fact, only Jack Robinson has recorded more clearances when comparing his figures to other full-backs, with his tackles per game only bettered by Joao Palhinha in the entire division.
Defensively, there are few as prolific as Mykolenko, who is enjoying the form of his career thus far with Everton.
Pundit Sue Smith would wax lyrical about the defneder live on Soccer Saturday (11/11/23, 5.57pm), noting: ‘Mykolenko’s been excellent. Obviously two goals, but the way that he performed against Mo Salah, it was always going to be difficult and he was excellent against him. [And] the way that he performed against Bowen.’
Despite opposition from competitors like Andy Robertson, Pervis Estupinan, and Oleksandr Zinchenko, the only thing left to hope for is that he can sustain it for the duration of the campaign and demonstrate that he might have a chance to win such a title.