Well, the optimism was extremely short lived. Last weekend the bubble burst officially before it even inflated. A torrid display against bottom of the league West Ham sent a sobering shiver down our spines.
There was of course an air of inevitability pre-kick off, a team travelling to Goodison with no wins and routed at the bottom of the league, it’s a pitch perfect “F’sake Everton” kind of day. Add to that the fact nearly Everton signing Yarmarlenko netted not once, as is the given usually, but twice. Well, it’s fair to say nobody parodies Everton quite like Everton.
Everton need to bounce back, and where better than… what? Arsenal away? Ah shit. What is left to say about Arsenal away that hasn’t already been said in these last painful 22 years? January 1996 remains the last time Everton won away at Arsenal, that was at Highbury. That ground doesn’t even exist anymore. Not only can Everton not win at the (no longer) new backdrop of the Emriates, they seemingly can’t even simply avoid defeat. Our last five visits have ended in defeat, four of those five have been by 2 or more goals. This combines painfully with the fact our six previous games have seen 2 or more goals. Gulp.
Everton must duct tape their leaking defence if they are to have any chance of a result on Sunday. Marco Silva confirmed Yerry Mina had managed a full week of training this week, the question is whether he is ready to be thrown straight into the side Sunday? Silva may have no choice, both Zouma and especially Holegate were run ragged last Sunday against a team low on confidence who managed to double their goal tally for the whole season in just one game.
Bernard was a candle sized glimmer of light amongst a vast gloomy Everton darkness last weekend and looks a cert to make his full debut. Meanwhile there are several other questions right across the team which continue to split opinions. Where is Sigurdsson best? (or at least visibly on the pitch), Should Tosun be dropped? (needs a goal), Pickford had a poor start to the season post-World Cup? (Silly mistake, but he’s young and still a beast), Schnierderlin and Gueye in the middle? (for god’s sake no!), Richarlison up top? (play anywhere my sweet, sweet Brazilian Prince and save our souls).
I am clinging on to a vain bit of hope that Sunday may strangely propose a perfect platform to get everyone back on side. Whether the jury is still out on Silva, there is no denying his record says he is a man who goes to the big grounds to get big wins. He has already been on the winning side at the Emirates previously with Olympiakos in the Champions League. Even in defeat, his side will go down fighting, and it’s that ambition and spirit Everton have lacked for so long. When was the last time we took on a ‘top six’ side and actually played to win? It’s a fear factor engrained in the club. It reached its lowest last season under Allardyce when we practically lay down and rubbed the lube on ourselves before a ball had even been kicked.
With spirited displays away from home already this season at the likes of Wolves away and the first 75 minutes at Bournemouth, perhaps one thing Silva can build on whilst we righting the remaining wrongs is a growing ambition and belief. If the players can show the sort of belief they have twice already this season under difficult circumstances, then we may just have a shot. Sunday isn’t just about just the points. A win on Sunday could spark a real beginning to a new-era, it has the potential to be that big…
So please Everton, so us your best!
– David (@DAHughes92)