PREVIEW | EVERTON VS NOTTINGHAM FOREST

It’s less than three weeks into the new season and yet for some it’s already starting to feel like Everton’s next fixture against Nottingham Forest is a must-win.

After avoiding relegation by the skin of the teeth last campaign, the Toffees have begun the 2022/23 season with two defeats amid growing concerns over the lack of a top centre forward in the absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Anthony Gordon, who has been making the headlines for different reasons this week, has been deployed as a makeshift striker against both Chelsea and Aston Villa to little effect, although Salomon Rondon did come on in the latter match after being suspended on the opening day.

The hope for most supporters is Frank Lampard will start the Venezuelan when Forest come calling to Goodison Park.

 

Turning performances into results

Despite sitting in the relegation zone without a point to their name after two games, it hasn’t actually been the most disastrous of starts to the season for the Blues.

They put in a spirited display against Thomas Tuchel’s side in the first match of the season, losing only narrowly to the star-studded outfit and while they weren’t at their best in Birmingham, it was by no means the type of catastrophic performance Evertonians became used to last season.

Everton certainly look more solid defensively, helped in no part by the summer additions of Conor Coady and James Tarkowski.

The problem is in the attack, with the only goal to the club’s name so far being an own goal from former Blue Lucas Digne.

This makes the prospect of a newly-promoted side as their next opponent all the more appetising.

 

One to watch – Anthony Gordon

The 21-year-old has been the subject of plenty of transfer speculation this week with Chelsea reportedly prepared to pay upwards of £40m for him.

But Gordon remains an Everton player for now and will likely be restored to his favoured position of left winger against Steve Cooper’s side.

Everton supporters will hope to see a more dangerous Anthony Gordon as a result, as he looks to rekindle the sort of performances that helped his side avoid the drop last campaign.

One to watch – Emmanuel Dennis 

Earlier this week, Forest completed the signing of a player who has been consistently linked to the Toffees throughout the summer in Morgan Gibbs-White for a staggering £35m plus add-ons.

However, it’s unlikely the former Wolves midfielder will be starting at Goodison due to lack of match sharpness and so the one to watch will instead be another man who was supposedly a part of Kevin Thelwell’s transfer plans this window.

Emmanuel Dennis joined from Watford last weekend for an estimated £15m and, despite Forest’s overflowing array of attacking talent, will be a strong candidate to start against the Blues.

All Evertonians know how this one goes…

 

Final thoughts

While some supporters are already beginning to hit the ‘panic’ button, the fact remains there are still nearly two weeks of the window left and Everton have always traditionally their best business late.

Even without the needed additions, the Toffees should still have enough to beat Nottingham Forest who lost at Newcastle on the opening day and were fortunate to beat West Ham last Sunday as they were almost dragged to victory by a tumultuous City Ground.

If they return to the more familiar set-up with a conventional centre forward in Rondon and thus a vocal point for the likes of Jordan Pickford and Tarkowski to pick out with long balls, Everton should be ok.

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