If you had told an Everton fan that their side would be top of the table at the end of the first international break of the season, they would have laughed derisively at you and walked away. Optimism has been a thing that’s been dwindling at Goodison Park for a while now.
Here they are, though, top of the table, with four wins from four. It’s not just that the Toffees have won their first four league games of the season, or that they’ve managed seven victories out of seven in all competitions. It’s that they’ve scored a dozen league goals, another dozen in the League Cup, outplayed a bigger side and won these games with a smile on their faces.
Excellent Start to the Season Must Continue for Everton Following International Break
On the Up and Optimistic
They say the new season is the time to be optimistic, even though that sense of positivity can fade so easily. However, that has not been the case for Everton over the past few seasons. In 2017/18, things looked to be on the up, as they followed up a seventh-placed finish with the acquisition of some seemingly great signings. Yet, it didn’t take long for all that to fade.
Of the players signed in the summer of 2017, none have been a qualified success, and by the end of October that year, Ronald Koeman was sacked.
That’s been the thing for the Toffees in the recent past, optimism fades early. Four games into last season, things already started to look awry under Marco Silva. Same as the previous few years.
This time, however, it feels different. After going into the season with what was probably an ‘anything goes attitude’, the Toffees are looking up. In their first league games, they outplayed Tottenham in a 1-0 win that probably flattered their hosts. They followed that up by beating West Bromwich Albion by responding to multiple setbacks in a way that they hadn’t quite done in the past.
The Impact of New Signings
In that summer of 2017, Koeman’s signings did manage to seem odd in a way. The likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaassen are good players in their right, but those were three No. 10s. That meant a distinct lack of width in the side, not helped by the failure to sign a quality full-back. Fast forward three years and they have made smarter signings.
Previously, Everton’s midfield was accused of lacking creativity, thanks in no small part to Sigurdsson being rather disappointing. In came James Rodriguez, who worked well with Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid. With the arrival of Rodriguez came the influx of creativity and invention, and three league goals and a couple of assists don’t tell the whole story.
However, Ancelotti’s other additions have helped compliment the Colombian. In Allan, there’s a midfield protector that Everton lacked last year when they failed to replace Idrissa Gueye. Then there’s Abdoulaye Doucoure, who completes a midfield jigsaw and together with Allan, gives James license to roam and drift. Everton have finally made additions to address vital areas, and the deadline day acquisition of defender Ben Godfrey might be another in that category.
Good Form Needs to Continue
For Everton, their next six games include home games against Manchester United and Leeds United, as well as a trip to Southampton. However, the first of those half a dozen fixtures is probably the biggest. After the international break, Ancelotti’s side host Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
For Everton, this is a chance to tick a few boxes. To show they can go toe-to-toe with the big guns and that their start is no flash in the pan.
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