There’s a piece to write about Everton’s wretched away form and how it’ll probably cost this team a shot of a top-six finish this season; but those negative deep delves are what international breaks are for, aren’t they?
Instead, we’ll spin this a different way. After all, we’re only three games in.
Everton welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Goodison Park on Sunday, seeking to extend what has become a ridiculous home record. Regular readers will be aware by now that this team hasn’t conceded at Goodison since February, winning five out of six games at the Old Lady in that time.
Of those victories the most recent was arguably the least convincing, as Everton scrapped their way to a dogged 1-0 against Watford courtesy of Bernard. Given the quality of the visitors, more will be needed to extend this fine sequence in L4.
And Wolves are quality. They showed that with their performances last term, they showed that over two legs over Torino and perhaps most significantly for Evertonians, they showed it at Goodison Park last season.
The 3-1 win over the Toffees in February was a chastening outing for Everton fans. Wolves were everything Marco Silva’s side were not at the time—they bristled with aggression and energy, and expertly intertwined those attritional traits with the class of players like Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves.
They battered Everton that day. In my eyes, they were undoubtedly the most impressive team at Goodison all season.
The Toffees have improved since that grey February day though and despite their surrender at Villa Park on Friday, there will be confidence among the crowd that the lads in royal blue can send us into the international break content.
Wednesday’s game against Lincoln City offered up some needed optimism.
Yes, yes, it’s Lincoln. But with summer signings Alex Iwobi, Moise Kean and Fabian Delph making their full debuts, there was more thrust to Everton’s play. You sense that trio will all be in the XI on Sunday for their full Goodison bows despite the strong recent home record.
It was also a big night for Gylfi Sigurdsson—netting penalties, or anything in fact, hasn’t necessarily come easy for him as of late – and Richarlison, who have both struggled for spark so far this season.
The latter’s display was of particular interest. As the game grew stretched, he became more of a force, excellent in transition and we watched some enjoyment creep back into his play.
There was a moment after he thudded a header home when a Lincoln defender, exasperated and beaten, scythed the Brazilian down. It was a simple concession that this lad was too good. The forward should welcome the weary swipes. They should happen more often.
Richarlison even had the audacity to celebrate his goal by doing his usual celebration. It’s just pathetic, isn’t it? Bench him. Anyway, I reckon he’ll net again on Sunday in was has the potential to be a tense affair between two even sides.
* Odds subject to change