Usually the international break is something of an irritant, disrupting your team’s crucial momentum and starving the fans of what most call “proper” football.
But for Everton supporters the chance to get away from it all for two weeks was most welcome. After all, we could all enjoy last weekend knowing the Toffees weren’t going to ruin it.
Ronald Koeman also took some time out and went abroad; safe in the knowledge he has the support of the club’s hierarchy following Farhad Moshiri’s public backing (via Jim White, of course).
On his return I sincerely hope the Dutchman put in some serious thought as to how he is going to turn Everton’s season around.
There needs to be a reaction from the miserable defeat to Burnley last time out and some sort of sign the team is heading in a positive direction.
After a positive opening against the Clarets, Everton collapsed following the opening goal, lacking any sort of dynamism or invention.
The muddled transfer dealings over the summer has left the squad looking ill balanced and Koeman’s attempts to shoehorn everyone into the side just isn’t working.
The Dutchman needs to get back to basics and start playing players in their correct position and in a formation that brings the best of them, even if that means leaving some big names on the bench.
Like their south coast rivals Bournemouth, Brighton are a team riding high after facing near extinction not so long ago.
After avoiding dropping out of the league completely 20 years ago, the Seagulls slowly began to rebuild and climb the divisions.
It hasn’t always been easy, their stadium was sold by the board to pay off debts, meaning the club began the 1997-98 campaign playing home games over 70 miles away in Gillingham.
They then spent 12 years at the Withdean Stadium – an athletics track not at all suited to football – before finally moving to the impressive AMEX Stadium in 2011.
By that stage Brighton had climbed three divisions into the Championship and last season secured promotion to the top flight for the first time in 34 years.
Boosted by the extra funds being in the Premier League brings Brighton splashed the cash on 10 players over the summer including £14m on winger Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge and £11.7m on PSV’s Davy Propper.
Under unassuming manager Chris Hughton the Seagulls have made a solid start to life in the Premier League, taking seven points from their opening seven games to sit two places above Everton on goal difference.
Everton captain Phil Jagielka is available again after missing the last four matches with a hamstring injury.
Jagielka could replace Ashley Williams who has looked desperately out of touch in recent weeks.
James McCarthy is edging his way back to fitness following a knee injury but isn’t quite ready for a return on Sunday.
Brighton are without Tomer Hemed through suspension but Davy Propper and Glenn Murray are available after hip and ankle injuries respectively.
Predicted starting XI:
Pickford, Baines, Jagielka, Keane, Martina, Gueye, Schneiderlin,Vlasic, Sigurdsson, Rooney, Calvert-Lewin
With Lyon and Arsenal to come next week it’s vital Everton get some sort of result on Sunday.
Not only that there needs to be some evidence that the team has learnt the lessons from their poor start to the campaign.
If neither is acquired, then the pressure on Koeman may become too much for the board to resist.