Everton are finally showing signs of settling under Marco Silva after arguably the most complete performance of the Portuguese’s reign against Brighton last weekend.
The Toffees looked well balanced all over the pitch, solid at the back and able to move the ball quickly.
The complete opposite was the case last season with the team horribly one-paced, regularly conceding sloppy goals and players shoehorned into positions they weren’t entirely comfortable with.
Silva deserves credit for making so many changes in such a short space of time as well as restoring the feel-good factor around the club, so painfully absent at times last season.
The biggest test for Silva now is getting a result against one of the division’s big boys. The Toffees put in decent performances at Arsenal and Manchester United, but were made to pay for their failure to take chances.
Sunday’s game against Chelsea is likely to be their biggest test so far, with Maurizio Sarri’s side second in the table and yet to lose in the Premier League.
The Toffees also have a miserable record at Stamford Bridge, with no league victory there since November 1994. Their last three visits in all competitions have an aggregate score of 9-1.
But Chelsea have to lose sometime, right? The Toffees, although beaten at Old Trafford and the Emirates, at least turned out a positive display that suggests at result against one of the big six is not too far away.
Chelsea are no strangers to managerial upheaval so it was no surprise when Antonio Conte was dismissed in the summer after his failure to retain the title last season.
In came Maurizio Sarri, who had precious little time to impose his ideas on the side as he arrived with pre-season already under way,
Despite those time constraints the Blues have responded to the former Napoli man’s methods with an unbeaten start to the season.
There has been a few tweaks, Jorginho coming in to a defensive midfield role with N’Golo Kante pushed further forward being one. But the main inspiration has been Eden Hazard. The Belgian has been in sensational form so far this season with eight goals and four assists in 12 appearances across all competitions.
The 27-year-old has been struggling with a back injury in recent weeks but came off the bench against Crystal Palace last weekend and started their Europa League tie at BATE Borisov on Thursday.
There will also be a reunion with Ross Barkley, who finally appears to be settling under Sarri after spending much of his first six months at the club on the bench.
The England midfielder is likely to be jeered by the Everton fans given the manner of his Goodison departure. I still don’t think we know the full details about what happened that ultimately pushed Barkley towards the exit door. But running his contract down and scuppering a summer move in order to leave for £15million less six months later is not a good look.
Let’s hope an ‘Everton That’ moment doesn’t happen on Sunday and we don’t have to witness Barkley celebrating against his old club.
Richarlison is doubtful for Sunday’s game at Stamford Bridge after missing training during the week with an ankle injury suffered in the early stages of last weekend’s win over Brighton.
Kurt Zouma definitely misses out for Everton under the terms of his loan deal from Chelsea. That means Yerry Mina could make his first start for the club, though Mason Holgate and Phil Jagielka are also in contention.
There’s a sharp contrast between Everton’s home and away fixtures in the next few months, with relatively kind home games alongside some of the toughest away trips in the division.
Last week’s victory - and performance - over Brighton means the side head south full of confidence and should have nothing to fear.
Everton need a statement result over one of the established elite to make people sit up and take notice.
They will certainly up against it, but if they can take the same positive mentality shown in recent weeks into the game in Sunday, then they certainly have a chance.