Everton picked up a 2-1 win over Southampton on Saturday, ensuring the unbeaten start to the campaign enters a third week.
The Blues’ last Goodison fixture also came against Southampton in May, with Tom Davies nicking a 96th minute deflected equaliser which almost relegated the 10-men Saints from the Premier League.
So, with the Blues also hosting the Saints for Goodison’s first league match of the season, we can look to see how things have really changed over the past three months.
7 of the Same 11
New Boys Still Missing
Everton’s line-up didn’t differ greatly from May’s fixture, with seven of the players that started in the end-of-season dead-rubber also appearing on the team sheet over the weekend, while Saints fielded eight of the same players.
The changes saw Mason Holgate come in for Jagielka, Theo Walcott in for Bolasie, Richarlison on the left for Nikola Vlasic, with Gylfi Sigurdsson taking Tom Davies’ starting place – although the youngster was a first half replacement for Morgan Schneiderlin who picked up an injury.
Interestingly, the only signing of the Silva era to make the line-up was the again outstanding Richarlison, who struck with a first half header to take his tally to three goals in two games – leaving him joint top of the scoring charts alongside Sergio Aguero.
Kurt Zouma made the bench for the first time, but Lucas Digne was a surprise exclusion from the squad. Deadline day signings Bernard and Yerry Mina are still not fit enough to make a matchday squad appearance.
With the Blues in decent form thus far, though, Silva has no need to shoehorn in the new boys right away.
Silva breaks Allardyce record at first attempt
Just like last week at Wolves, Everton weren’t shy in front of goal.
Everton recorded 13 shots at goal on Saturday, seven of which were on target – something Sam Allardyce didn’t once manage at Goodison Park last season.
There’s no doubt that the Blues are playing much more on the front foot under Marco Silva – and the Goodison faithful are enjoying it.
And with shots come…
First Half Goals AGAIN
Two more for the collection
And Everton AGAIN scored first half goals as they took the game to Southampton early on.
Sam Allardyce saw just six first half goals for the Blues in his 24-game reign, but under Marco Silva, Everton have already scored three in their opening two games.
Tom Davies Keeping the Ball
Youngster completed 87.9% of his passes
Despite starting on the bench, Tom Davies played nearly 70 minutes after replacing the injured Morgan Schneiderlin. And one of the most notable aspects of his performance was his ball retention.
Davies is one of the brightest young lights in Everton’s squad, but undoubtedly the biggest area he needs to work on is cutting out loose and sloppy passes.
He excelled in this department against Saints, completing 87.9% of his passes – a ratio only bettered on the pitch by Schneiderlin and Saints’ sub Gabbiadini, who each played less than 25 minutes of football.
This is significantly higher than the 74.4% of his passes he completed against Saints last time out, as well as his 78% average last term.
Icelandic playmaker thriving in central role
Now finally being allowed to play in his favoured central attacking midfield role, Sigurdsson was a star performer for the Blues, completing six key passes (the most on the pitch), as well as equalling the most amount of crosses and interceptions.
Sigurdsson shined for the Blues and was instrumental across the park, with excellent distribution and work rate combined with fantastic play in tight spaces.