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What Does the Rest of September Have in Store for Everton?

Three challenges await the injury-hit Blues

Everton FC v Southampton FC - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The international break is over with only two more injuries to add to the list: Seamus Coleman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

It’s fair to say the break couldn’t have come at a better time, but Everton’s injury crisis hasn’t eased off over the past week.

It means that for Sunday’s clash with West Ham, Everton are likely to be without 12 senior players: Coleman, Calvert-Lewin, Michael Keane, James McCarthy, Andre Gomes, Yerry Mina, Phil Jagielka, Idrissa Gana Gueye (doubtful), Beni Baningime (doubtful), Theo Walcott (doubtful), Bernard (doubtful) and, of course, Richarlison (suspended).

Fortunately, despite the summer trimming, Everton still have a decent-sized squad and should be able to include at least 15 senior players (including Tyias Browning) on the teamsheet for West Ham, potentially drafting a couple of players from the under-23s to fill up the bench.

There’s no doubt about it, opportunity beckons for Jonjoe Kenny and Ademola Lookman.

But how is September shaping up for Everton generally?

West Ham United (Home)

Just over two weeks on from the disappointing draw at home to Huddersfield, the league’s bottom side, West Ham, head to Goodison, with the Hammers pointless so far this season.

Much like Everton a little over a year ago, many people were raving about West Ham’s transfer business over the summer, bringing in Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson, Issa Diop and long-time Everton target Andriy Yarmalenko, as part of 10 incomings.

But just like Everton 12 months ago, the Hammers haven’t had an easy start to the season, facing both Liverpool and Arsenal away already. Although that shouldn’t cover the fact they’ve lost to Bournemouth and West Ham at home, too.

On paper, it seems like a should-win for the Blues. But with a hefty absentee list and a West Ham side that must be seething with their start to the season, this could be an awkward one.

Prediction: Tough call. Optimist hopes for a narrow win, but this could definitely be a Yarmalenko-shaped banana skin.

Arsenal (Away)

As we already mentioned, Everton’s fixture list at the start of 2017/18 was packed full of big hitters. But this time around, we’re only approaching the first “tough” game of the season on matchday six: a trip to the Emirates.

The good news for the Blues is that Arsenal have a dreaded Thursday night Europa League tie before the visit of Everton, although Unia Emery will probably rotate his full-team for the visit of Ukrainian mid-table side Vorskla.

It’s been a mixed start to life under Emery for the Gunners, but there’s no doubt Everton will have to drastically improve on their early performances if they want to take anything away from North London – although the return of Richarlison for this one will be a mammoth boost.

Prediction: Everton have never won at the Emirates and without a big improvement, that run doesn’t look set to end here. First loss of the season for the Blues.

Fulham (Home)

Ending the month is another home game, this time with Fulham visiting.

Expect another Huddersfield Town-like bus parking on the Goodison turf with the Blues hopefully learning from their last depot experience – especially with a certain Brazilian playing through the lines.

Prediction: Surely an Everton win. Right?

What If?

So how will the mood around Goodison be after…

…3 Wins

Kopites are befuddled by their normally solemn neighbours whistling on the way to the chippy.

…2 Wins

Positivity remains around Goodison, “just wait ‘til we’ve got a full squad”.

…1 Win

Blues shuffle uncomfortably in their seats and grumble under their breath. The Goodison Special.

…0 Wins

Goodwill for Marco Silva and his “***kin’ marking zonal system” turns sour. The pressure cooker is unleashed upon the Portuguese manager.