Hat tricks are always remarkable; scoring three times in a professional football game is, even after more than a century, absolutely stunning. For Dominic Calvert-Lewin to do so against West Bromwich Albion this early in the season was a telling sign of things to come for Everton and their campaign. For him to do so again, less than two weeks later, is incredible and worth noticing.
With the innovations around him, the play of the young Englishman might be spoken about after others. The talent of Richarlison, the genius of a healthy James Rodriguez or the control of Allan in the middle of the pitch are, after all, super important, but DCL is demonstrating on increasingly frequent occasions that it should not be. His passion is pushing Everton to performances and feelings that they’ve not enjoyed for years, even decades; and while it isn’t likely to continue at as breakneck a pace throughout the campaign, these performances are far from flukes.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin: ‘In Form’ an understatement, ‘On Fire’ more to the point
Across all competitions, the striker from Sheffield has nine goals through just six games. Goals have been coming from all across the club, from Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Moise Kean, to newcomer James Rodriguez as well as defender Michael Keane but the pressure a wonderful finisher takes off a club is worth noting; Romelu Lukaku is recent evidence of this from Everton’s rich history, but he is certainly not alone of course.
But this is a different level of finishing than the Toffees have grown accustomed to enjoying consistently in recent memory. When DCL speaks in a postgame interview about how Don Carlo works on his one touch and finishing abilities, it is not lost on anyone watching each game of the campaign. He is playing with a level of confidence that is pushing his ability higher at a pace as remarkable as that with which he has scored with and this is of course, reciprocally beneficial.
When players play so well, they emanate confidence and it is simply contagious for the entire club. The goal scoring prowess of DCL relaxes and breeds confidence in his teammates both new and old, helping them to find their own games more fluidly and with greater ease. It removed any pressure that Richarlison may have felt from going the first three matches of the season without a goal; since the Fleetwood Town match, his two assists have had four goals added to them.
For those new names like James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure, as well as Fabian Delph, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Bernard Duarte, the ambition and finishing touch of the young striker has grown the tenacity and creative ambition for all. They now feel confident in taking the creative opportunities because of the ability and confidence on the receiving end of these passes.
This offense also is beneficial for the defensive backline and Jordan Pickford as well; with the increased possession and scoring that the season has seen so far, they’ve taken less pressure despite not having Mason Holgate to partner with Yerry Mina. Having signed Ben Godfrey, Carlo Ancelotti has attempted to shore up the defense to properly accompany the surging offensive talent. This innovation will be of even greater importance during the games where it grows more difficult to score, as defenses become better and competition stiffer. Building early confidence for your defense can carry across an entire campaign, even when offense is harder to find; it soon will be.
Tougher tests await Don Carlo’s tenacious bunch of Toffees
The victory against Brighton was well won, hard fought, but certainly a match that leaves questions unanswered as well; will DCL ever stop scoring? is Jordan Pickford for the future? And will the club remain healthy enough to compete at the top of the table all season? We will see as the season goes on because from here, the schedule begins to intensify with the best club in football; a Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park with the defending champs beckons. This will obviously be the most sizable test the Toffees will have faced to date this season. How the defense responds to the Reds impressive attack, and how our own offense, led by the young Dominic Calvert-Lewin, does as well, will dictate whether the Derby can begin to be contested more evenly than it has been in recent history.
From there, Southampton and Newcastle will offer back-to-back away challenges for Everton. While one wouldn’t perceive these as obviously dangerous, there is of course the possibility of upsets or poor performances. These matches will test our consistency and will in different ways than Liverpool did, yet are as crucial to win as any other.
November welcomes Everton back to Goodison Park for a date with Manchester United, a preview of the next round of the Carabao Cup in December, and a presumably difficult match. In these next five matches, high quality performances must be as common, and still more efficient, than the first six games have been. This will require a full team effort, from the back to the front of the shape, players young and old, new and beloved; it will also require the continued persistence, ambition and poise of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose scoring has set the team and its fans ablaze with passion and dreams for the future. The drive towards that begins anew after each training session, and each match that we give our all towards.