With Don Carlo having challenged the club ahead of a trip to St. James Park, Everton must respond accordingly. They must very rightly, and convincingly, defeat Newcastle and earn the first victory of the campaign without stellar talent and winger Richarlison. With just hours before kick off, it may be the best time to address the truth as it stands; a victory here simply gets us back on the proper foot, ready for the rest of a season which is both ready to grind on, while also only growing more difficult at the same time.
The Toffees have the talent to overcome Newcastle, just as they theoretically had the same advantage against Southampton last weekend at St Mary’s Park; that loss was simply unacceptable. How can we see out a better result that will hopefully catapult us into the thick of the madness with both ambition and volition in equal portions?
Saints Row: One for Two isn’t Bad
Last week was not our prettiest performance to be sure; to be fair, it was also our worst of this young season thus far. St. Mary’s wasn’t kind to us and Southampton looked, for all of their own inequities, as the more physical and fluid group. While Everton is going to get their shots this season, there will be games, like Southampton, where they are less frequent than then other team. Our defense must step up during those matches, which looked a weakness Everton is still looking and working to overcome at this point in the campaign. Furthermore, we must find goal scoring production out of the depth available to us; Alex Iwobi, Bernard Duarte and Anthony Gordon must be able to contribute something reasonable in the absence of the bigger stars of Goodison Park, either at home on the road.
Against Newcastle United, an offense without Richarlison will have to go at it without Lucas Digne as well. After his own red card against the Saints, the club will have to pick up his slack while building something with continuity in front of Jordan Pickford. Mason Holgate is sorely missed right now, but Niels Nkounkou, Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey, Yerry Mina and Jonjoe Kenny will have to, in whatever combination, have to make due with continual challenges with defensive depth. This will be an easier task should some of Everton’s capital innovations from the summer window show their class against the Magpies.
Should Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure utilize their unique and individual effective abilities, I believe that Everton are able to get back into the winners column with just a minor hiccup at Southampton the only true hardship of this young season; returning to a squad that can create opportunities with vision, ambition and determination will be hard for Newcastle to answer for, although their counterattack should not be under appreciated to be certain. Allan Saint-Maximin is no joke, and when put into the right positions, he and his teammates, names like Miguel Almirón, Joelinton, Andy Carroll and Callum Wilson can make even the best pay. For some analysts this season however, it has not been easy to determine which, if any, of the clubs in the Premiership are in fact, “the best”.
Many Good Teams, and Everton are absolutely one of them
Now, as the season continues on, I’m sure that teams will begin to separate themselves from one another as is wont to occur. And we can prognosticate which teams are likely better than others, and which are likely to be at the top of the table at the end of the season. It is not so much that certain teams are not as good this season, it is that the lot of the clubs are playing more competitive ball in relation to the clubs we might reasonably expect to be top of the table. This is a positive innovation for the Premier League and, if seen across European football, would be as beneficial in that larger theater as well.
For Everton, a return to competitiveness has been long waited for; this time of the year however, is when and where the better clubs prove their mettle. The Toffees only have English football, albeit two, and eventually a third, English competition to compete in; their burden is still obscene once the end of November approaches. After the game against Manchester United, the last before the next international break, Everton will begin a stretch that kicks off with a visit to play Fulham on the 21st of November, and ends with West Ham, featuring a David Moyes-Goodison Park reunion, on the second of January.
Ten matches in that span of time is absurd, and it is being seen across Europe that way as well. Teams that have European responsibilities as well, have even less reprieve if that is somehow possible, and this can have horrific consequences for player, team and nations in turn. While some coaches like Thomas Tuchel have spoken out about it already, there is little that can practically be done for the upcoming proverbial sprint; clubs like Manchester City, Liverpool, and even Arsenal are feeling this schedule already in England. All of these teams however, will have to grit and bear their teeth to get through the burden without losing players to injury or fatigue; Everton will be one of the teams that will have to show they are capable of overcoming this adversity, for should they be able to, they may find themselves with a new perspective and attitude, along with volition, waiting on the other side of this journey. It must begin with Newcastle however, as it did not with Southampton and there will not be much time left to start without this innovation.