While it took Richarlison a bit to get on the tally sheet for the new campaign, the same cannot be said for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The young striker from Sheffield has already recorded four goals, with his recent showing in the second Premier League match against West Bromwich-Albion netting him his first professional hat-trick. It is but a glimpse of the potential and possibility yet to fully emerge from the young man.
Just days prior to this wonderful performance, I had proclaimed the value of his progress for Everton as a club. With the hat-trick DCL has shown everyone exactly what I was speaking about; and yet, he will need to show up with as much vigor and production against the largest clubs in English football. But for the Toffees to be the force they wish to be known as once again, they will have to accentuate one another as one unit. Dominic is a crucial piece to the puzzle no doubt; but without the other pieces and their fit and development, there is simply no puzzle so to speak, at all.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin and True Consistency: A Work in Progress, that’s making Progress
Having scored in each of the first two Premier League matches of the new campaign, it is clear to anyone watching that the young, budding English star has been working on just that very discipline. Consistency in front of net, as well as his one touch opportunities have been on display in each match he’s played in; without a wonderful save by Alex Cairns, he would likely have gotten a goal against Fleetwood Town in the Carabao Cup Third Round match as well.
Crystal Palace will be the first test after their impressive victory against Manchester United in their last outing. For Everton, they will have to play more disciplined than against West Brom and DCL will have to take whatever opportunities he has with both precision and confidence. Everton are playing really well to begin the season but it will take all the collective momentum on Merseyside to leave Liverpool with a negative mark when they come to Goodison Park; the wonders of a Merseyside Derby victory could be a monstrous spark for a club brimming with confidence right now.
That means that Calvert-Lewin must continue his efficiency and innovation against not only Palace in London, but at home against West Ham United in the Carabao Cup Fourth Round, as well as Brighton & Hove Albion. His success and passion have been fuel for us in the matches he’s played and our trajectory must continue as tougher opponents loom. Should DCL have six to seven goals by the time the Reds come to Royal Blue territory, it is not hard to imagine both he and Richarlison having big games against a potentially still-injured Liverpool side.
No matter what that match brings, Everton can go into it knowing that they are much improved from the side that struggled to compete last season, and that games against Southampton and Newcastle lie right afterwards. These games offer little respite, but must still be gauged as easier when compared to the reigning English Champs.
In any event, it is becoming less and less unreasonable to suggest that Everton may not drop any points by the time they play their Merseyside rivals in mid-October. While names like Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, as well as the transfer innovations of James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure will always be most celebrated by the club faithful, the entire club has, so far, really stepped up and embraced the philosophy, ambition and amicability of their Boss too; the entire team will have to continue to grow and evolve however.
Everton: The Best Trees Grow inside of Forests
The quality in other words, of the club that has been put together by Marcel Brands, Don Carlo Ancelotti, and even Big Duncan Ferguson, is what will allow for the continued acceleration and growth of the individual players, as well as of course, the football team itself. Last year we witnessed prime examples of this as great talents like Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison were consistently left to carry a burden that no two players can be expected to play on any team, in any league.
With the training, business and determination of Everton however, so far this season the team has looked sharp, intelligent, fluid and fun. We have seen players, some who were in poor form last campaign, demonstrating real guile and ability in this young season; goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson, Alex Iwobi, Moise Kean and Michael Keane remain the best, most obvious evidence to this end. When Richarlison finally broke through against Fleetwood Town, after all the hard work he had demonstrated in previous matches, it was just confirmation of the evolution and revolution still happening at both Finch Farm and Goodison Park.
Both the players and the staff must be given praise, but surely not total exuberance quite yet; the season is early and nothing has been won yet. But with the innovation at Everton, as well as the growth of players like Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and so on, there is reason for real optimism on Merseyside for the first time in years. DCL is fully capable of scoring more than twenty goals this season as well and were he and Richarlison to both hit that mark, Everton would surely be in a positive position for European play.
The trees always grow strongest when amongst themselves so to speak, and Carlo Ancelotti has been diligent in his care for these trees, these talents both young and old, since he came to northern England. Now, we are simply seeing the early results of that hard work; the hat trick by DCL was but a glimpse at how dangerous he and the Toffees can truly be as they continue to be grown and pruned into English and European silverware winners.