The arrival of the former Chelsea and Derby boss has provided a much-needed dose of optimism after the division and rancour of the Rafa Benitez era.
Lampard was very impressive in his news conference on Thursday and appears genuinely excited and enthused to take the job on. He looks to have complied a talented backroom team while the signings of Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli have only added to the sense of optimism.
Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in....
What struck me most about Lampard’s comments was that they were laced with a dose of realism. Lampard knows the short-term aim of the club is to get out of a relegation battle before we can look much further. The FA Cup therefore provides a dose of light relief before two huge games against Newcastle and Leeds in the coming weeks.
Lampard is sure to be afforded a warm Goodison welcome – I’m not sure the fans have looked forward to a game with such enthusiasm for a long time. Given their struggles this season the prospect of winning the FA Cup looks distant at present. But win here and get a kind draw next would suddenly open things up.
Everton’s last FA Cup triumph in 1995 was famously combined with a successful battle against the drop.
Why not a repeat 27 years on?
Brentford secured one of the most high-profile signings of the window when they snapped up Christian Eriksen on a deal until the end of the season.
The midfielder has not played since suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch playing for Denmark at Euro 2020. He has since been fitted with a type of defibrillator, though Serie A rules do not allow players to compete with one, meaning he had to leave Inter Milan.
That he chose to continue his career with Brentford shows how far the club has come in a short space of time.
The Bees are enjoying their first top-flight campaign in more than 70 years and bar a dramatic collapse stay clear of any trouble at the foot of the table.
However, they do go into this game having lost four matches in a row and have lost seven out of their last nine in all competitions. The reality of Premier League life looks to be hitting hime.
Is this therefore a good time to play them? Well, like all teams the winter break has given Brentford the chance to reset, and the arrival of Eriksen has boosted morale. So maybe, maybe not.
Everton at the very least need to put in a better showing than they did against Brentford in the league in November, which ended in a miserable 1-0 defeat.
Lampard has confirmed striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin will miss out after picking up a minor knee injury, though it is hoped he will be fit for Tuesday’s trip to Newcastle.
Fabian Delph, Tom Davies and Abdoulaye Doucoure are all sidelined for the next month at least, while new signings Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli are cup-tied.
Brentford 1-0 Everton, November 28 2021
The Toffees put in a rancid performance against a Brentford side who did not even have to play well to come away with the win. Ivan Toney’s first-half penalty was the difference, with the final whistle sparking near mutiny in the away end.
Little did we know then that things were going to get a lot worse
What they said
Everton boss Frank Lampard: “Brentford are a very good team. It is a very well-constructed team and they’ve got a lot of talent.
“They have great organisation and a philosophy that goes throughout the club, which the manager harnesses brilliantly.
“It will be a very tough match and we have to be at our absolute best. We will prepare, organise and give the players all the information they need.
“When you have the team we have…of course, we must understand Brentford are a very good side, but we have to focus on ourselves.”
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank: “I hope it’ll go well for Frank and Ashley Cole of course, and all the backroom staff and Everton; of course not on Saturday! Besides that, I think that they will do well. I think Frank did a good job at both Derby and Chelsea; I’m pretty sure that he will play a little bit more aggressive and forward-thinking both with and without the ball - that is what he did at Derby and Chelsea.
“It would be fantastic to go very far [in the FA Cup], we will definitely put a very strong team out there on Saturday for various reasons; one is that we want to perform in the FA Cup and Premier League and two is that we haven’t had a match for two weeks so there’s no reason why we can’t put a good team out there, so I’m looking forward to the game.”
It’s nice to be actually but able to look forward to a game for once after so many months of misery under Benitez. Amid all the excitement we must remember that the same under-performing players are still there and a few training sessions under Lampard will not change much.
But the feeling of a fresh start should at least give them some confidence, while the Goodison crowd will hopefully be free of the anger and bitterness that has poisoned it for much of this season.