Everton have endured mixed fortunes in Marco Silva’s first five Premier League games in charge. However, one stark stat stands is the fact the Toffees have won just one of their first league games.
In truth, the Toffees were handed a relatively kind start to the season. However, things have gone wrong since the second half at Bournemouth in their third top-flight game of the season.
The Toffees threw away a two-goal lead, centre-back Michael Keane picked up a head injury, and maybe most crucially their early season star Richarlison was dismissed for moving his head towards Adam Smith.
It was a petulant act from a very talented young player. No doubt he will have learnt a lot from the incident. The youngster has now served his three-game ban and is available for Sunday’s trip to Arsenal.
A welcome return this weekend
Richarlison has impressed from day one at Everton, sending off aside he has looked like a player with the potential to become world-class. His return to the Toffees squad this weekend is a welcome one.
Although the Toffees created numerous chances against West Ham last time out in a 3-1 defeat, it was their prior home game against shot-shy Huddersfield that the Merseysiders really missed the guile of the Brazilian.
On home soil, Silva’s side struggled to break down one of league relegation favourites. This is a team that Everton did the double over last season under the much-maligned Sam Allardyce.
While I would say the majority of Evertonian’s were unsure about the cost of Richarlison at the start of the campaign, they certainly now see his importance to the boys in blue in an attacking sense.
A possible change of role
Richarlison is a highly versatile player and his performances in front of goal this season, including scoring a brace on his Brazilian debut could see him play a more central role against Arsenal this weekend.
Everton have struggled in front of goal in his absence. In fact, Turkish international striker Cenk Tosun is the main worry for the Toffees. The former Besiktas star missed three golden opportunities against West Ham.
Tosun has been wasteful all season, though, failing to score from his 11 shots on goal. In comparison, Richarlison has scored three times with just five shots. The Turkish star really does not come out well when compared to the Brazilian.
Richarlison has played on the left wing for the Toffees so far. However, he has played in a more central role earlier in his career.A switch to a central role would maybe allow the Toffees to also bring diminutive Brazilian Bernard into the starting line-up on the left flank after he impressed as a substitute against West Ham. Richarlison’s pace and directness would certainly be ideal attributes for him to play as a central striker.
A tough trip to Arsenal
Everton have been woeful on their travels in recent seasons in the Premier League. The Toffees have won just four of their last 27 away games in all competitions, which is a terrible record for any team.
The Merseysiders have also struggled to pick up points from away games at Arsenal. The Toffees are odds of 11/2 to record a victory at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The Gunners are strong at home, so the Toffees face an uphill struggle to pick anything up in north London. However, at least Richarlison’s return should give Silva’s side a chance to make a dent in that vulnerable Arsenal backline.
Will Richarlison play as a central striker for Everton against Arsenal?
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