Everton secured their first win of the Premier League season last week when they beat West Ham United 1-0 at Goodison Park. Neal Maupay was the man who delivered the decisive blow with his first goal for Everton since joining from Brighton and Hove Albion.
It was an expert finish from the Frenchman — Alex Iwobi fizzed the ball into his feet, his first touch set up the shot and then the effort itself was perfectly struck. Maupay celebrated enthusiastically with his new teammates as he got off the mark and Everton climbed to 13th.
And that’s no small thing. Everton beat relegation last year by the skin of their teeth and the concerns pre-season were that the Merseyside outfit could be sucked into another dogfight – but this time without key man Richarlison, who had joined Tottenham Hotspur in the summer.
But that win over the London side meant that Everton went into the international break in mid-table and unbeaten in six games. When their squad returns from international duty at the start of October they can begin to look forward to trying to cement themselves firmly in the Premier League’s middle class rather than looking over their shoulder. If you believe they could be in line for a top-half finish be sure to consult CSGO betting sites for the best odds.
There are several reasons for that success. One is the character that Frank Lampard has instilled in this Everton team – they may not set the world alight in terms of daring attacking play but they do fight for every second ball and they have become hard to beat. That basic, no-frills dedication will win over a fanbase that values such qualities above everything else.
Another reason is smart summer business. Richarlison departed and will be missed but Everton have strengthened in other areas. Conor Coady and James Tarkowski have forged a fine partnership at centre-back – both men are leaders with experience under their belts who know how to organise a defence. In a recent interview, Iwobi referred to both of them as the dressing room Dads at Everton.
Iwobi is another reason. The Nigerian has been a revelation since Lampard changed his position to central midfielder – his nomination for Premier League Player of the Month for September reflects the fact he’s taken his game to another level in that number eight role, something helped by the presence of Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana beside him. Both men were recruited during the summer and have developed an immediate understanding.
That confluence of factors has helped Everton build a strong foundation but whether they take the next step is largely dependent on the fitness of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The Englishman’s return could be a game-changer if he hits the ground running when he comes back from the injury that’s kept him out so far this season – there are few like him when he’s in full flight. His presence could lend Everton a goal threat and transform the confidence in which they approach games.