Everton supporters have been pretty downbeat in recent times after seeing their side suffer their second Premier League defeat of the season last time out.
Marco Silva’s men went into their clash with in-form Arsenal on Sunday having lost to West Ham in their previous league encounter, thus suffering their first defeat under the stewardship of Silva following his appointment during the summer. And the Toffees were unable to bounce back at the Emirates Stadium last weekend as goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed a 2-0 success for Unai Emery’s Gunners, thus instigating Everton’s fall to 12th place in the Premier League table.
Consequently, there have been many disappointed Evertonians up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who has lauded the impact of summer signing Richarlison, to the point that he believes that Everton’s fine start ‘was down to him’.
And while the Brazil international returned to the starting line-up against Arsenal last weekend, and wasn’t able to inspire them to victory, it’s difficult to argue with Merson’s viewpoint, what with the Toffees certainly lacking something while the winger was out through suspension.
Ultimately, eyebrows were raised when Everton spent £50 million on the 21-year-old during the summer, although he went about putting those doubts to one side by starting the season magnificently.
The Brazilian star scored a fine goal to help Silva’s side to a 2-2 draw against Wolves on the opening day of the season, before bagging both in their 2-1 success over Southampton the week after – his impact was clear for all to see.
But his red card in their 2-2 draw at Bournemouth on August 25 saw him miss their next three games in all competitions, and while one came against Rotherham United in the Carabao Cup, it was clear that they missed his influence in home league games against Huddersfield Town and West Ham.
Ultimately, the Toffees would have been hoping to beat David Wagner’s Terriers at the start of the month, but simply didn’t do enough over the course of the 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw, before producing a very lacklustre display to lose 3-1 at home to West Ham two weeks later – again, they didn’t do enough when they got into attacking positions.
And much of that lack of influence can be pinpointed, as Merson rightly says, on Richarlison’s absence – even though they lost against Arsenal last weekend, it was the 21-year-old who looked the most likely to score or contribute for the visitors, forcing Petr Cech into a decent save before firing just wide not long after.
Thus, it’s clear, even just a few games into his Everton career, that Richarlison has already become a hugely significant figure at Goodison Park, and one the Toffees may need to produce the goods over the course of the campaign if they are to move to the next level under Silva.
His influence was not only highlighted in those games he has played in, but also in those he was suspended for – thus, Merson has perfectly summed up Everton’s recent struggles by underlining just how important Richarlison is to Silva’s side.
Everton fans… what do you think? Let us know!