Everton supporters have been pretty upbeat in the Transfer Tavern in the last week or so after seeing their team pick up a much-needed three points in their previous Premier League encounter courtesy of a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Sam Allardyce’s men went into their clash with the Eagles last weekend off the back of a 5-1 hammering at the hands of Arsenal, a result which saw them slip to just seven points clear of the division’s bottom three. Yet the Toffees put further distance between themselves and danger as goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson, Oumar Niasse, and Tom Davies secured a comfortable victory over Roy Hodgson’s Palace, who responded late on through Luka Milivojevic but ultimately were unable to conjure up a spectacular comeback.
Consequently, there have been many thrilled Evertonians in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are hoping that their previous success can act as a catalyst for a run of form which puts any lingering relegation doubts to bed for good.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident Toffees to discuss, not least recent comments from manager Allardyce that January signing Eliaquim Mangala could miss the rest of the season due to injury.
And while this on the surface may appear to be a big blow to Everton fans, it could actually turn out to be a blessing, as the Manchester City defender has hardly set the world alight since his arrival last month.
The Frenchman made the move to Goodison Park on loan for the remainder of the campaign on deadline day, but endured a testing debut in their 5-1 loss to Arsenal in what was a completely shambolic defensive display from the Toffees rearguard.
And he didn’t improve greatly against Palace either last time out to suggest that he very much remains the defender we have all seen during his time at City, and as such may not be a huge loss to the Toffees between now and the end of the season.
Also, Mangala’s expected absence may see young centre-back Mason Holgate reclaim his place in the starting eleven, having failed to start any of their last three league games, and failing to make the match-day squad in two of them.
This was particularly strange given that the 21-year-old has arguably been Everton’s best centre-back so far this season, with the likes of Phil Jagielka, Michael Keane, and Ashley Williams struggling for any kind of form, not to mention Mangala’s own troubled start.
Yes, Holgate has also been guilty of a few mistakes in the heart of that backline this term, but the England Under-21 international also played a vital part in Allardyce’s early success as Toffees chief, and certainly deserves to be in contention for a starting role every week.
And Mangala’s recent injury may just give the youngster that opportunity again, so not only has the 27-year-old began poorly at Everton, but his absence may see Holgate, arguably the Toffees’ best centre-back this term, earn more regular football between now and the end of the season.
As such, the £13.5 million-rated star’s (as per Transfermarkt) absence may actually turn out to be a blessing for the Merseysiders in the coming weeks and months.
Everton fans… what do you think? Let us know!