The pressure was mounting on Marco Silva when his side came away from the Emirates Stadium with nothing to show for their efforts towards the end of September, but a hat-trick of victories in the Premier League have catapulted the club into 8th place, 1 point ahead of Manchester United.
Indeed, dynamics in football are rapidly shifting and Silva’s opening to life as Everton manager is a prime example of how quickly common perception can change: just a few weeks ago unwanted parallels were being drawn between Silva’s and Steve Keane’s record in Premier League management, and now his side are beginning to grind out victories.
The visit of Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon provided Everton with a stern test which they struggled to get to grips with, and in truth they were slightly fortuitous to clinch all three points.
But Everton showed the mark of a top side as they capitalised on Palace’s lack of ruthlessness and made them pay for missing a golden opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot.
The Eagles remained defensively solid throughout and they frustrated a richly talented four-pronged attack in Gylfi Surgsson, Richarlison, Bernard and Theo Walcott with relative ease.
It took three substitutions from Silva to finally prise Palace apart as he sent on Cenk Tosun, Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the 2nd half, and it was the trio of substitutes who made all the difference.
Indeed, all three subs had a part to play in the late salvo from the Toffees, and their contribution was duly noted by Sky Sports pundit Lewis Jones.
‘The introduction of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Cenk Tosun and Ademola Lookman turned the game as they all had a part to play in the two late goals that handed Everton the points.’
The match-winning cameos provided by the aforementioned trio game Everton a short-term boost with another three points on the board, but the long-term implications of their performances could be the most encouraging indicator for what Everton supporters can expect this season.
What Lookman, Tosun and Calvert-Lewin proved is that Silva has an abundance of strength in depth, and the intensity of competition for first-team places is bound to stimulate improvement throughout the squad.
When Walcott fails to impress, the incredibly talented Lookman will be on hand to win Silva’s trust; if Richarlison struggles to emulate his early season form out wide in a more central role, Silva has two natural goalscorers at his disposal to deploy down the middle.
Silva has a quality selection of players at his disposal, and the freedom he possesses to regularly tinker with his squad could prove invaluable as the season begins to move towards the season-defining Christmas period.
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