Everton supporters were left drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern on Thursday after seeing the Toffees lose 2-1 at home to Lyon in the Europa League, all but ending their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages.
Ronald Koeman’s men went into their clash with the Ligue 1 outfit having picked up just one point from their opening two matches, and ideally needed a win at Goodison Park on Thursday to keep their faint European dreams alive. However, it all went wrong very quickly as Mason Holgate fouled Marcal in the box after just six minutes, allowing Nabil Fekir to slot home the resulting spot-kick, and although Ashley Williams equalised after 69 minutes, the visitors won it six minutes later when Bertrand Traore beat Jordan Pickford at his near post.
That defeat leaves Everton reeling and Koeman under increasing pressure to turn things around at the club, and he’ll have another chance to do just that when they entertain Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal on Sunday.
The Gunners were also in Europa League action on Thursday but they got a 1-0 win in Belgrade against Red Star, meaning they have won all three of their group stage games and seem en route to the last 32.
Yet attentions will turn back to Premier League matters this weekend, and for Everton and Koeman, they seriously need a result, and it’s a result they can get if they turn back the clock ten months to last season.
The Toffees were on a testing run of just one win in ten league games when Wenger’s men visited Goodison Park in December of last year, and were fancied by many to keep their fine unbeaten league run going, which stood at 14 games ahead of their trip to Merseyside.
However, Koeman’s men produced a strong and resilient display to come from a goal down to deservedly win 2-1 on the night, in a match which highlighted everything that was good about Everton.
They were strong aerially, dominant in the tackle, and took the game to Arsenal in the second half, yet showed great resilience to stand firm as the Gunners sought a late equaliser.
More importantly though, the crowd responded to that and made a lot of noise to get behind their side – a performance like that on Sunday would likely see them react in a similar way.
There has been little to cheer for the Goodison Park faithful so far this season, but the story was somewhat similar going into the Arsenal clash last term, and after that the Toffees then lost just one of their preceding ten Premier League games.
Yes, their overall record against Arsenal isn’t great, winning just two of the last 23 meetings between the two sides, but last year’s display was exactly what they needed at that time of the season, and against that type of opponent.
Add in the fact that Arsenal have yet to win an away game in the Premier League this term, and were accused by Watford’s Troy Deeney as lacking ‘cojones’ in defeat to the Hornets last week, and Everton have got to look to replicate last year’s display against the Gunners this weekend.
Doing that might just get them the win that they, and indeed Koeman, so desperately need.
Everton fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know!