Saturday 1st September 2018
Everton enter week four looking to return to winning ways back on home soil as they face struggling Huddersfield Town. Last weekend saw the Blues frustratingly throw away a two goal lead away at Bournemouth. As the Toffees focus on putting that result out of their minds, they come up against a Huddersfield side that have endured a difficult beginning, drawing one and losing two of their first three games. The Terriers will surely be eager to kick-start their season starting Saturday.
The Toffees were left wondering how they had failed to come away with the three points as they left the pitch last Saturday. Frustration is an emotion which Evertonians have become quite familiar with over the years and the game against Bournemouth once again brought the feeling into play. As star man Richarlison was very softly given his marching orders for an alleged headbutt on Cherries right back Adam Smith, a draw seemed like it would be a decent outcome for the Blues. However nobody could have predicted what was to come. Theo Walcott enjoyed a brilliant second half as he broke the deadlock putting the Blues one up. Shortly after, Bournemouth were reduced to ten as Adam Smith found himself seeing red after denying Walcott a clear goal scoring opportunity. Five minutes later Micheal Keane headed in for the Blues and the game looked all but won, however in typical Everton fashion the contest was far from over. The Toffees let slip a two goal lead as Bournemouth fought their way back into the game to rescue a point.
As good as Silva’s men have looked going forward already this year, the defensive side of things still remains a huge concern. If the Blues are to enjoy a successful season this is an area that quickly needs improvement. The side have a tendency to begin resting on their laurels and inviting pressure when on top, however this is a side under new guidance in transition so these minor hiccups can perhaps be expected.
The Blues did enjoy a successful midweek outing as they overcame Rotherham in the Carabao cup 3-1 at Goodison. The hosts displayed their quality, despite making eight changes. Everton overcame a brave effort off the Millers with goals from Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert Lewin enough to see the Blues through to the next round. Whilst good to get back to winning ways, it was also a nice chance for Silva to experiment with his squad.
Going into Saturday, Micheal Keane will miss the game as he recovers from a head clash suffered last weekend with the defender expected to be out for up to a month. Andre Gomes will again be absent as he continues his recovery, Yerry Mina is also rumoured to be out until mid September. Phil Jagielka misses out as he completes his three game ban whilst winger Richarlison completes the second game of his suspension.
Morgan Schneiderlin is expected to be fit for Saturdays clash as he came on as a late substitute on Wednesday following his recent hamstring injury.
The Terriers come into Saturdays game on the back of an unforgiving start. In their three league games so far they have yet to find a win, however to be fair they have faced a new look Chelsea side and had the daunting task of travelling to the Etihad in those games. Last week was seen as a huge opportunity for the Terriers to kick-start their campaign at home to Cardiff City. However the game was toothless, there wasn’t much attacking intent off either side and although the hosts enjoyed the lions share of possession, their struggle to do anything with it will be a concern. The sending off of captain Jonathon Hogg on the hour also failed to help matters as the defender clashed with Harry Arter. On top of this the side crashed out of the Carabao cup on Tuesday night after losing 2-0 away to Stoke City.
As bleak as it seems at the moment for the men from Yorkshire, there are some positives lurking within their set-up. Centre back Terence Kongolo is a player of huge importance to steadying Huddersfield’s back-line. The Dutchman’s presence and strength on the ball is a huge plus to the Terriers, not only that but his versatility, as he showcased against Cardiff where he was deployed at Left Back being a rare source of attacking outlet for Huddersfield. Hes certainly a man who will be key to any hopes of staying in the league.
Huddersfield go into Saturdays contest with a clean bill of health and are expected to go with a similar set up as they did away at the Etihad. Jonathan Hogg is set to begin his ban following his sending off against Cardiff and is the only absentee.
Everton will be entering the weekends game in confident mood. At Goodison the game is a must win and against a team going through a difficult period as Huddersfield are, even more so. After such a frustrating outcome against Bournemouth, this presents a chance for Everton to once again collect three points and build momentum. Huddersfield will be coming to Goodison looking to contain and frustrate the Toffees. A point would be considered a good result for the Terriers and one they could take forward in order to getting their season back on track.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Zouma, Baines; Gueye, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson; Bernard, Tosun, Walcott.
Huddersfield: Lossl; Smith, Schindler, Kongolo, Lowe; Pritchard, Stankovic, Billing, Hadergjonaj; Mounie, Sabiri.
Score Prediction: Everton 3-0 Huddersfield.