Goodison Park
The garden is not so rosy at Goodison Park at present

Photo by Biloblue, CC BY-SA 4.

Just two wins in their first six English Premier League (EPL) fixtures has seen Everton slip into the lower reaches of the table. With just five goals to their name in those six games, it’s been anything but entertaining so far this term for the Goodison Park faithful. Even a comfortable 2-0 away win at Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup has failed to improve the mood in the camp, particularly after under-fire boss, Marco Silva launched an attack on some of his first-choice players.

Following Everton’s 2-0 home defeat at the hands of newly promoted Sheffield United, Silva came out in the post-match press conference and accused some his stars of “hiding.” Silva insists that his players now need to display “stronger character” and “personality,” whilst “taking responsibility” for the situation.

This summer’s transfer window was yet another busy one for the Toffees, with big-money moves for the likes of Alex Iwobi, Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes augmenting the talented squad already at Silva’s disposal. Nevertheless, Everton came up short against a stubborn, belligerent Sheffield United side that were prepared to sit back and frustrate Everton’s playmakers.

Most of the leading football bookmakers have noted the Toffees’ poor start to the campaign, placing Silva as the new favourite to become the next Premier League manager to be fired. The lack of a ‘Plan B’ has not gone unnoticed by Everton supporters, who were left pulling their hair out on the terraces against the Blades, as time and again the midfield lacked the incisiveness to get through United’s stiff resistance. They will have also noted Everton’s tricky start to the autumn too, with a home clash with reigning champions, Manchester City.

Silva’s man-management surprising the Everton hierarchy

There have also been reports that the Everton directors were less than impressed with Silva’s insistence on clapping and shaking hands with his players, despite their dismal defeat. All of this happened while the jeers and boos rang out from the terraces, which led to some in the directors’ box allegedly raising their eyebrows.

Is it possible that Silva is too much of a nice guy? Do the players acknowledge that he rarely berates them in public and try to take advantage of that? It is quite possible that Silva’s laid-back approach is being undermined by a squad that’s become equally lackadaisical.

On paper, Everton’s start to the season should have been challenging towards the top six of the EPL. Fixtures against two of the newly promoted sides in the shape of Aston Villa and Sheffield United, followed by Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, should have been a good way to ease themselves into the campaign. Nevertheless, seven points from a possible 18 has placed huge pressure on their next half-a-dozen matches, which not only include Manchester City but in-form West Ham and perennial top four contenders, Tottenham.

A visit of the reigning champions awaits

Supporters will have little hope that Silva can plot the downfall of a Manchester City side that will arrive on Merseyside fresh from an 8-0 demolition of the bottom club, Watford. Although some might look to City’s shock 3-2 loss at Norwich as proof that Pep Guardiola’s men are far from invincible, they have certainly regained their focus since that humbling defeat at Carrow Road.

One bright spark for fans to cling onto was the return to form of frontman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored both goals in the Toffees’ 2-0 League Cup success at Hillsborough. Silva put his faith in Calvert-Lewin at the start of the season, giving him three successive starts, and more recently he’s scored three goals in two games to build on.

Eddie Howe (second from left) could be a target if Silva gets the boot

 Photo by arripay, CC BY-SA 2.0

Some people believe that Eddie Howe would make the ideal replacement for Silva, with Howe seemingly ready for a step up in terms of EPL budget having solidified Bournemouth as a top-flight club. Jose Mourinho’s name could also come into the equation, although he is known to have not enjoyed life in the north-west, away from his family in London. Meanwhile the current head coach of the England women’s side, Phil Neville – a former Toffee himself – could also be tempted by a return to the Premier League if Silva was to get the boot.

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