Everton are in action against Newcastle United this weekend, and the Toffees find themselves in an alien position ahead of the game.
It is the first time the Toffees head into a game having lost, after starting 2020/21 in tremedous form.
Last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Southampton was their first in all competitions, and Carlo Ancelotti’s side now need to bounce back.
It’ll be a test of their mettle, and will provide people with a better understanding of whether this team is capable of a top-four finish.
Ancelotti has a few selection dilemmas to mull over, one of which comes at left-back.
Lucas Digne will be suspended for the game having received a red card against the Saints. His three-game ban has been reduced to just one after a successful appeal, but the Frenchman is out against Newcastle.
Seemingly there are two candidates to replace Digne – Fabian Delph, who played the position many times for Manchester City, and youngster Niels Nkounkou, who has impressed in the EFL Cup since joining the club a few months ago.
TBR’s View – Ancelotti should be bold and select Nkounkou
Ancelotti should resist the temptation to play Delph and hand Nkounkou his Premier League debut against Newcastle.
The 19-year-old was extremely impressive in games against Salford City, Fleetwood Town and West Ham United, and really does deserve a chance in the league.
Delph – who joined the club for £10 million last year (BBC Sport) – is probably a safer option, but Nkounkou has showcased a real attacking intent and might actually be better suited to facing Newcastle, who have a tendency to play deep and defensive.