Everton returned to Premier League action last weekend with a thrilling 2-2 draw with newly-promoted Wolves but improvement is required for the Toffees.
New club-record signing Richarlison hit the ground running by netting a superb brace to catch the eye on his debut, although there was not much joy defensively for the Merseyside outfit – particularly following Phil Jagielka’s red card.
The Toffees host Southampton this weekend and Silva’s side have been unanimously backed to ensure all three points remain at Goodison Park by a trio of pundits; Mark Lawrenson, Michael Owen and Paul Merson.
Former Liverpool defender Lawrenson had the kindest words to say about the Toffees when making his weekly predictions for the BBC, praising Everton supporters for always contributing a superb atmosphere whatever the game or the occasion – and he expects the stands to be rocking for Silva’s first game in charge.
“The Everton fans will appreciate the football that new boss Marco Silva tries to play and there will be a great atmosphere for his first home game in charge – there always is at Goodison Park, no matter how good the team are.”
That view is echoed by Merson, who believes there will be a buzz around the stadium and a sense of optimism after a positive result away from home against Wolves – and he told Sky Sports that Richarlison will provide the key to all three points, predicting a narrow 1-0 victory.
Last season Everton’s record at home proved to be crucial come the end of the campaign, as the Toffees won ten of their 19 matches at Goodison Park, drawing four and losing five – all of which came against sides in the Premier League’s top seven.
In comparison, the Toffees were woeful on the road as they lost ten times – including winnable games against Southampton, Bournemouth, Burnley, Watford and West Ham. On the road, Everton only managed to beat Newcastle, Stoke and Huddersfield.
While the platform for any success for Everton this season will certainly be built by results at Goodison Park, it’s the form away from home that will decide whether the campaign is memorable or forgettable under the guidance of Marco Silva.
Everton aspire to be back in European competitions next year and that’s where away trips become even more difficult but the Toffees have completed good business this summer by drafting in the likes of Richarlison and Yerry Mina, the latter of whom Michael Owen told BetVictor he expects to make his debut on Saturday – and they will need the Colombia international to immediately settle into the rigours of the Premier League.
Owen’s prediction of an ‘entertaining game’ at Goodison Park is likely to be proven true as the two teams conceded a combined total of 114 goals last season, 58 of which were shipped by Everton.