Ahead of the 2019-20 Premier League season, there was every reason for Everton fans to be optimistic about the campaign.
The Toffees had shown ambition in the transfer market, landing a striker of considerable potential in Moise Kean and making Andre Gomes’ switch to Goodison Park a permanent one.
However, the start of the season has not gone to plan for Everton, who find themselves in the division’s lower reaches in November and the odds stacked against them to finish in the top eight.
Already some supporters are questioning whether Marco Silva is the man to lead the club forward, while the team has struggled to reach the potential it seemingly has on paper.
A recent 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur added another major blow for the Merseysiders – a serious injury to critical midfielder Gomes.
Despite the horrific nature of the Portugal international’s broken leg, Silva has maintained that the former Barcelona man could yet feature again for Everton this term.
Regardless of whether or not this is the case, the Toffees have been robbed of one of their most-influential players.
The summer sale of Idrissa Gueye to Paris Saint-Germain was always going to mean change in the boiler room for Everton, with Gomes, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin all brought to Goodison to fill the void.
All three have had their injury woes this term but it is Gomes’ absence that will be most acutely felt.
The Portuguese playmaker has the energy and quality to be the Everton team’s metronome when in possession and much of the positive play the team showed last term centred around him.
On the other side of the game, without the ball Gomes is intelligent, has acted as a midfield leader and has displayed real influence over the side.
Without the former Barcelona man in the Everton midfield ranks, there is a lack of quality on the ball in deep-lying areas.
A link between the midfield and final third has been stripped, with more pressure on the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Alex Iwobi now to drop deeper to pick up possession.
Everton clearly have a number of issues this season and Silva has his work cut out to turn the team’s fortunes around enough to mean a European qualification finish is a possibility.
However, despite his positive comments on Gomes’ injury, the Toffees boss will certainly be cursing his bad luck as the Portugal international starts his long road back to fitness.