Can an EFL Cup run save Marco Silva?

Everton slumped to a third defeat on the bounce in the Premier League, losing 3-1 to Manchester City at Goodison Park to crank up the pressure on Marco Silva. The Toffees were in the contest in the second half, but were undone by the quality of the reigning champions as strikes from Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling put them to the sword.

The atmosphere around the stadium was flat to say the least at the final whistle. Although City are one of the most dominant sides in football at the moment, Everton failed to land a punch on Pep Guardiola’s men with the scoreline at 1-1, with the Citizens having to cope with defensive injuries at the back.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s conversion on the line from Seamus Coleman’s chip had brought the Toffees back into the contest after Gabriel Jesus put City ahead. However, there appeared to be a lack of belief among the dark blue shirts that they were capable of mounting a serious charge for the three points. It’s a worrying trend for Silva following defeats at the hands of Bournemouth and Sheffield United, prompting criticism of his management.

Everton invested heavily in the transfer market during the summer for the second year in a row. The Portuguese guided the club into eighth place in the table – the same position achieved by his predecessor Sam Allardyce. It was a solid if unspectacular campaign, but it did not show the signs of pushing the Toffees towards the Champions League places, while they also made premature exits in both cup competitions.

The poor start to the term suggests that Silva is still having difficulty getting the best of his squad, despite the significant outlay in transfer fees. Everton even needed to come from behind in the second round EFL Cup clash against Lincoln City at Sincil Bank, although their performance against Sheffield at Hillsborough, who are no mugs especially as they’re one of the top contenders in the Championship betting odds for promotion, was pleasing as Calvert-Lewin notched a brace. A run in the cup could be a saving grace given that it has been too long since the club last tasted silverware.

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The Toffees won the FA Cup in 1995 and since then have failed to clinch a major crown. Silva’s men have been drawn against his old club Watford in the fourth round, who are enduring a woeful start to the campaign. It presents a huge opportunity to move into the next round, while the potential of seeing two of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal exit, given that the teams are drawn against each other, reduces the number of elite sides remaining in the competition.

Although Everton have endured early troubles this term they are not likely to be relegated, there are certainly three worse sides in the Premier League. Survival alone is not good enough given the investment in the side, but delivering silverware could be the key to Silva’s future at Goodison Park. The EFL Cup presents a huge opportunity to end the drought and perhaps propel a surge up the table, using the competition as a momentum boost.

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