In spite of the largely negative reaction to his appointment to the blue half of Merseyside, Benitez has not lost his Premier League nous, with the former Liverpool and Newcastle United coach enjoying quite the start to life as a Toffee.
After comfortably dispatching Southampton and playing out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Leeds United, Everton travelled to the South Coast to take on Brighton on August 28, where Demarai Gray would open the scoring with an impressive solo finish before Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s penalty put the tie to bed.
There may have been a minor disagreement over the spot-kick taker as Richarlison sought to make the net ripple, but it was an otherwise faultless day for Everton on the South Coast, with seven points from a possible nine seeing them rise to sixth in the rankings at this embryonic stage.
The Toffees – and Benitez in particular – will be under immense pressure to remain in the continental mix heading into the winter months, but with most of their rivals now set to begin the taxing European and domestic period, there is no time like the present for Everton to continue their rich vein of form.
Not since September 2019 have Everton managed to record three home wins on the bounce, and should Benitez manage to steer his side to another success in front of the Goodison Park faithful, he will surely start to win over the impassioned fanbase sooner rather than later.
Having become synonymous with drab goalless affairs over the past few years, it was no surprise to see Burnley and Newcastle United draw 0-0 in the EFL Cup on August 25, but an inspired performance from Wayne Hennessey in the penalty shootout saw the Clarets pick up their first win of the season before the visit of Leeds.
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During a frantic 20 seconds in which the crossbar was hit and a penalty appeal was waved away, Burnley ultimately took the lead as Matthew Lowton’s attempt took a nick off Chris Wood and wrong-footed Illan Meslier, but in another episode of pinball, Patrick Bamford levelled for Leeds with four minutes remaining.
As entertaining as that clash at Turf Moor was, Burnley’s record of one point from three matches sees them in an all-too familiar position – 16th and dangerously close to the drop zone – and Sean Dyche’s side must prepare for clashes with Arsenal and Leicester City before the end of the month.
The Clarets did at least manage to end their five-game losing run in the Premier League with last week’s draw, but all four of their most recent league wins have come on the road, and they have not shared the spoils in an away match since the turn of the year