Everton come into their clash with QPR on Tuesday evening with the need to bounce back.
Rafa Benitez had witnessed a pretty seamless start to his life in the dugout at Goodison Park before they suffered their first defeat on Saturday evening.
Coming into the weekend, Everton sat dead level on points with the league leaders in the top-flight.
However, despite heading into the clash with an enormous dose of confidence, they were undone by Aston Villa in a tormenting 3-0 defeat.
The defence was the main criticism of that clash, particularly Ben Godfrey, there wasn’t much to shout about from an attacking point of view either.
Everton are missing Dominic Calvert-Lewin at the moment and they were also without Richarlison on Saturday because of a knee problem.
Therefore, Salomon Rondon earned his first start since signing for the Toffees. His performance left a lot to be desired, though.
The Venezuelan also lost the ball every 1.6 touches and prevailed in just five of his 20 defensive battles.
It’s likely that Rondon will earn another start against QPR in the Carabao Cup this evening but it could be an ideal opportunity for Rafa Benitez to explore options in the academy.
One young striker who should earn some minutes during the clash is Ellis Simms.
He has recently returned from injury and could be involved for the first time under the Spaniard tonight after appearing on the bench last weekend.
Simms has never made a first-team appearance for the Toffees but earned valuable experience in the Football League last season with Blackpool.
The 20-year-old helped the Tangerines achieve promotion by scoring ten times in 24 outings as he proved he has what it takes to thrive at senior level. Based on that, the forward should be a good option against QPR on Tuesday.
His ability to score goals is first class but he’s also got a robust physical side to his game that can terrify defenders.
Standing at 6 foot 1, his frame is similar to Calvert-Lewin’s but he does have some way to go before he starts replicating the Everton star’s performances.
Speaking about Simms last term, former goalkeeper Nigel Martyn commented: “Natural goalscorer, still learning his craft, but he doesn’t snatch at chances. As happy scoring in the 90th minute, when you could snatch at it, for one so young – he’s a pretty cool finisher.”
Rondon, however, is a player who tends to snatch at his chances and that showed versus Villa a few days ago.
Although the new signing deserves a chance to prove his worth to the Goodison Park faithful, Simms will also be eager to impress.