Everton took a point from their stalemate with Fulham at Craven Cottage last weekend and the team’s goal-shy approach to their performances over the season so far could start to become a problem for Frank Lampard if things don’t improve.
Indeed, the Toffees had made huge strides in their defensive play thanks to the blossoming centre-back partnership formed by new signings Conor Coady and James Tarkowski which has led them to a healthy 12th league placement after 13 Premier League outings.
However, their impressive defence can’t mask the fact that only Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest have scored fewer goals than Everton so far, something that many of the Goodison Park faithful may have expected this season following the departure of last season’s top goal-scorer Richarlison in the summer.
Lampard has his work cut out trying to find the solution to increasing goal contributions in the final third, but does the manager start dropping players or does he allow them to gel together considering Dominic Calvert-Lewin has only just made his return from injury in the last few games?
Keeping the faith in Demarai Gray’s work rate on the left flank could be one of the best decisions that the Toffees boss could make over the final few league fixtures before the World Cup commences next month, as he proved against Fulham that he plays a key role in winning possession.
Over his 75-minute performance last weekend, the talented winger delivered three key passes, completed two tackles and created two big chances, as well as making three clearances, proving that he is working hard defensively whilst using his opportunities on the ball to build attacking play.
Not only that, Opta Analyst listed the players with the most shot involvements following a ball carry in the Premier League so far this season, with Gray ranking sixth (14) amongst Kevin De Bruyne, Leandro Trossard, Bukayo Saka, Wilfried Zaha, Mohamed Salah and Gabriel Martinelli.
This proves that the 26-year-old – who was hailed a “big talent” by Daniel Garb – may be lacking in the end product but is one of the most persistent creative players in the top flight right now, so if he can rebuild that connection and chemistry with Calvert-Lewin they could be a lethal combination.
With that being said, Lampard must persist with the selection of Gray over the coming games as he is due a moment of magic after all the hard work he has been putting in over his performances so far.