Everton will be looking to pick up their first three points of the new season when they face West Ham at Goodison Park on Sunday and Frank Lampard can give his side the best chance by finally unleashing new signing Idrissa Gana Gueye.
The Senegal international, who returned to Merseyside from PSG during the summer transfer window, is yet to start a game since his return to the club.
However, in his 28-minute cameo against Liverpool, he demonstrated exactly what he’d offer this troubled Toffees side. He made one tackle and two interceptions, with the latter being the joint-highest of average interceptions in the Everton squad alongside James Tarkowski.
It is clear what the experienced midfielder can offer Lampard and playing against a strong midfield duo of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, Everton will need to be at their best if they want to dominate the central areas against the Hammers.
After last weekend’s fixture was postponed, Gueye should now be much closer to full fitness having trained all week, and there is no reason why Tom Davies should start ahead of him against David Moyes’ side on Sunday.
The Englishman has earned a disappointing 6.31 rating from WhoScored so far this season, with an average of 1.4 tackles and just 0.6 interceptions per game.
The fact that Gueye has arguably outperformed him, earning a 6.52 rating from WhoScored despite only featuring for 28 minutes against Liverpool, shows that the former PSG man is the superior option in midfield, and the prospect of him starting alongside Amadou Onana is one that a lot of Premier League sides will fear.
When Gueye returned to Everton in the summer he was hailed by Micah Richards, who described him as “frightening“, while he also earned the praise of Thomas Tuchel during his time at PSG.
He said: “He’s a machine, eh! He never stops running.”
Everton need machine-like players of Gueye’s ilk if they are going to improve on last season’s relegation near-miss, and now that he has had more time to get match fit, Lampard must unleash the Senegal international against West Ham this weekend.