Everton will be aiming to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace last time out when they take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their Premier League clash this evening.
A spirited 2-1 victory over Arsenal ended the Toffees’ eight-game winless run, but they failed to build on that over the weekend as the usual dose of disappointment soon returned.
It’s been a hugely underwhelming campaign for Rafa Benitez’s charges so far, with injuries playing a significant part in their recent run of disappointing results and performances.
The likes of Richarlison, Allan and Andros Townsend have joined Dominic Calvet-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Tom Davies on the treatment table, leaving Everton extremely short of options throughout the pitch.
As a result, Benitez is likely to call upon his more experienced stars to get him through this tough period, and one of those who is expected to be relied upon is Fabian Delph.
After arriving on Merseyside back in July 2019, the former England international has failed to showcase his best form on a consistent basis for the Blues.
Fitness woes have hampered Delph’s ability to affect games in an Everton shirt, but he regularly did so at Manchester City, becoming a key player for Pep Guardiola throughout their title-winning 2017/18 campaign.
The £92k-per-week earner illustrated his versatility by filling in at left-back for the Citizens, earning praise for his consistency and reliability despite the difficult circumstances.
“It is not easy when you play in different positions, but he has,” said Guardiola. “There is always room for the team to improve, but Fabian is always a banker for us – and the other players know it.”
And now Benitez must call upon Delph’s leadership qualities, ability to adapt, and track record of stepping up to the mark when called upon.
With so many first-team players unavailable, Everton will need to grind out positive results over the coming weeks even if they’re unable to play to the best of their ability, and having someone as resilient as Delph on their side will help them do exactly that. He may just lead a mini-revival at Goodison too.