Everton are set for an “absolutely brilliant” boost with the return of star forward Richarlison as Carlo Ancelotti strives to avoid losing four-in-a-row.
Speaking with Football Insider, former England striker Darren Bent has decreed that Richarlison’s return from a three-match suspension will be the perfect tonic for Ancelotti after seeing Everton’s form capitulate without the Brazilian.
The Toffees begun the campaign as the best in the Premier League with four wins and a draw, but have failed to take any points in the fixtures to have passed since Richarlison was shown a straight red card for a foul on Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara during the Merseyside Derby.
Ancelotti has confirmed that he is likely to call on the £50million attacker when Everton travel to Fulham on Sunday, with the forward returning from international duty fit and raring to go after scoring in Brazil’s 2-0 CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying win over Uruguay.
Bent is adamant that the 23-year-old’s return will have a game-changing effect on Everton’s form, and could be the deciding factor in the Merseyside outfit’s pursuit of a first win in 50 days.
“Richarlison, obviously we’re fans of his and obviously he’s been missing and they’ve kind of fallen off a cliff a little bit, it’s not been good for them,” Bent said.
“The fact that he’s back now will give him and his team massive, massive confidence and it’s absolutely brilliant to be fair.
“Fair play to him getting himself back fit, they’re gonna need him. They’re still not that far away to get themselves back up there, but it’s obviously not been good for them recently.”
Ancelotti will be hoping that Richarlison can deliver the needed impact for Everton against Fulham that Bent suspects the former Watford star to be capable of, having lost three top-flight fixtures in a row for the first time since November 2006 during the Brazilian’s absence.
Defeat at Craven Cottage this weekend will be an outcome the Italian coach is desperate to avoid, as Ancelotti has thus far never lost four league games in a row during his managerial career – a run that began with AC Parma all the way back in September 1996.
Richarlison had been enjoying a strong start to the 2020/21 Premier League campaign on a personal level before his red card at home to Liverpool last month, with the 23-cap winger penning two assists in a 5-2 win over West Brom and striking home the winning effort away to Crystal Palace.
The Brazilian’s efforts over his five outings thus far this term have even been enough for Richarlison to remain 10th among all top-flight players for ground duels won (43) and 12th for successful dribbles (16), while ranking second only to Dominic Calvert-Lewin (22) for shots taken (11) by an Everton player, per SofaScore.
Ancelotti will need to see Richarlison hit the ground running and offer the same level of output at Fulham on Sunday that he was producing prior to his suspension, as Everton can ill-afford to be carrying the 23-year-old in their search for a fifth win of the season.