Everton’s hopes of finishing the season in seventh were handed a huge boost as they recorded their third successive Premier League win – and clean sheet – when they beat Arsenal 1-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday.
The Toffees followed up victories against two other London clubs in Chelsea and West Ham United with another assured display against Unai Emery’s visitors, which leaves the Merseyside outfit just one point adrift of Leicester City in a position that could still yield Europa League football this term.
Following yet another impressive performance, there are certainly a couple of players that will have gone up in manager Marco Silva’s estimations.
The veteran centre-back was only named in the XI against Arsenal after Michael Keane was forced to pull out late on, and he certainly made the most of his opportunity.
It was only the 36-year-old’s third Premier League start of the season with Silva obviously deciding previously that the club captain is no longer good enough to start at this level on a regular basis, but the Portuguese boss may have to reconsider on this display.
It is never easy finding out you are suddenly playing so close to kick-off, but Jagielka dealt with it brilliantly and showed his experience and quality throughout the 90 minutes.
Helping the team to another clean sheet and scoring the winning goal, he has proved a point and may well be getting more minutes between now and the end of the campaign.
At the start of this season Silva probably wouldn’t have envisaged that by April the England U21 international would be his first-choice striker option, but that is exactly what has happened.
The 22-year-old has been brilliant in recent weeks and his work-rate and general all-round centre-forward play means he is the most effective option for Everton in this particular system.
The Sheffield-born player caused the likes of Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi all sorts of issues at the weekend, and his record of winning 17 aerial duels during the 90 minutes is absolutely remarkable.
Simply put he just keeps getting better and better, and his manager will find it hard to leave him out for the remainder of the current campaign and potentially into the following one as well.