• Sam Collins


Having won four games from their opening four, Everton started the season flawlessly and established themselves quickly as a side shaping up for a very successful season.

However, their form has turned around as of late, picking up just a single point out of a possible nine.

It could be argued they are lucky to even have that point after some VAR controversy in the 2-2 draw in the Merseyside derby.

A late winning goal was ruled out for Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, by one of the most marginal offside decisions we have ever seen.

On top of this, many feel as though Everton goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, should have seen red for his horror tackle on Virgil Van Dijk.

Since this fixture, Everton have suffered losses to both Southampton and Newcastle respectively.

From the outside it doesn’t look as though Everton are struggling, considering they still sit fourth in the Premier League table.

However, these last few games will certainly come as a reality check for the Toffees.

With some fancying Everton for a potential underdog push for the title this year after their impressive form, they may be thinking twice now.

Carlo Ancelotti has evidently had a very positive impact on this squad and with a world-class manager at the helm, they still could have an excellent season.

Ancelotti will be hoping that this recent drop in form is not something that lasts for the long term.

This leads us to question what exactly has caused the blip in form and what can Everton do to solve it.

One of the explanations that can be looked at is the recent injury James Rodriguez has suffered.

The Colombian playmaker has had a fantastic start to life in the Premier League, providing three goals and three assists so far.

He did suffer an injury in the Merseyside derby though and despite playing in the loss to Southampton, he did not feature in the clash against Newcastle.

It is likely he was not 100% for the game against Southampton.

Rodriguez has stood out as one of the signings of the season so far and his close relationship with the boss, Ancelotti, has boosted his prominence in the squad.

Everton will be hoping that he soon can return to full fitness and top form, as he will play a vital role in where they could potentially finish this year.

Currently, it seems as though Rodriguez could be back for this weekend's fixture against Manchester United.

Another factor that can be looked at to discuss why Everton have potentially struggled in these last few games, is how the international break may have halted some momentum.

Previous to the break, Everton had won four games on the bounce.

It can be quite a common case to see the international break affect different teams in different ways.

For some it is very beneficial and if a side is in poor form, it is a chance to regroup and figure out the problems.

Although, for others not so much, as if in good form it can really break this up and have a negative impact.

Everton aren’t the only example of this, however; despite winning their first three games, Aston Villa have only picked up three points from a possible nine since the break.

This emphasizes the point that the international break can really kill a team's momentum and that it is important to stay focused after this period.

With a massive fixture this weekend coming up for Everton against Manchester United, they will be hoping this is an opportunity to turn it around and pick up some valuable points.

Manchester United have been suffering with poor form in the league of late and Ancelotti will hope to maximise this opportunity.

For Everton, they will be very happy to have Lucas Digne coming back into the squad and of course as previously mentioned potentially James Rodriguez as well.

Digne picked up a red card in the 2-0 defeat at Southampton and after originally being handed a three-match ban, this was reduced to just one.

This of course meant he missed the Newcastle game, but Everton will be delighted to have him back up for selection against United, as he is one of the top players in the side.

Another key player that Everton need to continue to look to if they want to be successful is Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Scoring eight goals already this season, he has really been leading from the front.

Growing increasingly as a key member of the team, Calvert-Lewin is clearly highly valued by Ancelotti.

With the support of his teammates, he can be the man to score the important goals and ensure that Everton can have a good season.

It will be fascinating now to see how Everton can perform and recover from this small run of bad form.