Everton at home to Leicester shouldn’t get the pulses racing, but Wednesday’s clash signifies the first time Seamus Coleman returns to the Toffees’ first-team squad since that tyrant Neil Taylor broke his leg in March.
Did you know that, for one Virgil van Dijk, you could have bought 1,250 Seamus Colemans?
Now, as you may expect, all of us here at Power Tower are very fond of dear Seamus and it will be a privilege to watch him return for Everton. But patriotic reasons aside, Sam Allardyce’s men will improve tenfold when he’s back in action.
Everyone on the planet is aware of three things about Sam Allardyce: he likes a chippy, he had a bit of bother with the FA – but most importantly – he builds from the back. Let’s look at last week’s draw with West Brom.
A back five of Jordan Pickford, Jonjoe Kenny, Ashley Williams, Cuco Martina and Mason Holgate has an average age of just 25.
Coleman brings that up, but he also commands from the back, will show for the ball when Pickford’s in bother and provides them with a genuine attacking threat at right-back – while having the experience to know when to fall back into position before they can be picked off on the break.
The Toffees have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five, despite keeping six in their eight games prior to that. All bar one of those (4-0 against West Ham) came after ‘Big Sam’ took over the reins at Goodison Park.
The new manager bounce was always likely to wear off and consistency reverts back to inconsistency when the new becomes the norm.
What they need is a boost – and you don’t get many bigger than the return of a top-drawer senior pro.
In what must be considered one of the biggest, if not the best bargain in the Premier League era, Coleman arrived on Merseyside in 2009 for a fee of just £60,000 from Sligo Rovers.
Since then, he’s gone on to make over 200 appearances for the club – and even chips in with a goal in and around every ten games.
What he is, is a voice. A voice in a time where Everton need to pick themselves up.
Working with Allardyce is ideal as his no-nonsense approach to defending will aid Coleman and show just how beneficial he is to the football club, let alone the first team.
After games against Leicester and Arsenal, Everton’s next five games are Crystal Palace, Watford, Burnley, Brighton and Stoke.
There’s a chance to pick up points, but keeping clean sheets will be the difference between notching just a single point and all three, as a brand-new front three get used to each other in forward areas.
Everton may sit in the top-half, but you don’t need to remind their fans that they’re only six points off the bottom three.
Allardyce’s charges are facing the make-or-break stretch of the season, and the return of Seamus Coleman is essential if they want to come out the other side breathing a little easier.