Everton have been plagued with injury problems so far this season and have seen injuries to some of their most influential players in their side.
Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Abdoulaye Doucoure have all been side-lined at various points of the first eleven games in the side’s current Premier League campaign, which has quite obviously had an effect on their current form, taking only 15 points from a possible 33.
Rafa Benitez will be relieved that the injury crisis seems to be over, as Richarlison and Mina have both returned to training over the last few weeks, with Doucoure and Calvert Lewin expected back imminently too.
The return of these important and experienced players will be crucial for the Toffees, as the side take on a hard run of games in the lead up to Christmas that could be rather problematic, facing Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea in the next few weeks.
One return that, in particular, is highly anticipated by both the Spanish manager and the fans, is that of midfielder Doucoure.
The 28-year-old has been a huge loss to the side and was praised by former Watford midfielder, David Prentice, recently, talking about his impact to the team and his versatility as a player under Benitez before his recent injury issues.
Prentice told The Royal Blues Podcast;
“Doucoure, who you know, has been a revelation under Rafa Benitez already, a good signing anyway but seems to be playing a very, very different role, just underlined again what he’s got in his armoury.”
Before the attacking midfielder became injured with a foot injury a month ago, he had offered a number of impressive performances scoring two goals and offering clinical direct link up play with the forward line of the team by offering four assists to his attacking teammates in just nine appearances so far.
This kind of aggressive impact and direct attacking threat is something Everton have been lacking since the £120k-per-week Frenchman’s injury in October, and they will be hoping to get him back into the team as soon as possible to unleash his talent on the title challenging sides Everton are preparing to face in the near future.
Doucoure is expected back after the international break, with Fabrizio Romano writing on Twitter:
“Abdoulaye Doucoure injury update. [The] Everton midfielder will be back earlier than expected.
“He’s preparing his comeback in four/four and half weeks, after the international break.
“Finally some good news for Rafa Benitez.”
Rafa Benitez’s side face a challenging fixture this weekend as they travel to the Ethiad to face Premier League Champions, Manchester City, on Sunday afternoon, but following that, Doucoure could be just the man to revive their form ahead of some tough encounters.
In other news: Dominic Calvert-Lewin teases injury return