View: Everton need Anthony Gordon to step up as attack struggles
Anthony Gordon was in high demand early in the season as the primary Everton attacking threat, with huge price tags being attached to him.
As he led the Toffees line in an unfamiliar false-nine role at the same time as being the subject of £60million transfer talk to Chelsea he was starting to look a real star.
But after remaining at Goodison his form has regressed as the season has gone on, perhaps as opponents start to game plan more for him.
Even during his breakout season last year the 21-year-old wasn’t a major factor in terms of goals and assists, but his contribution to the overall play was strong.
He is just one shy of his Premier League total of strikes from the previous campaign already with three, but where the start of the season made him look undroppable he has missed a game through suspension, and started on the bench for the second time in the loss to Leicester on Saturday (5 November).
That 2-0 reverse was the second game running where Everton have drawn a blank, after the attack looked toothless in the goalless draw at Fulham a week earlier.
With Dominic Calvert-Lewin requiring a scan after going off with another injury it looks like goals are going to be a problem for Frank Lampard.
The Toffees boss could really do with his young attacking star finding some of the influence he seemed to be developing early in the campaign.
For the two flat attacking performances to come immediately after the free-flowing 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace, where Calvert-Lewin and Gordon both scored, is alarming.
And the inability to replace Richarlison in the summer is going to become more of an issue if Calvert-Lewin is ruled out again for any length of time.
Gordon picked up the slack for the opening weeks while the number nine was unavailable, and his goals meant games were drawn that would have otherwise been lost.
If he is also struggling for fluency now Everton could go into the World Cup break on a downer, unless the likes of Neal Maupay, Demarai Gray, and Dwight McNeil can all step up, none of whom are known as goal-machines themselves.
If they are to do that it would be assisted greatly if Gordon can become the direct running threat that he has shown he can be.
He is still only young so cannot be overburdened, and whether the transfer speculation and ongoing negotiations over a new deal are starting to prove a distraction is unclear, but if he can get back to his best it would be a major boost for Lampard.
In other Everton news, the manager says Gordon isn’t upset with new contract terms.