Fortress Goodison is key for Everton

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

On November 22, 1969, Everton beat Burnley 2-1 at Goodison Park. The win was the club's 11th straight home win in all competitions and remains the best home opening streak in Everton history. As the club and players dream of Europe, Goodison Park will need to be just as formidable this season. Norwich visit on Saturday and David Moyes’ men need to make home advantage count after the blip at Reading.

David MoyesGettyImagesDavid Moyes' Everton have enjoyed a fine start to the season

In recent months, Everton have done their best to ensure Goodison Park becomes a fortress once more. Since a 1-0 loss to Arsenal in March, Moyes’ side has a 10-match home unbeaten streak, with eight victories. The goals are 28-7 Everton’s favour and the Toffees have five clean sheets.

Thankfully, after erratic showings in the early stages last season, the flagging form is outdated and Arsenal is the only home defeat in 19 league and cup games. The dismal loss to Stoke December 4 last year proved the catalyst for an Everton turnaround. Robert Huth’s first-half goal gave the Potters their first win at Everton since 1981 and the home side’s failure to register a shot on target summed up the match.

Fortunately, since the lows of that defeat, Everton have improved significantly. Following that dire showing, 22 teams have come to Goodison Park and only Bolton and Arsenal have emerged with three points. The much-improved home form helped Everton finish last season strongly and that continued into the current campaign.

Norwich's visit is Moyes’ 200th Premier League home game as Everton manager. He has a win percentage of 52% with 104 victories and just 46 defeats. Should Everton hope to mark the occasion with a win, there will need to be significant improvement from last Saturday’s defeat at Reading. After a dominant first half, Everton failed to turn up in the second and Reading gained their first league win of the season with ease.

After the poor starts of recent years, the stronger home form is one of the main catalysts for recent progress. However, while this is Everton’s strongest start since 2004-05, recent form is threatening to derail the feel-good factor around the club. The last six league games have seen a return of just seven points with the Sunderland win sandwiched between four draws and the Reading defeat. In those six matches, Everton find themselves 10th in the Premier League form table but only seven teams have picked up fewer points in recent weeks.

The flying start is beginning to hit the buffers of late with too many draws and inconsistent displays harming the team. On Saturday it is imperative that Everton make the most of their impressive home form and ensure this promising start continues. Starting slowly in past seasons, this season is a rare occurrence for Everton and the team cannot afford to let it go to waste.

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