Everton saw their Premier League season begin with defeat as Fulham snatched a 1-0 win at Goodison Park on Saturday.

A second half strike from Bobby de Cordova-Reid proved enough for Fulham to take all three points against Everton. However, things could have been very different had Sean Dyche’s side been able to take their chances in front of goal.

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin sidelined with injury, and new signing Youssef Chermiti unable to start, Neal Maupay was tasked with leading the line. 

The French striker had a torrid time in front of goal last season, and his struggles with finding the back of the net look to have continued into the new campaign. Maupay had several chances to score against Fulham, but either missed the target or was denied by Bernd Leno on each occasion.

Everton FC v Fulham FC - Premier League
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Everton’s silver lining

As per FBRef stats, Maupay had four shots in the match, three of which were on target. The 26-year-old alone totted up an expected goals (xG) figure of 1.4. Everton as a whole accrued 2.9 xG.

On the surface it will have been a huge disappointment to Dyche that his side failed to convert any of their chances against Fulham. Clearly, finishing remains a problem for the Merseyside club, which will heap plenty of pressure on Calvert-Lewin and Chermiti to find a clinical edge once they’re in the action.

However, there is cause for optimism in these figures. The fact that Everton are making so many chances bodes well for the future. It is far preferable to be missing the chances they do make, rather than failing to create any opportunities at all. 

One goal for the likes of Maupay could be all that’s needed to breathe fresh confidence into his play, and Everton as a whole. They need to keep making attacking runs and getting in good positions and the goals will surely come. That is a notion Dyche will be clinging to after this game.

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