Everton host West Ham United in the Premier League over the weekend as Rafa Benitez’s charges aim to maintain their solid start to the season.
A 1-1 draw against Manchester United last time out moved the Toffees up to fifth in the table and just two points behind league leaders Chelsea after seven games of the campaign.
The Goodison Park outfit have also coped admirably with a raft of injuries to key players, with summer signing Demarai Gray particularly impressive following his arrival from Bayer Leverkusen.
In his first four league outings for Everton, the flying winger scored on three occasions, playing a pivotal part in victories over Brighton and Burnley as well as a draw with Leeds United.
However, the 25-year-old has failed to find the back of the net in his last three top-flight appearances as the Toffees have picked up just four points from a possible nine, raising questions over whether his initial form is sustainable.
Should Gray start against West Ham?
With a host of first team players expected to return to the matchday squad on Sunday, Benitez may be tempted to rotate his starting line-up and drop Gray to the bench
The former England under-21 international has struggled to maintain his eye-catching starts at new clubs or under new managers in the past, but his underlying numbers indicate that there’s been no drop off in his performance levels of late despite the recent lack of goals.
Against Aston Villa, Norwich City and Manchester United, Gray still contributed a combined total of five key passes, completed six successful dribbles and created one big chance, as per SofaScore.
Therefore, it’s clear that the £13.5m-rated forward could be Everton’s game-changer at Goodison Park when the Hammers come to visit, and Benitez must keep faith with the gem once described as a “big talent” by his former Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers.