Everton have made their worst ever start to a Premier League campaign with just a solitary point gained after five matches while only two goals have been scored.
It is a dreadful beginning and only a month or so in, the Toffees are now facing a huge uphill task to avoid another desperate battle against relegation for the third consecutive season.
During the summer transfer window Everton were busy but most of their activity involved outgoings rather than new signings coming in.
From the beginning of the summer it was clear the Blues were ready to let a considerable number of existing first-team and youth players leave the club to reduce wages and costs.
Yerry Mina, Conor Coady, Ellis Simms, Tom Davies and a plethera of youngsters all departed Merseyside during the summer months.
Then, on transfer deadline day Everton sanctioned the departure of Neal Maupay and Alex Iwobi while Demarai Gray eventually left for the Saudi League after the window had closed here.
While few Toffees supporters were going to miss Maupay, Gray and Iwobi had been key members of Sean Dyche’s squad last season, contributing substantially to the team ultimately avoiding relegation.
Gray was in fact Everton’s second highest goal scorer after Dwight McNeil and Iwobi managed seven assists and two goals himself, but was also a player who’s ability to operate in many different positions and carry the ball from deep, was important.
On Sunday as the Blues struggled to create anything in attack against Arsenal those two players might have been able to make a positive impact, even if coming on from the bench.
Iwobi had produced his best performances for the club playing in midfield, where the home team were totally outplayed and it would have been surely useful to have Gray’s pace and trickery to support an isolated striker in Beto and then Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Substitutions have become much important in the Premier League now, with the new rules allowing five subs helping managers turn matches in their team’s favour and they are already making a big impact in games.
As we saw again on Sunday and as had been the case in the Toffees’ other home defeats this season, a substitute made a decisive difference for their opponents.
The Everton manager, although he often seems loath to make a lot of changes in games, simply doesn’t have those resources to call upon, especially after all the departures this summer.
This issue could be another critical factor determining whether Dyche or possibly a successor, is able to keep the Blues in the top flight again.