Everton’s one positive is staring them right in the face amid terrible start

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Everton lost out 1-0 to Arsenal at the weekend, in what was their fourth defeat of the new season.

With Everton losing out once again over the weekend, fans will be struggling to find a positive to cling onto.

After all, it’s four defeats in five and they sit 18th in the Premier League table as their problems on the pitch continue.

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There’s a lack of goals, confidence and belief right now after a difficult start, but if there’s been one player who can hold his head high so far it’s Jarrad Branthwaite.

The 21-year-old centre-back spent last season on loan at PSV Eindhoven, where he was a regular under Ruud van Nistelrooy and enjoyed 37 apperances in what was a vital year for his development.

Prior to this season, Branthwaite had featured sparingly for the club between 2019 and 2022 as he made 13 apperances.

But now he looks to have found a home next to James Tarkowski after making three consecutive starts after coming into the side against Wolves last month - and he has impressed so far.

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According to the Premier League, Branthwaite is the only centre-back to feature in the top five for aerial duels won and possession won per90. He tops the list for possession won with 8.50 and ranks joint-second withThiago Silva with 4.50 aerials won.

Those numbers are mightily impressive as it shows the impact he’s had in just three games so far.

As a tall, agile, quick and composed ball-playing centre-back, he’s shown he can handle the physicality of the league and given Everton hope at the back which is especially important as there are question marks next to both Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey.

He also remains one of a dozen centre-backs (out of 87) to not be dribbled past and at six foot five, that’s certainly an impressive feat.

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Given his natural ability and size, there is clearly a strong centre-back developing under Dyche and Everton will hope he can continue to go from strength to strength as they look to turn around their fortunes.

Unfortunately for Branthwaite and his good form, Everton’s problems lie at the other end of the pitch, as a lack of goal and potency in front of goal continue to hold them back.

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