New Spurs manager Antonio Conte’s record v Everton superb but Rafa Benitez offers hope ahead of Tottenham game
The former Chelsea, Inter Milan and Juventus bosss’ first Premier League game in charge of the Londoners will be at Goodison Park on Sunday.
There's an air of inevitability around the corner - if the mood on social media is anything to go by.
Everton fans are already bracing themselves for the worst ahead of their clash against Tottenham at Goodison Park on Sunday.
That's because of one reason: Antonio Conte's appointment as Spurs manager.
The Italian takes over from Nuno Espirito Sancho, who was sacked just 10 games into the Premier League season after a woeful start in north-east London.
Conte's renowned as one of the world's best coaches, winning a combined four Serie A titles with Juventus and Inter Milan, along with guiding Chelsea to Premier League glory in 2017.
So often, you get a “new-manager bounce” when a fresh appointment has been made. Players get a fillip and there’s an extra spring in their step.
And where is Conte’s maiden top-flight game? That’s right. Goodison. Talk about bad luck and that.
Everton are still licking their wounds after three successive defeats, with the latest coming at Wolves on Monday.
As things stand, four key players in Abdoulaye Doucoure, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Luca Digne will again be injured, and Toffees have hit a rough patch following a bright opening to the campaign.
However, some managers have their bogey teams they simply can’t beat despite trying everying.
Then there are others and struggle to outfox certain counterparts.
So what is Conte's record like against Everton and Rafa Benitez? We take a look.
What's Conte's record against Everton?
It's fair to say that the Toffees have not enjoyed coming up against the former Bari chief.
He took charge of Chelsea five times against Everton when in the Stamford Bridge dugout.
In the 2016-17 season, when the Londoners were crowned champions, Ronaldo Koeman's-then side were emphatically put to the sword in both encounters.
Chelsea thrashed Everton 5-0 in the capital before running out comfortable 3-0 victors at Goodison Park later in the campaign.
The following term, the Toffees were beaten 2-0 by Conte's side in the top flight before then losing 2-1 in the Carabao Cup fourth round. Both were at Stamford Bridge.
David Unsworth took charge as caretaker boss of the latter match after the sacking of Koeman.
Finally, in the 19th game of the season, Everton managed to avoid a reverse when they faced Conte's troops.
With Sam Allardyce now at the helm, the Blues managed to nullify Chelsea to a goalless stalemate on Merseyside.
What is Rafa Benitez's record like against Conte?
The Everton boss has also had five past battles with Conte - and has a more than respectable record.
Heading into the sixth round, Benitez is just down on the scorecards but very much still in the fight.
Despite both being veterans of the technical area, their first meeting surprisingly didn't take place until November 2013.
Conte's Juventus ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Benitez's Napoli in Turin.
But when the reverse fixture took place in Naples the following March, the Spaniard got his revenge with a 2-0 success.
In their three skirmishes in the Premier League, Benitez was very much the underdog while Newcastle United supremo against Conte. The Spaniard was hamstrung by financial restraints under previous owner Mike Ashley.
Their maiden clash in England arrived in December 2017, with Chelsea running out 3-1 winners at Stamford Bridge.
Then there was another encounter just a month later - this time in the FA Cup - with Conte's men cruising to a 3-0 success.
But Newcastle would get their revenge signed off that season in brilliant style.
In Benitez's final meeting with Conte on the final day of the campaign, he gave the Toon Army plenty to cheer about over the summer.
The Magpies romped to a deserved 3-0 triumph, having dominated Chelsea throughout.