After passing what manager Frank Lampard called a true test of character at the Carabao Cup this week, Everton will head to Gtech Community Stadium in search of their first Premier League win of the season when they battle Brentford on Saturday.
An 88th-minute tally at home to Nottingham Forest helped the Toffees earn their first point of the domestic campaign last weekend, while the Bees conceded late to Fulham, dropping their first encounter of the competition, 3-2.
A rough opening 20 minutes last weekend had the Bees chasing their encounter against the Cottagers, but to their credit, the visitors fought back and nearly nabbed a point before Aleksandar Mitrovic put the home side up for good in the 90th minute.
While disappointed with the end result, manager Thomas Frank saw a lot of positives come out of that encounter, notably his team’s never say die attitude as they came back from two goals behind for a second time this season, just as they did in their opening fixture when they drew Leicester City 2-2.
Frank has implemented a 24-hour rule with his squad after matches to either savour a victory or sulk over a defeat before moving on, and his side looked rejuvenated and well prepared in their cup tie versus Colchester this week, carrying the play with 65% possession and winning comfortably 2-0.
In their inaugural EPL campaign last season, the Bees achieved a league double versus the Toffees, shutting them out 1-0 at home and then erasing a pair of one-goal deficits at Goodison Park back in May to win 3-2.
The Toffees were one of only three teams that Brentford managed to win both league fixtures against over the previous campaign (also Watford and West Ham).
Brentford have looked solid defensively at Gtech Community Stadium, maintaining a clean sheet in five of their last six Premier League matches played in West London.
In their opening home fixture season, they became just the third side to put four goals past Man United in the opening half, in what was their biggest ever victory since joining the EPL.
They have never lost an EPL encounter at home when scoring the opening goal, claiming maximum points in six of those seven matches, while failing to concede in each of those triumphs.
Everton narrowly escaped relegation in their previous domestic campaign, and they find themselves in some early danger this season, with just a single point from three games.
That is their worst start in this competition in over a decade, while they have only gone winless in their first four matches of a season on two occasions, in 2010-11 and 1994-95.
On Tuesday at the Carabao Cup, Lampard said that he was pleased with the outcome but added that his players were struggling with their quality of play.
Among other things, the Everton boss felt they failed to make that killer pass, while looking a bit loose at times, though they ultimately defeated League One side Fleetwood Town, 1-0.
Just one of their nine previous visits to West London against Brentford have gone the way of the Toffees, with that lone triumph dating back to September 1952 in a 4-2 victory when both sides played in the second tier of English football.
The Toffees had a rough go against teams from London last season, claiming just one point in their six away visits after picking up 15 out of a possible 18 points in the British capital in 2020-21.
With two goals in three league fixtures, it is the fewest tallies that Everton have managed at this stage of a Premier League campaign since 2019-20, when they only found the back of the net once in their opening three encounters.
Christian Norgaard picked up his first goal of the domestic season for Brentford in their defeat to Fulham last weekend, while Ivan Toney is tied with Josh Dasilva for the team lead in Premier League goals, scoring his second of the season, and Mathias Jensen is now tied with Toney for most assists on the Bees, picking up his second last Saturday.
Keane Lewis-Potter and Mads Bech Sorensen had the only goals in their 2-0 triumph over Colchester in midweek, Thomas Strakosha stopped four shots to collect a clean sheet and Ryan Trevitt made his first-team debut, replacing Halil Dervisoglu for the final 18 minutes plus stoppage time.
Kristoffer Ajer could be back after taking a knock earlier in the season, Ethan Pinnock is out until mid-December with a knee injury and Sergi Canos will not be available until early September due to a hamstring strain.
Demarai Gray had the equaliser in the Toffees draw with Forrest last Saturday, and he had the only strike in their Carabao Cup victory on Tuesday, while their only other tally in this domestic campaign came from an own-goal by former left-back Lucas Digne in a 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa.
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is the only Everton player with an assist after three EPL encounters, while his backup Asmir Begovic made four stops against Fleetwood Town to help them advance into the third round of the Carabao Cup.
Andros Townsend is out until early October with an ACL issue, while Andre Gomes, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Tom Davies all have muscle injuries.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin remains sidelined with a sore knee, while Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey are unlikely to feature with muscle injuries.
Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Henry, Mee, Jansson, Hickey; Janelt, Norgaard, Dasilva; Lewis-Potter, Toney, Mbeumo
Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Holgate, Coady, Tarkowski; Mykolenko, McNeil, Iwobi, Patterson; Gordon, Rondon, Gray