Not necessarily in the humble manner in which they lost here against Southampton, but he was sure that Everton’s unbeaten run would eventually come to an end.
Carlo Ancelotti knew that day would come.
Verdict – Phil Kirkbride gives the final word as Everton suffer their first Premier League defeat of the season in Southampton
So it would not have taken long after this loss on the south coast, the first of Everton’s season, for Ancelotti’s thoughts to turn to the northeast and the trip to Newcastle next weekend.
But he said the real focus would be not on how they lost – although that won’t prevent some open discussion at the Finch Farm this week – but on how they react. How they react.
That, as he said, the bubble would eventually burst.
Richarlison remains suspended for next weekend’s game, and at that point Lucas Digne will join him on the sidelines, who has been red-carded for kicking Kyle Walker-Peters on the ankle, while James Rodriguez will have his left hamstring tightened and checked at the end of this miserable afternoon.
But as he prepares for this game at St. James’ Park, Ancelotti will have to realize that something has gone wrong here, because the Everton team he picks up there could be further decimated than the one that traveled here.
This will certainly be painful. It certainly didn’t work today.
But perhaps we are dealing with a broader problem here.
By the way, Everton still hasn’t won a league game without Richarlison, and if Ancelotti had hoped that Alex Iwobi and then Bernard, who was substituted at halftime, would show that they could fill the gap adequately, he was disappointed.
Listen, we can’t lose sight of the fact that this is Everton’s first defeat in the first nine league and cup games of the season and that the Blues continue to top the Premier League table.
The first defeat after such a run was always painful, especially after such a poor performance, but Ancelotti and his players were outstanding. This does not change anything. The excitement and hope for this team under this manager is there for a good reason.
It was an excellent start to the election campaign and this loss should not distract from that.
But to rebound, as he and we all hope, the manager has to find a way to streamline things.
The only clean sheet Everton has kept in the league this season was at the Spurs on the opening weekend of the season when, after a couple of good saves from Jordan Pickford that kept it 0-0, Jose Mourinho’s side held off and should have won by a larger margin, so much was their dominance.
As dazzling as Everton’s attack was, the laws of averages over the course of a season say there will be more games like this one.
More games where there is no Richarlison (he definitely misses the next two), where Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is used to minimal touching but expects at least quality service, is isolated and well-replaced, and where Rodriguez can’t put up a defense, no matter how hard he tries.
Since then, the Blues have cashed twice in the league against West Brom, once at Palace, twice at home against Brighton (even if one was in time), twice against Liverpool and twice here.