It is typically during these periods when the treatment room is bloated that teams show their mettle.

When Richarlison joined Calvert-Lewin earlier this month on the injury list following a wild tackle from Burnley’s James Tarkowski, Everton fans could be forgiven for cursing their luck as Benitez showed early signs of being able to strike the perfect balance in his short time as Toffees boss.

Instead, Everton have rallied in the absence of their dynamic duo. Their 100% home record was maintained with a convincing 2-0 victory over Norwich, with Andros Townsend and Abdoulaye Doucoure stepping up as Benitez called for big personalities.

Andros Townsend

Townsend tucks away his first half penalty / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Although there was inevitable criticism after last weekend’s defeat to Aston Villa, the result flattered the home side. The game was ultimately lost for Everton amid a crazy nine-minute period in which the Villa Park atmosphere roared their side into an unassailable lead. Nonetheless, the response today was welcome from an Everton perspective.

Demarai Gray, moved into a central role in the absence of Calvert-Lewin, has shone as an attacking threat. The Englishman spurned a great chance last weekend against Aston Villa but he is beginning to develop a knack of being in the right place at the right time. He was a menace for the Norwich defence throughout the 90 minutes, building on his impressive performances against Leeds and Burnley this term, before leaving to a standing ovation from the Everton crowd.

Everton’s adaptability is perhaps best evidenced in the introduction of Salomon Rondon to the lineup after the Venezualan’s arrival on deadline day. The 32-year-old has been thrust into the Goodison Park limelight quicker than Benitez would have ideally planned for. Again, he looked short of sharpness against a dismal Norwich backline, but the attacking responsibility is being alleviated by others.

Meanwhile, Andros Townsend once again brought Goodison Park to its feet with his directness on the right-hand side. Although there was no repeat of his screamer against Burnley earlier this month, the former Crystal Palace winger has slotted in seamlessly to Benitez’s side. His threat from deliveries was evident against Norwich, missing only the powerful aerial threat of Calvert-Lewin to direct them goalwards.

Elsewhere, Ben Godfrey, who had developed into a commanding presence at the heart of Ancelotti’s defence last term, has filled in commendably at right back in the absence of Seamus Coleman. The former Norwich defender showed his defensive intelligence in periods this afternoon, with his tendency to tuck in alongside Yerry Mina and Michael Keane granting license for Lucas Digne to position himself higher on the left-hand side.

Abdoulaye Doucoure

Doucoure celebrates his second half strike / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The news this week from Benitez that both Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin would be missing through the upcoming international break could have tempered the mood at Goodison Park before kick-off.

Instead, a hard-working Everton side have left their egos at the door to give Benitez three home wins from three to start life on the blue half of Merseyside.

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