By Goodison News speaking to Kevin Campbell

19th Aug, 2022 | 6:40am

Sky Sports pundit refutes Everton relegation battle criticism from Richard Keys

We’re delighted to welcome former Everton striker Kevin Campbell as our exclusive columnist. Each week the former Toffees captain will be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Goodison Park…

Everton will not be in another relegation battle this season before of improvements to the defence, according to former captain Kevin Campbell.

After a second-straight loss of the season at Aston Villa on Saturday 13 August Richard Keys had argued with Andy Gray live on beIN Sports, suggesting that the Toffees players are not good enough and last season’s narrow escape is now their level.

But the opening two defeats have both been tight and the club’s transfer business is not yet done, so Sky Sports pundit Campbell is confident that the increased fight at the back will serve them well once the pressing need to add a striker is addressed.

In reaction to Keys’ suggestion that it will be more of the same this year and the club will be fighting against the drop he exclusively told Goodison News: “I don’t think they will. I don’t think they will. I don’t think Everton’s going to be struggling once they get the striker in, or strikers.

“Solely because they’ve strengthened in defence. You could see it hasn’t been capitulations like we’ve seen with Everton. 

“I mean Everton’s first game they played Chelsea. I thought it was a pretty even game. One mistake, unfortunately [Abdoulaye] Doucoure brought the player down, penalty, and that was the difference in the game. 

“Everton had chances, couldn’t finish. So that’s exactly why we’re talking about strikers. 

“Aston Villa at home is always going to be a tough game. Villa turned it on, Everton resisted, and Everton came back into the game and probably could have equalised if it wasn’t for some great defending by Aston Villa. 

“It’s not as if Everton haven’t performed. They have just been too light up front in my opinion. As soon as they get that addressed I think Everton are going to be alright, I really do. 

Ultimately results are the bottom line and on paper things don’t look to have improved greatly from the previous campaign.

But it took Chelsea to score from the spot to beat a Toffees side without a recognised striker who lost two starting defenders to injury, and were it not for a crucial last-ditch tackle at Villa Park Amadou Onana could have capped off his all action debut with an equaliser.

For those paying attention there has been enough from the opening matches to suggest there are signs of improvement from this side, but the forward issue needs sorting as soon as possible, and points on the board are the only thing that will matter.