Everton manager David Moyes is hoping that Mikel Arteta can soon recapture his form.
The Spaniard has been Everton's leading light in recent years, but he has failed to live up to his own high expectations this season.
And with Australian ace Tim Cahill ready to take part in the Asia Cup, which means around six weeks out, Moyes is desperate for Arteta to take up some of the slack.
"We really need him to come back to form," said Moyes.
"Mikel would be the first to admit he's not had the best start. I'm trying to find reasons because he's a big part of how we go forward.
"We were determined to keep him in the face of a lot of interest in the summer, and maybe because of that, Mikel is carrying a lot of expectation on his shoulders.
"But he can step up in Tim's absence. The players look up to Mikel for his play and I hope the second half of the season will see him come back the way he did last year.
"Quality is permanent and it will come back. He's regarded as one of the best midfielders in the league for a reason."
Moyes admits the absence of Cahill will be a huge blow to Everton and he insists he has never signed a better player.
"Tim's probably the best bit of business I've ever done and I don't think I will ever do one as good as that again," he said.
"You might pick someone up from abroad but lower league players are all identified quickly now. It may be five or six million, which would be difficult for us.
"We know we need an addition but where do you find a striker in January for no real cash?
"We have lacked the type of player who can take the fight to the opposition. Tim has done that very well and we'll certainly miss him for that."