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Reasons to be Cheerful

By Fran Mitchell :  30/07/2009 :  Comments (18) :
Everton, as the squad currently stands is the ONLY squad that has improved since the end of last season. The return of Yak, and soon to return Arteta, plus the development of Rodwell puts us in a nice position to start the season.

Arteta was becoming a top-class player before his injury, his return alone will improve the team massively. He started the season slow; it's a possibility he will start slow again but I believe he will hit form before December this time around.

Yak will give us 15-20 goals; we never had that last season, we relied too heavily on set-pieces, now we have someone who will score in open play consistently.

Yes we will get the annoying 'like-new signings' headline... BUT THEY ARE! And they are as good of a reason to be as exited as a new signing would. There is also Fellaini, who I expect to have a brilliant campaign. The jury is still out, and rightly so, but a year older, improved English and a full pre-season under his belt, I can see a brilliant player emerging.

On top of that we have a fit Tim Cahill, who won't need to play 50 games, so there's a good chance of him staying fit all season. Pienaar is also fit, unlike the start of last season, and is looking like a top-quality player. The prospect of him, Arteta and Fellaini in full flow is exciting. Also Vaughan, but I ain't expecting too much from him (rather be suprised than disappointed).

It appears a matter of time before Joleon moves to City. If the money is spent on an adequate replacement and another then we are in a very good position in my opinion. Apart from City no-one else in the battle for top-6/7 has improved:

  • Villa are much weaker, the loss of Laursen led to season collapse, and no Barry replacement.
  • Spurs signed another right-back but still no left-back, no fit centre-backs, no reliable goalkeeper and Portsmouth's old strike partnership. Modric will improve, he's a possible great player; no solid centre-mid to partner Palacios. The biggest problem they have had for two seasons is balance, and no sign of it emerging.
  • Arsenal could be great next season. Toure and Adebayor were both over-rated and no real loss. However, all depends on ifs: if Walcott develops and stays injury free; if Van Persie stays fit; if Rosicky stays fit; if Bentdner learns to shoot... Still no solid goalkeeper, and they still have the error-prone Gallas.
  • Chelsea are yet to improve the squad; Zhirkov is good but so is Malouda (well, under Hiddink anyway). They still rely heavily on Essien and Lampard. Joe Cole is till injured.
  • Liverpool will lose Alonso, A massive loss. Gerrard (who should be in prison) needs him as does Torres, Mascerano is a world class terrior, but his passing is average. Lucas is very poor. Johnson is a good signing, but still no reliable wide-men, however Kuyt is under-rated.
  • Man City, some good signings, but that forward line is not as great as it should be for £120M. Santa-Cruz is a crock, only one double-figure season in his entire career. Adebayor is over-rated, scores some great goals, but needs 5 chances before he puts one away (a modern Andy Cole). Tevez is class, but also has poor finishing and needs a run in the team to get up to form. Bellamy is a crock. Robinho is quality at home, but away from home? They will suffer seriously with trying to develop a settled team. Also, Toure is not a top-class defender; he was good in a great team at Arsenal, he was poor in an decent team.
  • Man Utd lost Ronaldo, but Rooney could really step it up this season. They really need Anderson to develop. Vidic seems unsettled, was less brilliant in last quarter of last season. Still expect to win league however.
Of course we can/should improve, injuries will occur, teams will sign some other player, players might start in poor form etc, but at this moment, 1 month before season starts, and even without new signings I am confident ahead of the new season.

Reader Comments

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Michael Parrington
1   Posted 31/07/2009 at 02:25:45

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Fran, a very positive article. I belive that with a fully fit squad Everton can be a challenge to the big 4.

However, its fair to assume (as for all clubs) that there will be a similar number of injuries occur if the same number of games are played in the season. That is to say that it is likely that instead of it being the Yak, Jags and Arteta it could be another 3 first choice, first team players who are injured in this upcoming season.

I think its very clear that in comparison to the other teams mentioned (perhaps with the exception of Villa) that Everton has quite a weakness in squad depth and is less likely to be able to replace the first choice for a position with an equally capable player. Importantly this prevents Everton from being as competitive as the teams around us in the League.

Having a second string squad that is very competitive will be important if we want to continue to push upwardly in the league. This was evident in just how difficult it was to beat Man U in the semi-final last year.

Certainly there is some room for improvement with the purchase of some new players. The good thing for us is that Moyes is aware of this. Hopefully he will get some funding to at least provide capable players to cover any injuries during the season.
John Maxwell
2   Posted 31/07/2009 at 06:09:16

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Well said.

Remember its the teams below as well who are trying to catch up with us.

We have an excellent squad with world class players to come back into the 1st team.

It would be great to have 20-30m to spend but it doesnt guarantee success. Spurs, Newcastle ?? Even Liverpool has spent millions trying to win the league..

Rodwells development will be a big factor in how well we do this coming season.

Looking forward to it already.
Anthony Newell
3   Posted 31/07/2009 at 07:26:29

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Sorry for bursting the bubble here but unless we replace the poorer players in our side (HIbbert, Osman, Neville) we have no chance of going toe-to-toe with the top 4 sides never mind breaking into their cosy party

By the time Arteta, Jags, and Yakubu are all cooking on gas together a third of the season will have elapsed. If we had had a fully fit eleven GOING into the season then I would be a lot more positive as well

The job of retaining fifth, never mind breaking the top four cartel has become a much more difficult task with what City have been doing. The usual story I’m afraid — we a bit more inspiration than perspiration to get us there and the players to provide that cost money we don’t have
Tony Marsh
4   Posted 31/07/2009 at 08:51:00

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Positivity is a wonderfull thing, Fran, and it sure beats the negative vibe I get for the coming season. I fear that once Lescott goes to City and some of his old pals at Everton hear how great it is at Eastlands earning £90k a week, there will be trouble at Mill.

Apathy and lack of faith in the board is another problem both fans and players will find hard to dismiss this season as well. Kenwright is on his last legs as far as kidding us all along goes. Arteta is restless... so is Pienaar and it won't be long before more players want out.

If we start this new campaign as we finished the last — and this means showing even more faith in Osman and Hibbert — we can forget about doing anything of note especially with Jagz, Arteta and Yakubu still injured.

Man City will be the biggest challenge to the top 4, not us. It makes me laugh the way some of our lot think City won't improve beyond all recognition just because they are City. It's impossible not to improve with all the quality Hughes has brought in...

Still, Fran, love your optimism; hope you are right but I just don't see it, mate.

Alan Clarke
5   Posted 31/07/2009 at 09:45:16

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After last season’s 5th place finish and cup final appearance I was feeling positive about Everton. Now I feel as let down as the summer after we finished 4th. Another opportunity to push on and really challenge the CL places is passing us by. Previously since our 4th place finish those around us have not made massive efforts to push on either hence our ability to finish 5th for two consecutive seasons but this summer is different. CIty are a real threat and although Moyes will steady the ship and keep us in the top 10 possibly top 6 or 7 we won’t be pushing on and making any progress.

Be prepared to hear the same stuff from our manager at the start of this season about it being a hard transfer market to operate in due to inflated prices and how competitive the league is and therefore we should be looking at top 10 as an acheivement. As each week passes without any imminent signings the more and more sceptical I become about BKs reign as chairman. If Osman starts against Arsenal Billy liar will have shown he does not have what it takes to be a PL chairman. He cannot back or support his manager when it was most needed.
Rupert Sullivan
6   Posted 31/07/2009 at 10:44:52

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Fran, nice positive article but do you really think EFC have strengthened the team in this close season? I don’t see how the addition of a couple of teenagers and an untried midfielder counts as an improvement. I agree with Tony Marsh also in that I think the players themselves at some point are going to question the bollocks spouted by the club year on year. The fans were assured quick signings this window using money set aside... maybe the players know more, but I suspect this continual shite will reap its rewards sonner rather than later.

I don’t think City will be the great challenge everyone thinks - not because they are City, simply because I don’t think you can bring that many players in and expect them to gel quickly enough. In addition, I think that they have too many players in some positions for those players to maintain any level of consistency.

Nevertheless, if EFC don’t actually improve then the fight for 5th spot will be harder than it was last year.
Ciarán McGlone
7   Posted 31/07/2009 at 11:33:01

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Usually your posts are top notch..but this is daft..

We are the ONLY squad to have improved? Because injured players may be back at some stage before xmas?

Even though other teams have added to their first teams?

Seriously Fran?
Dan McKie
8   Posted 31/07/2009 at 11:47:44

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Part agree and disagree with this! I dont think we have strengthed, I think Tottenham have (just been unlucky so far with injuries), Crouch is a good signing! Agree about the Man U, Liverpool and Chelsea, but they are strong anyway. Man U’s defence won it for them last season more than anything! Villa are weaker, and Man City, nobody knows how they will do, but you would expect an improvement based on the players they have signed, even though they have signed big egos who have only gone there because of big money!
Tony Marsh
9   Posted 31/07/2009 at 12:37:27

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Dan, how do you know that the players who have gone to City have done so because they think they will stand more chance of picking up silverware and challenging for the title than they would of at the clubs they left.

Granted it's big money salaries at City but history over the past 10 years shows us that the teams who spend big and pay big win big.

Chelsea were nothing untill the Russian money came in, Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal have all won major trophies in this period and all 4 are the biggest payers and spenders. What makes City any different.? Oh I forgot: Bernard Manning supported them so they must be crap.
Marcus Dawson
10   Posted 31/07/2009 at 13:43:23

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Tony, don’t forget Eddie Large, another reason they will fail.

This thread could be re-titled ’Blind Optimism’, I simply can’t see how we’ve moved forward yet, but I keep hoping. Other teams have and will progress between now and the end of the window and City will be a force, but maybe it will take a little time.

I’m perplexed by events (or otherwise) at EFC, the optimism in May has slowly evaporated and I’m now left wondering what the clubs policy really is. Does anyone seriously trust the stories and messages coming out of Goodison regarding transfers? So far it’s been another depressingly damp summer.......

Dean Adams
11   Posted 31/07/2009 at 13:52:52

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What is it with so many fans? Why do you think that, because the club have not completed any major signings, that Lescott will leave and others will follow?

I find it totally unbelievable that after the way the club has moved forward gradually but consistently over the last 7 years with Moyes, you lot can come out with the biggest pile of guff ever uttered. Just take a step back, take a deep breath and remind yourselves of where we were.

It ain’t a perfect scenario but at least we are bigger and stronger now. We are in Europe and we are gaining respect, slowly but surely.

Where I live kids are now wearing EFC shirts and being talked about in the same breath as Man U. A huge leap forward, yet so many of the posters on this site show their lack of faith by spouting utter crap at the first hurdle.

Just remember that Rome was not built in a day, nor for that matter was the world, so why are you thinking that Man City will suddenly do the impossible? Too many egos will cause friction when they don’t get their own way. A few defeats, not getting selected as one of the starting strikers or being on the bench will soon deflate some egos and the firewoks will start.

Give your club the support that as chosen supporters they deserve!!

Gavin Ramejkis
12   Posted 31/07/2009 at 14:40:41

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Dean I’ll tell you "what it is with so many fans", the players themselves are now making sounds, surely even a modicum of common sense would say they too are getting fed up with being bullshitted too. They too hear Elstone saying faces would be coming in early to bed in with enough time before the season starts. Well is that it then a couple of kids and some unknown US college guy?

The trouble with our leaps forward is that we then fail to take the next step, the tangible letdown is the biggest part of the letdown. DM and our tiny squad overachieved beyond belief last season but as the injuries came home to roost we all thought that with a few additions, just a bloody few, and maybe replacement of our less skilled players we would be stronger.

I can’t fault Fran for his optomism but stronger? As bad a line as almost like having new players.
Marcus Dawson
13   Posted 31/07/2009 at 15:11:16

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I think Gavin’s right, we’re fed up with the bull that comes out of the club. No self respecting fan could fail to impressed with the players, coaches and manager, they’ve done us proud and performed brilliantly with limited resources. We all want to see the club kick on next season, but ’so many fans’ don’t believe the board can match our ambition.
Dennis Stevens
14   Posted 31/07/2009 at 16:55:25

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So we’re the only club to have improved our squad? Whilst others have made the mistake of signing players, we have been astute in releasing players & not replacing them, confident in the knowledge that we will be getting players back from injury, eventually ......

I still remember Aston Villa winning the title & only using 14 players all season — no doubt that’s the model we’re hoping to emulate! You can’t half tell it’s the silly season.

Sean Patton
15   Posted 31/07/2009 at 18:39:45

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Even more good news the young lads have just retained the Milk Cup, the boy Hope again scoring goals for fun.

We could well have our own group of wonderkids to rival Fergies Fledgings in a couple of years
Neil Pearse
16   Posted 31/07/2009 at 23:07:49

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Bit too positive for me too Fran, but you are making a good point that (apart from City) few if any of the other clubs around us have strengthened significantly SO FAR. Still a month to go though.

Apart from Man City, what is striking is that it seems that all the clubs are facing significant financial pressures (despite all the desperation and alarm on this site, they are virtually all in significantly more debt than we are). I’ve been a bit surprised at how little Spurs and especially Villa have done in the transfer market, and Liverpool and Arsenal look to be watching the pennies carefully now too.

So getting Jo and a couple more signings might not look all that bad. Especially if we go some way towards fixing the ’right hand side’ problem. Lescott would be a loss, but good business and replaceable with £20M+. Everyone is going to lose players to a club prepared to double wages.

And Tony I think you are way too positive about Man City, and the Chelsea comparison is very misleading. Chelsea had much stronger management than Hughes (he’s not exactly Mourinho), and a strong ’core’ in the team with Cech, Terry and Lampard. Man City have neither, and really have (unlike Chelsea) bought a bunch of mercenaries. Arsenal are actually glad to be rid of Adebayor and Toure - that really tells you a lot. Barry is not mourned by Villa either after all his wanting away. I think Hughes is more likely to be fired in January than be in the top four. Actually, Jose might fancy coming back and showing his old team and SAF a thing or two. Then I might really start to worry.
Peter Roberts
17   Posted 01/08/2009 at 11:11:33

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Arteta is restless so is Piennar and it wont be long before more players want out.

Quote, unquote the Oracle aka Tony Marsh.

Tony, you cannot be serious about this, can you? I know you come across in very negative tones but surely this is pure sensationalism. Arteta has never been happier here and Pienaar’s contract negotiations have gone well. Please don’t tell me you actually believe what the Daily Fail says about football. I know more about knitting than they do about football. So give us a break, please. It’s bad enough with Lescott in the media spotlight over whether he will or won’t go without our own supporters dreaming up situations that simply aren’t the case and stirring up more potential sensationalist bull.
Stewart Littler
18   Posted 02/08/2009 at 18:50:32

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Anthony, with the exception of the opening game, we don’t play a top 4 team until November, when we will have all of the injured players back.

Tony, they spent over £50m last season and got worse. No guarantees in anything anymore, thing is, they can afford to experiment, many others can’t. Chelsea were already in the CL when the Russian came btw.

Have faith Blues, the steady improvement will continue.

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