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Title contenders! Get me out of here.

Comments (78)

This is scary. The Hawksby and Jacobs (H&J) show on TalkSport, good for intelligent discussion, had Jacobs (Chelsea) last week dismissing as far-fetched the idea put forward by a mate of his that Everton could win the Premier League this season.

Settle for that... but in today's programme they did it again and this time it freaked me out. Far-fetched had translated into serious contenders for the title; great squad, a team of "big-time" players, superb manager, fans to die for. Only reservation was keeping hold of Arteta.

This is good to hear but, at this stage, I'd rather not hear it. We need to keep below the radar and not raise expectations.
Frank Nolan, southport     Posted 12/07/2010 at 21:33:56

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Kirk McArdle
1   Posted 13/07/2010 at 04:27:51

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"We need to keep below the radar and not raise expectations."

Er... sorry. I think you will find quite a few pundits and commentators are saying that they think an injury free full season Everton team could be the ones to fear this year.

The odd squad player here and there but the nucleolus of the side that was the form side since xmas and I think this will be the best season for a long time (including the 4th place season)

Moyes said a while ago when asked about his transfer targets for this summer his reply was something like "There is not much in the way of funds for new players. My targets for this summer and most of the money available will be going to secure long term contracts for the current players"

Even Moyes believes his Everton Injury free squad can be a match for any team.
Jamie Sweet
2   Posted 13/07/2010 at 04:41:18

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It is far fetched..... but if you had said the same thing prior to previous campaigns, it would have been branded "completely fucking ridiculous"... so for it to now only be "far fetched" shows how far we've come!

I personally think we're at least a lightning fast winger (not mentioning any names) and a 20+ goal striker away from challenging. That striker may already be in our squad, I just can't think who it might be from the current bunch.
Keith Glazzard
3   Posted 13/07/2010 at 04:42:35

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A number of TWebbers have been arguing for a few seasons now that our limited resources should be diverted away from costly transfers and into the wage structure.

Looking at the squad numbers list on the OS, I count 9 players that the likes of MU and even the RS now that they have a manager with a brain, would happily sign. And if the Newkie Broons are paying funny money to acquire one-knee Gosling's services, we can assume that the whole of the squad inhabits the dreams of most of the EPL managers. (I haven't counted L'Arsenal and Chelski as EPL for many years now).

So if Moyes is getting behind solid TW opinion, all the better. And if it does turn out to be a wonderful season, we can take the credit!
Michael Kenrick
4   Posted 13/07/2010 at 05:42:41

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I think what we've all got to remember is that anything can happen in football. Yes, on paper, we're good,,, but perhaps not quite good enough. Yet we have David Moyes, who is supposed to be this great manger, but who has so far achieved little of any real note. Well, already HE has nailed his colours to the mast. HE is going for it. And I applaud that.

And we have loads of fans who absolutely adore him, and who have been livid with me for daring to point up his faults these past years. Well, now is the time. All the teams start on zero points. If David Moyes is worth his salt, he carries over into the start of the season the tremendous momentum achieved last season, the self-belief that We Are Everton, and that we CAN sweep all before us.

I'm gonna keep saying this, because I think it;'s true: he needs to believe, like he's never believed before, that he has the players to do it. And that he has molded them into a team that CAN do it, that CAN accomplish something that is beyond the level of the individuals themselves. That IS more than the sum of those parts.

You fans who have stood behind him and shouted me down these last eight years ? you it is who must now stand up and be counted. No more doubting; YOU must believe that it IS possible. If we get a good start, and avoid silly defeats or negative draws in the first 5 10, 20 games... then it WILL be possible.

But YOU have to believe!!!
Art Jones
5   Posted 13/07/2010 at 05:46:19

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A big coincidence, I know, but in the 1983-84 season, after a less than auspicious start, after a 27 December 1983 defeat by Wolves, we only lost 3 more league games until the end of the season. And our season would have ended much better if we could have converted a large amount of draws into wins .... Similar?

Having said that, we had a few good cup runs that season to increase our optimism. Still, we can but hope for a bit of luck with injuries and keeping the squad together... and one right winger???

Adam Fenlon
6   Posted 13/07/2010 at 07:26:23

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Let's start against Melbourne Heart tomorrow!!
Mike McLean
7   Posted 13/07/2010 at 07:47:54

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At the risk of spoiling a good party, I'm going to mention one of the two things that will spoil our chances for next season: Tim Howard. He will convert wins into draws and draws into defeats.

The midfield is, in my opinion, the best since K/B/H, but it will be to no avail with a nut case between the posts. Sadly.
Iain Love
8   Posted 13/07/2010 at 08:08:26

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Theoretically anyone can win the prem next season but realistically you have to look at the contenders.
Chelski = still the ones to beat but look weaker now than before.
Manure = as above maybe more so
Arsenal = depends on Fabby
Spurs = I think/hope Europe will distract them
Villa = Bottle merchants
Citeh = Will drop points in Prem whilst new players settle in, but a force never the less.
RS = going down the pan.
Us = No european distractions , settled team and a fully fit squad plus the youngsters a year older and the hope that the new signings do well. Really need to keep what we have and 1 big signing, can't see us winning it but best chance for years.
David S Shaw
9   Posted 13/07/2010 at 08:50:28

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If we can stay injury free???

When was the last time a team stayed injury free?

If we're relying on being injury free then we're screwed.
Lee Mandaracas
10   Posted 13/07/2010 at 08:44:21

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Mike McLean #7 ? I'm sorry but WHAT???

Are you really saying that the one 'keeper in our club's entire history to better Big Nev's first 100 game record is crap?!!! Howard has a better record from joining us than Southall did ? FACT.

Calling him a 'nut case' is bang out of order (I can only presume you are eluding to his Tourettes) and not a single element of your post qualifies why you are so dead set against him.

I can accept he has made a few, and I do mean few, mistakes with often changing defence ahead of him but I believe he masters his area well.

He is prone to errors, like anyone, and I admit his kicking leaves a lot to be desired ? especially on backpasses. However, I cannot think of any 'keeper in the Premier League I would rather have between our sticks.
Graham Holliday
11   Posted 13/07/2010 at 09:10:01

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I'm not sure how much it's US that needs to believe, more so the players ? and certainly Moyes himself.

I think that's imperative.

There will be times ? like, say Blackburn first game of the season ? that we don't necessarily need to go gung-ho. Possibly, I'd settle for a draw in that one (though obviously that doesn't mean play defensively ? still try and win the game)... but the key is games throughout the season that are there to be won.

No more, try and guarantee the draw and nick a win. We're better than that now. In all home games, and many away ones ? we should go out from the start to take teams apart. And if it's not quite happening ? aggressive substitutions to get it happening.

Sure, the fans must play their part in getting the Old Lady rocking, but it is the players and the manager who must now have the conviction to play like a truly top team.
Rob Murphy
12   Posted 13/07/2010 at 09:30:48

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With no European games stretching the limits of our squad, I think we are heading into this season as a serious team who most teams will fear playing, especially at Goodison.

I believe...
Lee Smith
13   Posted 13/07/2010 at 09:35:52

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Woah, that was weird.... I could have sworn I just sat here at my computer at work, reading an article on ToffeeWeb, in which Evertonians were talking about the possibly of Everton winning the Premier League title........
Ryan Holroyd
14   Posted 13/07/2010 at 09:37:54

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Mike McLean - you prick
Jason Lam
15   Posted 13/07/2010 at 09:44:16

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There's still enough time for Everton.. to do an Everton, by imploding before the new season. Forever the optimist.

Graham Holliday
16   Posted 13/07/2010 at 09:58:09

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Would be good to get Felli back before the season starts too.

As good as Arteta, Rodwell, Cahill, Ossie etc are - Felli definitely makes us a stronger side.

Start the season with Felli-Arteta-Cahill, and Rodwell/Ossie in reserve? Powerful.
Dan McKie
17   Posted 13/07/2010 at 10:37:50

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A prolonged run of games with Arteta and Fellaini in the centre of midfield is what I wish for. Yak and Saha have to both show up from the off, they know that even though we only play 1 up front, they will both get plenty of games during the season.

As for the comment on Howard? He saves us more than not, the only thing I don't like is how often he gets beaten from long distance. His short game is brilliant, but there have been a few times where I have thought 'he should really have had that'. Can't think of anyone we could get that is better though, so I'm not knocking him.

Roger Trenwith
18   Posted 13/07/2010 at 11:11:59

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Title contenders? Huh? It is the silly season after all.

Much as I applaud some very rare optimism on this site, I think a large pinch of salt is needed.

At the outer limits of expectation, 3rd is the absolute best we can hope for. Even IF we keep the best players AND stay injury free (as someone said, when does that ever happen?), can you honestly see us finishing above Chelsea & Man U??? I reckon we'll be fighting with Spurs, City, Arsenal, Shite for 4th.

I will say however it's about time we won a cup!

John Hughes
19   Posted 13/07/2010 at 11:14:10

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Bloody hell ? a TW thread with obvious optimism and praise (Save Mike Mclean).

I'm going into the realms of CM here but what does anyone think of this team and formation?

Neville, Heitinga, Jags, Baines
Rodwell, Fellaini
Bily, Arteta, Pienaar

That's a 4-2-3-1 if it needs explaining but personally I think it's a team with the strongest attacking qualities we have (not sure about the strikers yet so Cahill is in to start) but having Rodwell and Fellaini protecting the back four, both big strong lads who are excellent passers that will able to feed Arteta and Pienaar and Bily, allowing them to get at the opposing side quickly.

The attacking three feeding Cahill, or any of the strikers to be honest, with the quick interpassing and movement would frighten even Chelski and Manure in this league. Look at that team and think about who is on the bench ? Yak, Saha, Osman, Beckford, possibily Donovan (who is maybe a better choice than Bily but isn't here yet?), Mucha, plus a few I haven't mentioned and compare that squad against... well, for starters, the redshite... have a giggle and then compare it agaist Manure, Chelski, the Arse, Spurs? Villa? City even with all their money... are you really scared of any of them breaking down that team with the replacements we have on the bench?

I think there is really a good cause for optimism... how about you?

Roberto Birquet
20   Posted 13/07/2010 at 10:49:30

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Keith G
I haven't counted L'Arsenal and Chelski as EPL for many years now

I haven't counteed anyone as EPL ever. It's PL
----------Michael K; sounding like a kit-kat ad. And that looked dopey soon enough.

Sorry, but seriously... if someone offers me 4th and out of the FA Cup in round 3 right now ? bite hand off etc... Money talks, we ain't got it; but we have accumulated a damned good squad over time, that puts us thereabouts...

Anything less? Then I want the FA Cup, but cups don't show you're a great team; just good and luck of the draw more oft than not. Look at Pompey in '08. West Brom in the semis, Cardiff in the final.

Kunal Desai
21   Posted 13/07/2010 at 11:34:57

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Roger #18 My thoughts exactly. I believe even if the squad can stay injury free it will be a season which will certainly fall shortly of challenging at the top. Players will tire towards the last dozen odd games and as a result of not having the players to rotate around and bringing in like for like players I cannot see how we can challenge for the PL. Without European distractions this season, we should certainly be competing for 4th. However this is Everton and over the years we have not had that bit of lady luck on our side where injuries are concerned. Could this be the year where it all changes??

You feel that having a week whereby we lost to Man. U (A), Hull (A), and Liv (H) is one we certainly cannot afford even if we are chasing for 4th as this can inevitably bring you down a place or two in the final standings and trying to play catch up.

Dennis Stevens
22   Posted 13/07/2010 at 11:46:15

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It's fate! We seem, remarkably, to be coming good just in line with the 24-year rule. Get your bets on!
Mike McLean
23   Posted 13/07/2010 at 12:05:34

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Lee @ #10. Yup. That's my call. Too many instances of nervy nonsense. Last season's games against Blackburn (away) and Stoke (away) stand as testament. I've seen nervy GK's before ... Westy was anything but stable, God knows. BUT West, Southall, Martin, Wood saved stuff that this chap looks at in bewilderment.

His record, I'd suggest, isn't HIS record. It belongs to the defence of that time.

Don't get me wrong, mate. I'll dance bare arsed through the Mersey Tunnel the day we possibly win the title. But I genuinely think he's going to be the weak link.
Mike McLean
24   Posted 13/07/2010 at 12:12:12

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Ryan Holroyd @ # 14: can't really answer that profound criticism. Are you asserting Howard is a genius, or that the team will be sufficiently powerful to negate his weaknesses, or that my estimation of him is completely wrong?

Or are you simply a very angry man?

Again, as with my rsponse to Lee, I'll be more than happy to eat humble pie, but my best guess is that Tim will cost us more thatn he gives us. Hope I'm wrong.
Alasdair Mackay
25   Posted 13/07/2010 at 12:42:44

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The key to winning a title is four-fold, in my opinion. The first two of these we can address now:

1) Do we have strength in depth?

GK - Howard/Mucha
RB - Neville/Hibbert/Coleman
RCB - Heitinga/Yobo/Jagielka
LCB - Distin/Heitinga/Jagielka
LB - Baines
DM - Fellaini/Neville/Heitinga/Rodwell
CM - Arteta/Osman/Rodwell
WM - Pienaar/Osman/Bilyaletdinov/Anichebe/Gueye/Baxter
AM - Cahill/Osman
CF - Yakubu/Saha/Beckford/Silva/Vaughan

I think that answers that question. I would be happy to field any of those players in those positions against any team in the Premier League. Do we need more - no. Would we like a couple more - yes. Hopefully some cover at left back and Donovan would be nice.

2) Do we have players with the experience of competing in a title race before?

Mucha, Heitinga, Fellaini, Pienaar, Arteta and Bilyaletdinov have all competed for titles in "lesser" countries.
Beckford and Jagielka have both been involved in promotion winning campaigns at a lower level in this country.
Neville, Saha and Howard have all won trophies with Man United.

So the answer to that question is also - yes.

3) - Luck - nothing we can do about that one except cross our fingers.

4) Self-belief - this comes as much from the stands as it does from the players on the pitch. It is our responsibility as match-going Evertonians to always be aware that the confidence and self-belief of the players can be boosted dramatically by vocal support from us. Even if someone is having a bad game - get behind them.

At the end of this coming season, if we have not won the title, I don't want to be able to blame anything other than luck. Because with the quality we have on the pitch and the fan-base we have everything else that is required.
David Booth
26   Posted 13/07/2010 at 13:06:45

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Two vital components being in place will decide our fate.

The first is that the team and manager MUST believe we are capable of challenging and stop doffing their cap and voluntarily assuming an inferior posture when faced with the Sky clique.

We showed the most positive signs of doing just that last year when we gave at least as good as we got.

We have a team almost full of players that other clubs openly covet and as fans we know it's the best we've had for more than 20 years.

Secondly, but vitally-interlinked, we have to avoid the unprecedented injuries we had last year, which wrecked our campaign from the outset.

We proved what we can do with the majority of our square pegs in square holes for the last two-thirds of last season.

We simply have to carry that momentum forward - and put a bit of acceptable arrogance into every game we play.

This is Everton after all and it's time we stopped allowing ourselves to be marginalised. Only three clubs can justifiably claim to be 'bigger' than us and people need an urgent reminder.

It's all on a knife-edge though isn't it, as we're notorious slow starters. That cannot be allowed to happen this year, so time for David Moyes to step up to the plate and assume the position too.

I think there are tangible signs he's been doing this recently: growing with the team - his team, our team - as it has taken shape.

I'm not going to name my ideal line-up, as everyone who frequents Toffeeweb will have a different one. But with the likes of Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines, Arteta, Fellaini, Rodwell, Pienaar, Cahill, Saha (when fit) and an emerging Bilyaletdinov to choose from and Coleman, Beckford etc pushing through, we are surely in for a significantly better season than last year.

Whether we can win it is another thing, but if anyone can present an argument for a team better equipped than us, I'd like to hear it?

That being said, I think we'll finish second or third, which would be a bonus in itself.

Anything above that and manufacturers of humble pie will have to work overtime!
Ben Jones
27   Posted 13/07/2010 at 13:33:53

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Nice speech, Michael Kenrick.

I can imagine David Moyes in 300 as Geratd Butler (they're both Scottish) and the rest of Everton team the warriors.

Alan Clarke
28   Posted 13/07/2010 at 13:51:27

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Can we really win the league without Gosling?!!

Also I don't get the fuss about Arteta leaving. He has 2 years left on his contract and I trust he won't force the issue like Lescott. Arteta is happy at Everton for the time being and is far more classy than Lescott in the whole way he conducts himself. If he doesn't sign a new contract we should at least have one more season with him. I'd be inclined to keep Pienaar too and really push for that top 4 spot. That would be the best way of persuading our top players to stay. If we don't make it after this next season then they can go if they want. If this group of players don't make the top 4 then they're not as good as we or they think they are.
John Crawley
29   Posted 13/07/2010 at 13:55:01

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Well I believe that we can win the Premiership and I've put £20 on Everton to do just that at 250-1. Yes we are outsiders and I think the key is as Michael says: "I'm gonna keep saying this, because I think it;'s true: he needs to believe, like he's never believed before, that he has the players to do it. And that he has molded them into a team that CAN do it, that CAN accomplish something that is beyond the level of the individuals themselves. That IS more than the sum of those parts."
If the manager believes then I think that rubs off on the players. Time to throw off the shackles of self doubt and go for it!
Neil Scott
30   Posted 13/07/2010 at 13:59:42

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I have just met half the Everton squad at a function in Melbourne, had a very interesting chat with Steve Round, he said alot.... one thing which stood out was that Everton were close to signing Joe Cole. Steve said it has gone quiet and he think Joe may have signed for Arsenal or man Utd. he said we have agreed things and were very close. speaking to Moyes, rodwell, hibbert, bily, distin, cahill and even the new sigings gueye and silva they all seem very confident about this season. Steve round said if everyone is kept fit there is no reason why we wont be up there. I believe this as well.
James Newcombe
31   Posted 13/07/2010 at 13:57:26

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Landon Donovan is the missing link - I truly believe we could be a consistent force with that lad here. A midfield with Pienaar, Arteta and him would be fearsome going forward. Not to mention Cahill and Bily also available to call upon. I'm looking forward to seeing the Big Fella and Rodwell developing over another season too.
Happy days - makes you think about the Farrelly's, Tilers and Ginolas we had to put up with before!
Matthew Lovekin
32   Posted 13/07/2010 at 13:58:36

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There is an outside chance of us winning the Premier League, but it is literally an outside chance. However, an outside chance is better than no-chance at all, which is what most of the other Premier League sides have, no-chance!

We need everything to go for us this season to realistically win the league, therefore:

1) Fellaini to be fit and ready at the start of the season.

2) Pienaar to stay, this season at least.

3) Arteta to stay this season.

4) Injury free, at least to our main players, for the main parts of the season.

5) We still need a right-winger. If we can afford a marquee player, it's surely got to be Donovan.

6) We could still do with a top quality striker, one that is likely to get at least 20 goals in the season. Whether one of our existing strikers can step up and deliver this is doubtful, otherwise we are still looking for a new top quality striker which we probably can't afford as well as Donovan.

If all of the above happen, we can deliver that trophy, let's bring it home!!!
Alan Kirwin
33   Posted 13/07/2010 at 14:23:41

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Anything is possible, but we are getting carried away a bit. There remains, at this moment, too many imponderables to cast an accurate assessment. They are, simply, the status of: Arteta, Pienaar, Fellaini & Donovan.

If, somehow, somewhere, someday, they all stayed & knuckled down; if there are NO, repeat NO, distractions pre-season and the boys gradually step it up, then I'm prepared to countenance the possibility.

Fact is, despite our standard atrocious start last time around, had we not wasted so many games by drawing when we should have won, then we'd have been up there in the mix.

So we need: resolution of the aforementioned players, a settled pre-season, hit the ground running and we will be in the mix. Of that I have diminishing doubt.

The 2nd half of last season seemed to mark a watershed in our confidence and style of play under Moyes. If all the imponderables drop in our favour then 250-1 is the investment opportunity of the decade.
Ray Robinson
34   Posted 13/07/2010 at 14:26:10

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Re Mike (#23), in what way did Howard cost us anything in the Stoke away game last season? It ended up 0-0.
Peter Laing
35   Posted 13/07/2010 at 15:00:00

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To Neil Scott, #29: I find it hard to believe that Steve Round would discuss any potential transfer business with a fan at a function. The idea of Joe Cole is specifically outlandish, if my memory serves me right he has just left Chelsea as they were not prepared to increase the terms of his contract to over £100k per week. Cole will either be signing for Spurs, Arsenal or (if money is his motivator) Man City.
Mike McLean
36   Posted 13/07/2010 at 15:10:06

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@ Ray 33: I think by being clearly nonplussed by what the opposition were doing, it unsettled the defenders, which then had a ripple effect. Could well be wrong. Perhaps he's the best we've ever had. Simply know that if there's a physically big team around, he starts squealing like a stuck pig. Not saying the chap's useless ... just about the eigth or ninth best in the league.

Ed Note: "...physically bgf team..."? Uh? I changed that to "big"... unless I'm missing something!

Fran Mitchell
37   Posted 13/07/2010 at 15:53:00

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It will happen, and even better will be the fact that everyone on this site will become rich simultaneously. I mean at 200-1 it's well worth it.

What is a bugger: On Betfair... yesterday odds were 210, today they are 150...

I think that talksport program may have altered the odds slightly.
John Daley
38   Posted 13/07/2010 at 15:52:36

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Was Steve Round pissed?
Ryan Holroyd
39   Posted 13/07/2010 at 16:07:26

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Mike McLean:

"But it will be to no avail with a nut case between the posts."

In what manner is Howard a 'nut case'?
Stewart Littler
40   Posted 13/07/2010 at 15:45:43

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Let's face it, for most, the only reason we are considering this otherwise ridiculous notion is the 24-year rule. As Dennis in #22 says, perhaps fate has aligned a team capable of maintaining this sequence. We have certainly been close so far in 2010.

We have played 19 league games so far this calendar year, 1 more than Chelsea, Manchester United, Spurs, Liverpool & Villa. We are third, 3 points behind Utd, 2 behind Chelsea, 5 ahead of Arsenal, 6 ahead of Spurs, 7 ahead of City, 9 ahead of Liverpool & 10 ahead of Villa. We have the best home record of any side in the Premier League.

With Fellaini plus the new guys added to the squad, and only Gosling out so far, there is certainly cause for optimism that we can maintain that kind of form or even better into the new season. Our first 10 games will be crucial.

Blackburn (a), Wolves (h), Villa (a), Utd (h) Newcastle (h), Fulham (a), Brum (a), Liverpool (h), Spurs (a), Stoke (h).

Those games gave us 13 points last season (Newcastle substituted for Burnley), whilst the first 10 of last season yielded 12 points.

Looking at those games, I see no reason why the Everton we saw every week just a few months ago should not pick up at least 20 points. That is when the belief would start to seep in that maybe, just maybe, we could do something special. I'm gonna wager on it, just in case.

After all, if the World Cup got a new name scribed on itself for the first time since the 90s, why not the Premier League trophy? (I know Chelsea have won it for the first time in the 00s, but they bought it and I'd like to think that for one more season at least, lightning won't strike twice.)

By the way, is that programme available anywhere?
Kevin Tully
41   Posted 13/07/2010 at 16:11:16

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I think you just have to look at the players other top four clubs would want; Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar, Heitinga, Jags, Baines and Saha (if fit).

We won't win the League, because of lack of squad depth, but we are a good bet for a top 4 finish. The monopoly of the Sky Four is over!

Spurs, Villa, Man City and Everton are as good as Liverpool and Arsenal. We all still have some catching up to do to match Chelsea & Man U.
Stewart Littler
42   Posted 13/07/2010 at 16:29:30

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Another btw, my ton has just gone on 250/1 at Victor Chandler. Checked couple of weeks ago and most online sites were at 200 - 250/1. Now many down to 150 and some even down to 100, wanted to wait til closer to the season starts, but each 10/1 fall costs me a grand if we do the unbelievable. I'll have forgotten that ton in a year's time, that is unless it's worth £25k.
Alan Clarke
43   Posted 13/07/2010 at 17:05:20

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Neil Scott, Steve Round was taking the piss, probably to break up the monotony of answering questions about transfer activity.
Tony I'Anson
44   Posted 13/07/2010 at 17:33:50

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£200 at 250/1 would then buy a nice big 10 seater executive box for the 2011-12 season. Tempting. I may just put this around our lottery syndicate. It will certainly be more interesting than not winning the Lotto every week.
Andy Crooks
45   Posted 13/07/2010 at 19:00:37

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Tony, Everton will not win the league and the each way odds offered by the main firms make 250/1 utterly useless. 1/2/3 is what is on offer and it is pathetic. Instead try Everton to finish ahead of Liverpool. I reckon 9/4 or 5/2 could be available. Fill your boots.
Brendan McLaughlin
46   Posted 13/07/2010 at 19:17:51

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Everton genuine title contenders. Get locked on at 250/1. Is it just me or does anybody else not see those two statements as mutually exclusive!
Pat Finegan
47   Posted 13/07/2010 at 19:50:12

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Since the new year, the only 2 teams that have more points than us are Man U and Chelski. Jags missed a large part of that as did Fellaini. We have proven over an extended period of time that we can compete with the best. I think, going in to this season, that we are the 4th best team in the league behind Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal. In addition, to being the 4th most talented team, we do not have European competition to deal with in the midweeks. Call me crazy but the stats are there to prove that we have a chance.
Mike Oates
48   Posted 13/07/2010 at 21:16:40

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There are interesting challenges that Moyes must overcome this season.

The first is that I do believe that this is our last chance to finish in the Top 4 with the current squad ? I cannot see the likes of Moyes, Arteta, Pinnear, Fellaini, Heitinga, and maybe Jags hanging around again in 2011-12 unless we are in the Champions League. This in itself will bring significant pressures on the staff and players. Moyes will not want to re-build again if he looses his key players and will leave to go elsewhere.

The second challenge he will face is how to keep the fringe players contented ? one could argue that a 1st team could possibly be Howard, Neville, Jags, Distin, Baines, Bily, Arteta, Fellaini, Pienaar, Cahill, Saha. So, with no European games at all, how does he keep Mucha, Coleman, Heitinga, Osman, Rodwell, Yakubu, Anichebe, Beckford, Yobo, and whoever else we sign happy? I'm absolutely sure he will sign at least 2 more defenders, a left back and a centre half, and will bring back Donovan if he gets half a chance.

The problem he faces in missing out on a Europa League place is that he has built a good size squad which you need to ensure a Top 4 challenge, but he won't have sufficient truly meaningful competitive games... particularly pre-Xmas.
Frank Nolan
49   Posted 13/07/2010 at 21:44:54

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@46 Brendan:

Betting odds have nothing to do with reality; they just reflect the amount of money put on by punters.

PaddyPower have Everton at 200-1 so I've had a £20 bet. Noticed that the shite are 10-1 which means they are 20 times more likely to win the title than we are. Just proves the point that betting odds and reality are miles apart.
Ciarán McGlone
50   Posted 13/07/2010 at 21:55:28

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Interesting and entertaining thread..

I particularly like the idea that Moysie can think his way to the Premier League trophy... Nevermind the lack of a right winger or a fit and consistent striker. Positive thinking is where it's at!

I'm also rather bemused by this talk of us taking our end-of-season form into next season... Need I remind people that our end-of-season form was particularly poor. We ended with a whimper.

We need to give Mr Moyes some cash before we get anywhere near a serious challenge for the league... I don't see any indication that's going to happen this season. Keep your money in your pocket.
Michael Kenrick
51   Posted 13/07/2010 at 22:25:13

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Mike Oates @ #48; I'm astounded that you would perpetulate the "first XI" myth as a basis for your concern, and that there could possibly be not enough games!!! League Cup before Xmas; FA Cup after... good long runs required in both!

A core squad of 20 players is the absolute minimum presquisite before embarquing on a Premier League campaigne. 18 of them must be named and changed for each game; up to 14 of them will get on the field.

Squad rotation and better, less regimented use of subs is the answer. This really will be one of Moyes's challenges. Where is it written that (a) the first sub comes on at 60 mins, and (b) that the last one is used to supposedly waste time and disrupt flow in the closing stages when a result has already been achieved?

I want to see a much more adventurous use of subs to change games as necessary this coming season. Something he has managed only rarely, I admit.
Frank Nolan
52   Posted 13/07/2010 at 22:25:39

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Ciaran. A few months back I closed my eyes, stuck a pin in the newspaper and walked away with £120 winnings on the Grand National. Putting £20 of that on the Blues is probably money down the drain but who knows?

This is the first time in over 20 years that the idea that we could win the league title has even been floated. The odds are that it will all end in tears and we'll have to settle for 3rd place and the FA Cup.
Frank Nolan
53   Posted 13/07/2010 at 22:25:39

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Ciaran. A few months back I closed my eyes, stuck a pin in the newspaper and walked away with £120 winnings on the Grand National. Putting £20 of that on the Blues is probably money down the drain but who knows?

This is the first time in over 20 years that the idea that we could win the league title has even been floated. The odds are that it will all end in tears and we'll have to settle for 3rd place and the FA Cup.
Lyndon Lloyd
54   Posted 13/07/2010 at 23:21:31

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Michael K: All the teams start on zero points. If David Moyes is worth his salt, he carries over into the start of the season the tremendous momentum achieved last season

That's IF we start the new season with the same midfield, specifically with Pienaar and Arteta in place. Continuity will be key, otherwise I think it'll be fifth-place again at best unless the replacements for either or both of the afore-mentioned players are seriously top drawer... and even then they'll take time to bed in.

Moyes can believe all he likes but his squad, as it currently stands, still lacks depth of genuine quality.
Brendan McLaughlin
55   Posted 14/07/2010 at 00:15:07

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Frank ... betting odds have nothing to do with when was the last time an outsider (say >10/1) won the title. As for your Grand National anecdote, lucky you, your pin just happened to land on the FAVOURITE!
Alasdair Mackay
56   Posted 14/07/2010 at 00:44:47

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Do you get each-way on title odds?

Top 4 at 1/4 the odds of 200/1 is still 50/1 - so worth a tenner, surely!?
Alex Kociuba
57   Posted 14/07/2010 at 00:53:27

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I noticed most bookies aren't doing first 4 @ 1/4 at the moment. Majority are first 2 @ 1/3, which isn't great.

250/1 is available with Victor Chandler, but no each way. I'd wait until closer to the start of the season for first 4 markets.
Alex Kociuba
58   Posted 14/07/2010 at 00:59:38

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The best bet I can see is laying the red shite on the exchanges. They are 18/1. Good value for the lay because they should be about 40/1 IMO.

(The bookies know they'll have punters backing them at 18/1, so there's no point giving them a better price).
Alex Kociuba
59   Posted 14/07/2010 at 01:22:41

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Ignore that last post, they are unbeleivably 10/1 with some bookies, wait till Betfair settles and you should get about the same.
Neil Scott
60   Posted 14/07/2010 at 01:43:32

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To Alan Clarke (#43) and Peter Laing (#35): I was actually there and was only passing on what he told me. Were you guys there? Why would I lie? There is no point in that.

I am a smart guy and certainly did not take Steve Round's comments as 'taking the piss'. He certainly seemed quite honest and genuine as we spoke about a number of topics including Gosling, Rodwell and England, Arteta and Spain and lack of money for signings.

I personally don't care whether you believe me or not. I will take Steve Round's comments as honest as I see no reason for Steve to lie. It was a great night!

Roy Coyne
61   Posted 14/07/2010 at 01:47:05

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I will wait untill I know the complete squad before making predictions, but must admit I am looking forward to the season kicking off. I do however think we will finish higher than the shite.
Mike Green
62   Posted 14/07/2010 at 08:43:18

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I've got £20 on the nose with Betfair @ 350/1 and £25 e/w with Betfred at 250/1.

If we got Donovan for a full year and Beckford turns out to have a debut season like Kevin Phillips and a WHOLE lot of good fortune re injuries, I think we'd be in for a shout.

Taking the unlikelihood of above into account, I think 4th is a realistic expectation but fingers crossed, we could be in for a ride!
Graham Holliday
63   Posted 14/07/2010 at 09:00:41

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Ciaran #50:

My point, at least (I can't speak on behalf of others) was that a Moyes that believes may see a Moyes that manages the team more adventurously.

I, personally, think that this would secure us a greater number of points than his typical reserved approach (philosophy of secure the draw; try and nick a win).

It's basic maths that if in 3 games you secure 2 draws and nick a win, you get less points than if you go all out and win twice and lose once.

My point was that I think the side now is good enough to do this, but the manager must believe in the side to be adventurous enough to go for it in games in this way.

I wasn't advocating self-help style "you must believe you can achieve anything" nonsense!

Lyndon #54: I think everyone recognises that keeping our best players is key. However, there is absolutely no reason to believe Arteta will leave (he may, but so may any player at any club). Pienaar may be a different kettle of fish, but again, until he's gone, what point speculating?

Clearly though, even if we keep our squad intact and sign the pacy winger that everyone craves, we're still 4th-8th favourites for a league title.
Matthew Mackey
64   Posted 14/07/2010 at 10:24:33

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"Injury free" is the issue here. With no personnel changes over the summer (i.e. no one leaves) then we could do quite well next season. But reality tells me that this will not happen because our replacements for injured first teamers are weak and not up to the mark because we simply cannot afford better ones, whereas at Chelsea and Man U etc they are.

5th place is a possibility and, if it happened, I for one would consider it an achievement in these difficult times.
David Booth
65   Posted 14/07/2010 at 12:08:39

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Take a step back everyone and consider this: for the first time in more than 20 years we are discussing our team as possible title contenders. How fantastic!

Let's hope David Moyes can get his players to think likewise ? 'possible' could then become 'probable'?
Stewart Littler
66   Posted 14/07/2010 at 13:40:03

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@ Ciaran #50, how in God's name do you come to the conclusion that our end-of-season form was poor, and that we ended with a whimper? Since our defeat to Spurs at the end of February, our record read P11, W6, D5, L0, Pts23. Now don't get me wrong, we should have done much better; those 5 draws were away at Brum, away at Wolves, home to West Ham, away at Villa and away at Stoke, and if we had been that little bit more clinical, we would have picked up another 2 or 3 wins, but to call an 11 game unbeaten run at the end of the season poor makes me wonder what you actually class as good???
David Booth
67   Posted 14/07/2010 at 17:46:41

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Exactly Stuart. By my reckoning, that equates to 79/80 points over 38 games: particularly un-poor as it would have put us in third place!
Joeynkoo Ludden
68   Posted 14/07/2010 at 21:38:36

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It has been reported that there are signs of an outbreak of the common summer disease, Evertonitus. The virus, which usually emerges in mid July and early August affecting Evertonians, has intensified from previous summers. Initial symptoms include the loss of the ability to understand football, the belief that mediocre players are a lot better than they are and that Everton have millions to splash out on the last day of the transfer window.

Medics though are concerned, as this summer, the strain is so strong that suffers are under the illusion that Everton can possibly win the Premier League. Doctors are baffled, previous strains of the virus made suffers believe a top 4 position was a possibility, then a Uefa spot, but this summer?s strain has mutated quite unexpectedly. Other symptoms include believing relating transfer gossip to be near truth, the belief a few wins in the first few games will mean a great season ahead, Everton?s squad will be sort after by big spenders, and that pre-season victories will translate into league form.

Doctors have said that while the outbreak, first documented this year on ToffeeWeb on 12th July (Title contenders! Get me out of here.), is serious, it is also treatable. Any suffers should check the sports news hourly for transfer activity, it is said that as big money is spent by other clubs and not by Everton, the early stages of recovery from Evertonitus kicks in. Follow up this course of treatment by ensuring the patient watches every second of the opening few games of the season.

Doctors predict that the virus will all but disappear by the start of September, but the dangers of Moyssiestrangelineups-itus and BKwhataknob-itus illnesses kicking in then are high.

Experts have said that whilst the current outbreak is alarming, there are positives. Dr Tooyung said ?its common for Evertonians to come down with this affliction at this time of year. The prolonged period of May to August seems to incubate the disease but the cooler climes of September seem to help and by January most suffers will be embarrassed to be reminded of their condition previously?.

Dr Tooyung added: ?A huge relief is that the dreaded DK virus, a much bigger problem for Evertonians in the last few summers, seems to have been eradicated totally?. Now that is a relief. COYB!

Brendan McLaughlin
69   Posted 14/07/2010 at 23:38:20

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Loved it!
Derek Thomas
70   Posted 14/07/2010 at 23:40:52

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The is no know cure or vaccine for this strain L1 E2 (Liverpool 1 Everton 2)

Well said, Martin Luther Kenrick, the 24-yr historical imperative will not be denied.
Brendan McLaughlin
71   Posted 15/07/2010 at 00:22:08

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Derek ? equally funny. But..........
James Flynn
72   Posted 15/07/2010 at 00:48:11

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Ludden (68) - Fun read but you didn't have an opinion on this season. VERY Un-ToffeeWeb.

Where is EFC going to finish in your opinion? I'm in the Top 4 Finish group, with Top 4 including Top 1 (Oh yeah!!! Lifting THE Trophy next May).
Brendan O'Doherty
73   Posted 15/07/2010 at 01:54:24

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"It's common for Evertonians to come down with this affliction at this time of year."

No, it isn't Dr, Tooyung. In fact it's so uncommon it hasn't appeared like this since the late eighties. Can I suggest that you are living up to your name with your diagnosis? Remember, the optimistitis strain is the last refuge of the football fan.
Dennis Stevens
74   Posted 15/07/2010 at 22:38:14

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Seems to me Dr Tooyung don't know his history - either medical or football!
Joeynkoo Ludden
75   Posted 16/07/2010 at 16:38:18

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James (#72) - ok, I'll take a stab. The Heart says 5th, the head says 8th. We have a cracking squad on paper, but paper is all. I can't forget the likes of losing a 2-goal advantage to Brum last season, or failing to score at Stoke. We flatter to deceive. On our day we can match anyone, unfortunately they don't seem to all have their day together. Howard does well to get out of the way of the ball at times (see Ghana game amongst others) and we make basic errors when it seems impossible to do so.

Reading this thread, Evertonitus kicked in for me too, but as my Pa always says: they'll always let you down. He should know... Let's hope for a great season, but reality will tell you that whilst we shouldn't, we will drop points to the mid-table and relegation-fighting clubs. The eventual Champions do not.

Brendan (#73) ? every summer we get taken away with enthusiasm and because we haven't seen us for so long, that we can't lose. I was taken aback by how many posters thought a title was a possibility, no matter how remote. The virus, Evertonitus however, no matter how strong or mild, always seems to pop up before the season and die off pretty much immediately afterwards. No matter how blindly we believe in us, it won't change the ability of our squad as a team.

Brendan O'Doherty
76   Posted 16/07/2010 at 19:43:32

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"No matter how blindly we believe in us, it won't change the ability of our squad as a team."

That may be true, Joeynkoo, but you would be surprised what can be achieved with the power of positive thinking. See MK's post (#4) above.

But what CAN change the ability of our squad as a team, is how much the PLAYERS believe in themselves.

It can be done. We have every cause to feel particularly optimistic about the coming season.
Dennis Stevens
77   Posted 16/07/2010 at 19:40:44

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I think you're quite wrong, Joeynkoo. Whilst it is normal to try & approach each new season with a degree of hopeful optimism, what we have this summer is quite different. The 24-year rule has supporters wondering if we could really do it this time. When they take a step back & look at the squad we have then it seems the best for a couple of decades.

Last season, the team showed they really could beat anybody "on their day", as you put it, & the form for the second half of the season was pretty consistent with what you'd expect of a Title-challenger, if not a Title winner. This all comes on the back of successive 5th place finishes that indicate we're not far off CL qualifying positions in the League again.

Then that 24-year rule flashes up again & it becomes easy to convince yourself that, although we shouldn't, Everton could actually do it next season. Of course it all depends on lots of ifs, buts & maybes ? but then most Title-winning seasons do as the margin between success & failure is so fine (think back to Lineker's boots in 1986!).

So logically Everton are obviously not favourites for 1st place in the league, indeed they've probably only an outside chance of CL qualification & Europa League is probably a more realistic ambition; however, there is that 24-year rule & if everything just fell into place, if the stars align, the wind blows the right way....

Ollie Taylor
78   Posted 19/07/2010 at 15:28:10

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Guess Neill Scott feels a bit soft regarding that Joe Cole hint from Round....

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