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A Simple Question: Top Four?

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It would appear entering this season there are 8 teams vying for 4 Champions League spots. They would be, in no particular order: Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City, Villa, Everton, Tottenham, and El Shit-o de Roja.

If Everton are to finish in the Top 4 this season, who's out?

Do the top 3 of Man U, Chelsea, and Arsenal stay intact with us nipping 4th ahead of the others? Or do one of the 3 aforementioned "big boys" drop out? If so, who?

I love our squad right now, but it appears the competition for the Top 4 this season might be as competitive as it has been in a long while...

Who makes up the Top 4? Or the maybe the other question that needs to be posed: who of those 8 don't make it?

My 4 outs: Spurs, Villa, Arsenal and Liverpuke.

Prognostications anyone? I'd be genuinely interested in people's opinions.
Jamie Crowley, Ponte Vedra, FL, USA     Posted 18/07/2010 at 05:29:06

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James Cadwaladr
1   Posted 18/07/2010 at 14:52:43

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You can put your life on Manchester United finishing in the top 2. Asides from that it's all conjecture until 1st September when the transfer window closes and we'll know more then. A lot will clearly depend on what happens in the next month.

Arsenal: I think Arsenal could go well this year - likely to be Wenger's last but much clearly depends on Fabregas and if they sign a top centre half.

Chelsea: Don't seem to be doing much, ageing side, will they have the legs for a full PL and CL campaign?

Manchester United: WIll finish in the top 2

The Shite: It looks as though we will know in the next fortnight what happens to Gerrard and Torres. They have £20M to spend plus what they earn in sales. Whatever happens they will not be as bad as last year ? Hodgson will have them too well drilled. I do believe we have a better squad though.

Man City: Need to finish in the top 4. End of. I dont think they have bought well enough and won't keep everyone happy.

Spurs: Will be strong again. I think us and they will have a titanic battle this year.

Villa: Will struggle, likely to finish 8th.

Everton: I think this squad will come of age BUT WE MUST keep Arteta, Jags and Pienaar. I also honestly think Rodwell will take his place as the best midfielder in the Prem by the season's end.

Prediction:

1, Man Utd
2, Arsenal
3, Chelsea
4, Everton / Spurs / City
5, Liverpool
6, Villa
Andy Mack
2   Posted 18/07/2010 at 15:02:22

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Even with the aid of blue-tinted specs, it's going to be a real battle to be top four this season, don't think any team hoping to get up there and stay up can afford any sort of bad run of matches or wait for players to bed in. Without Euro distractions and hopefully more or less last year's squad, this will be perhaps our only chance to give it a real hell-for-leather go. If we (or Villa or even the unloveable RS) don't make it, it's game over until the rich kids take they toys home. Should be a great season in store though.
Elgin Joshua
3   Posted 18/07/2010 at 15:20:26

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I afraid you guys got it all wrong. I've asked Paul the octopus and he told me the top four teams in this order.

Everton, Blackpool, Man Utd and Chelsea. You heard it here first.
Colin Taylor
4   Posted 18/07/2010 at 15:19:00

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I am not interested in finishing fourth ? I want us to win the league! And if we keep all our players and stay injury free then we will win the league! If not, then I would rather have an FA Cup or League Cup. I agree Rodwell is going to have a great season as long as Moyes plays him in the middle, alongside Arteta.

My top 8 is: 1 Everton; 2 Man Utd; 3 Chelsea; 4 Arsenal; 5 Man Shitty; 6 Villa; 7 Red Shite; 8 spurs ? who I hate nearly as much as Liverpool because all the media always tip them to do well and Redknapp gets on my tits.

Brian Waring
5   Posted 18/07/2010 at 15:59:34

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1 Arsenal
2 Chelsea
3 Man Utd
4 Man City
5 Everton / Spurs
6 The Shite
Colin Potter
6   Posted 18/07/2010 at 16:06:26

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Why worry about 2nd, 3rd or 4th when we will be top!
Jay Harris
7   Posted 18/07/2010 at 15:58:12

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There is no doubt the Manu U and Chelsea stars are aging but it depends who they buy and they certainly have the resources to do that.

I see Man U as having more problems because of the off-the-field issues with ownership and debt and therefore feel they may struggle to hit the top 4 this season.

Chelsea, while Abramovic is on board, and with Ancellotti settled in now, are IMO favourites to retain the title.

Arsenal without a settled defence and with questionable strike force (except when they play us) are always unpredictable.

Spurs (we all hope) will be distracted by CL games if they make it that far) but still look strong as a squad and well run club off the field.

Liverpool will be rejuvenated by their new manager but still have off-the-field problems similar to Utd and may well lose their hatchetman to Inter.

Villa will always be there or there about but suffer from the old Everton syndrome of end-of-season fatigue and may well lose Milner.

I hate to say it but with the money they have spent and squad they now have I see City as Chelsea's rivals for top spot.

Which leaves us. If we keep Pienaar and Arteta (and Jags for that matter), I think we could be challenging Chelsea and City for a while but the Prem is a marathon not a sprint and I don't think we'll have enough gas to get to the finishing line in front ? especially if we don't improve defensively.

Predictions for finishing places are all pure guesswork and hopefulness at this stage but I feel it may work out as follows:

Chelsea
City
Everton
Arsenal
Man U
Spurs
Liverpool
Villa

Think I'd probably get a million to 1 at the bookies which all goes to show that all that is certain is NOTHING is certain.
Dennis Stevens
8   Posted 18/07/2010 at 16:25:22

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Top 4?
TOP!
Ian McDowell
9   Posted 18/07/2010 at 16:25:36

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I don't like predicting where we will finish but I hope we can:

1. Keep the current squad and hit the ground running on 14 August.

2. Stop conceding sloppy goals and giving ourselves too much to do when we eventually start to play (Hull, Bolton and Spurs away).

3. Turn those 0-0s into 1-0s (Stoke, Wolves away.)

If we manage that, we will be there or thereabouts come April, May.
Tony Christian
10   Posted 18/07/2010 at 16:27:36

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Best case scenario would be 5th behind Chelsea, Man U, Arsenal & City. I think Spurs will be stretched by Champions League and Villa are a team who will be fortunate to hit top 6. As for Woy's Weds, I think they'll battle it out for 6th place with us.

If anybody interested I have new blog @ www.gifts4blues.blogspot.com
Shane Corcoran
11   Posted 18/07/2010 at 16:43:59

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I'm going with:
1. Man City
2. Chelsea/United
3. Chelsea/United
4. Everton
Kevin Hudson
12   Posted 18/07/2010 at 16:50:47

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Sorry to burst the bubble of optimism here guys, but I doubt we'll finish higher than sixth.

Would love to be proved wrong,of course:

City; Chelsea; Mancs; Arse.
Ray Said
13   Posted 18/07/2010 at 16:49:05

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If Moyes can transmit some real belief into ALL of the players then we can win the league, not 4th or 5th but win the thing.

I would like Moyes to stop talking about the 'Premiership' to the players and start talking about being Champions again. The use of the word 'Premiership', which we have not won, can be a limiting factor whereby the use of the word 'Champions' ? which we have been 9 times ? is an enabling factor. That which we have been before, we can be again.

Real belief starts in the mind and he should have the players into the trophy room every week to see the history and remind them just how lucky they are to be at such a club.

Mike Oates
14   Posted 18/07/2010 at 16:23:29

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How can we predict at the moment, there?s still 6 weeks before the transfer deadline is reached and I suspect the following characters could all possibly be involved, Vidic, Milner, Torres, Gerrard, Arteta, Pienaar, Jags!!!, Coles (x2), and Fabregas. All if departing would have a huge effect on their respective clubs ? particularly us and Liverpool. If you look at each club in turn:

Chelsea ? I suspect the likes of Lampard and Terry will bounce back from the World Cup and Essien returning will be a massive boost. Loosing Ballack will be a blessing as it will allow Malouda to develop into a top class player. Loosing Cole(s) will be overcome. I still believe they will be the team to beat and will retain the championship.

Man Utd ? Will still score a plenty but I suspect their ageing midfield and with Ferdinand struggling with injuries I suspect they wont win it but will undoubtedly finish in Top 4.

Arsenal ? will continue to struggle as they can't score and can't defend and can't physically cope with the Premier League. If they do loose Fabregas then they fall even further. I feel they will finish 5th or 6th.

Liverpool ? All about whether Torres and Gerrard stay; loose both and they will drop even further to 8th; retain both and I will believe Hodgson will get them up to 5th or 6th only as the rest of the squad isn?t good enough.

Spurs ? Hawwy is developing a good team, with good financial backing (on same gates as us!!!). I believe they will do well in Europe and also the Premier League with the bonus of playing good attractive football to boot. Will improve to 3rd place.

City ? too many changes, too many foreigners new to the Premier League, and an ownership which will panic if out of European place at Xmas. Will finish about 7th.

Villa ? will collapse if they loose Milner. Will still go backwards if they keep him as their forwards, Heskey, Agbonlahor, and Carew won't score enough. Will finish in 8th place.

Everton ? assuming we keep Arteta and Jags, we will improve substantially. I still feel we won't be good enough defensively, nor will score the necessary extra 20 goals to compete at the very top. I feel we are capable of 4th.

Final Order:- Chelsea, Man U, Spurs, Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal, City, Aston Villa
Ian Tunstead
15   Posted 18/07/2010 at 16:48:44

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I think it's too early at this stage to make any predictions, at least not until the transfer window is closed. Big move transfers are yet to be made. If Arsenal lose Fabragas then they are out the title race and would probably be equal with us for the battle for 4th place. However, if they keep Fabragas and sign Jags and Arteta, then they could win the league and we might struggle to finish in the top 10. I doubt this would happen but I am very worried about the situation with Arteta and Pienaar.

I was picking my fantasy team the other day for the competition my friends and I have been having the past few years and comparing Everton's squad to the rest I was quite impressed. It?s my belief that our best 11 should be beating all other teams best 11 bar Chelsea. I was not that impressed with the quality of the Man Utd squad although they have a lot of quantity. I felt Chelsea looked very strong in all departments.

Player for player, I couldn?t see many Man City players getting in our team and only 2 or 3 from Villa. I don?t rate Liverpool?s squad even as a top 6 side at the moment; however, I think Hodgson will spend wisely. Redknapp will also probably spend wisely but I see the Champions League being a big distraction to him.

If things stayed exactly how they are and the season kicked off today, I think we would have a very good chance of finishing in the top 4 and even challenging for the tile. However, while we are staying exactly as we are, as Moyes has stated, and we will suffer injuries as we always do. Our nearest rivals like Spurs, Man City, Liverpool and probably Villa and Arsenal will make more moves and strengthen over the next month.

I think it is usually in the midfield where the game is won and lost and so, whatever happens, I cannot see any midfield in the league competing against Arteta, Fellaini, Pienaar, Cahill, Heitinga and Rodwell. With that midfield, we should be able to control and dictate most games and then it is just up to the Yak and Saha to put the ball in the net and Jags and Distin to do what they do best and head and hoof it clear at every opportunity.

The worry is that we could lose 2 or 3 of those players before the season kicks off, which would mean any hopes of a top 4 finish would be over for the season and probably the foreseeable future.
James Stewart
16   Posted 18/07/2010 at 17:48:03

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God some really barmy predictions flying about!

I mean City to win the league?! C'mon!

I predict Chelsea to win the league again.
Man Utd are shoe ins for top 4.
Apart from that, it's all to play for!
Brendan O'Doherty
17   Posted 18/07/2010 at 17:44:55

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I only got 13/2 yesterday for us to finish in the top 4, so that tells you the bookies think it's a distinct possibility. They still gave me 200/1 on us to win it, but the odds are dropping....

4 to miss out:

Spurs ? pre-occupied with CL
Villa ? no staying power
Arsenal ? Fabregas sold on 31 August 2010
RS ? on a downward spiral.
Brian Waring
18   Posted 18/07/2010 at 17:59:10

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Mike, how can you say Arsenal will continue to struggle, because they can't score or defend? They scored 23 more than us last season, and we conceded 8 more than them, and that was classed as a bad season for them.

Also, they have just bought a highly rated striker, and also have a fit again Van Persie. If they get a top notch centre-half alongside the Belgian, they will be vying for top spot.
Richard Reeves
19   Posted 18/07/2010 at 18:03:23

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I can't guess who the top four will be but I do think Everton will be in there. I think we've got a good enough squad to stop worrying about what players other teams are going to buy. Other teams should be worried about us.
David Hallwood
20   Posted 18/07/2010 at 18:12:32

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We finished up as one of the form teams last season so why not. AND if we would have converted draws (WHU, Wolves, Brum, Villa) into wins we would?ve been THE form team. Therefore it?s down to ifs; if we can keep the squad, if we can hit the ground running etc.

The question is what formation is best for the squad; the current fashion of two holding mids, and 3 attacking mids, and lone striker, would suit the players we have because of the lack of a real quality winger, in addition it would mean the TW pin-up boy Coleman would be 1st choice RB because the style suits attacking full backs. However we played with Heitinger & Rodwell as the 2 DMs against Wolves last season and it was abysmal, with Bily saving us with a late goal.

But I?m largely in agreement with all and sundry in that it?s how the Sky 4 performs that will be crucial to where we end up. Man U certainly isn?t the team the won the treble, but then again they?ve been written off more times Coronation Street. Chelsea is still strong, but we are a lot stronger than when we played them in the FA cup. As for Citteh, it reminds me of the 26 bus route (for non-scouse TWebbers, the 26 is a busy circular bus route)-18 off 21 on. In short great players, no team. The enigma in the woodpile (if you?ll excuse the disgracefully racist pun) is our own lovable neighbours the RS. Will they be reborn now that the fat waiter has sung, because they still have 2 world class players and a talented squad, or will Woy take them further downhill.

And finally North London: To my mind this Arsenal side is the weakest I?ve seen and won?t be helped by the will he- won?t he shenanigans of Fabregas. Spurs are an attractive team that might get sidelined by Europe but a full strength Everton side is more than a match for them. This season is probably the most open since the Premier league began, why shouldn?t we take advantage.
John Daley
21   Posted 18/07/2010 at 18:49:25

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People are getting really carried away here if they are actually tipping Everton to be serious title contenders this coming season. I think we'll do better than last season but will fall just short (again) of making the top 4.

The defence has to be tightened up, as we were wide open at times last year and threw away a number of points against lesser opposition after being ahead and seemingly cruising to a win.

Also, as Moyes himself admitted, our forwards simply weren't clinical enough on a lot of occasions. We need Saha to stay hungry and fit for a full season, Yakubu to lose the beef and miraculously rediscover the goal scoring form he showed in his first year at the club, or Beckford/Gueye to turn out to be the real deal and start banging them in on a regular basis.

No major injuries would be nice for a change as well.
Dave Smith
22   Posted 18/07/2010 at 19:29:05

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I predict we will finnish 17th with 38pts.

I'll get my coat......
Jimmy Saville
23   Posted 18/07/2010 at 20:24:41

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If Man Shitty are not in the top 2 by Christmas they will go out and buy several top players to get top. City all the way. Until Lescott gets injured and we pip them to the post.

Seriously, City will be challenging big time this year!
Tommy Gibbons
24   Posted 18/07/2010 at 22:02:53

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Well... the usual suspect (Brian Waring) sticks the knife in followed by a few other miserable twats who think Everton are shite and will always be shite. I really don't know what these 'supporters' need Everton to do before they'll actually support them!

We only lost 2 league games from November 09 to end of season, we have the same squad with a few new additions so we are stronger; Moyes himself does not aspire to 4th, he has been a realist but hasn't been happy with what he's achieved as he hasn't won anything. He'll be going for the league this year, not 2, 3, or 4th. He realises we have the best squad we're ever going to assemble without more cash... and it's taken him 8 yeas to do so.

Put your £10 on 200/1, you know it makes sense!

Max Main
25   Posted 19/07/2010 at 01:30:53

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This talk of Everton winning the league has really got to stop.

You say those who don't think we can win the league are not real supporters, but you are the ones who are detrimental to the club. Because you are the ones who set yourselves up for a fall. And you are the ones who will be complaining if we finish 4th. And you will be the ones saying "right well Moyes has had his chance now and he's not good enough". Because you are the ones who have a five-year-old's "I want it now" mentality, and either don't understand, or won't accept, that building a league winning squad takes a long time, particularly if you're not being bankrolled by some lunatic foreigner.

Of course we all want Everton to win the league, but this childish "we must win it this season" attitude is not helpful.

Apologies to J Crowley for going off topic.
Jamie Crowley
26   Posted 19/07/2010 at 03:41:24

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Max -

No apology necessary. Part of the post is to get a pulse from long-time fans and those much more knowledgeable than I as to where we'll finish ? especially when viewing this from an alternate direction of who of the 8 won't make it in the Top 4.

Of course there's still a lot of time and the transfer market has to close before we will know the possible strength of our opponents. But today, I'm still optimistic ? but also frightened to death because when you look at the 8 teams in question you can make a very valid case and argument as to why they will finish in a CL spot.

However, I don't feel anyone that believes we can make a run at the title is setting themselves up for disappointment. The possibility of winning it all may be more remote than we'd care to dwell on, but it is a possibility.

One thing's for certain: it's gonna be a war and I hope Moyes gets the boys believing very early that's the case.

Does anyone subscribe to the theory that the Top 4 / Title chase will be won or lost against the teams 9th - 20th? 24 games, 72 possible points? Someone else mentioned the draws with Wovles, Stoke, et al (Ian I think). That's the key for me ? maximize all points against inferior teams. As many wins as possible and no draws ? those extra 2 points for a win (vs a draw) add up immensely throughout 39 games.

We have to take, home and away, as many wins as possible against the lower teams. Taking the day off against Bolton and letting them cruise to a 0-0 draw will really hurt at the end of the day. That's the key IMO, because the other 7 teams we're looking to "displace" are very good teams in an honest moment.

One truly bright spot for me going into the season is I'm contemplating what we must do to actually win the title ? instead of what we need to do to finish 5th and gain entry into Europe.... I'm expecting more because I believe we have the talent to aspire to more. And that alone is a good feeling.

Time will tell... and Hope springs in a blueish tint eternal.

Andy Crooks
27   Posted 19/07/2010 at 08:34:51

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Spot on, Max. Even if we keep the current squad, finishing top four will depend on us being very lucky with injuries and that doesn't seem to happen with Everton. The squad needs to be strenghened.
Dave Richman
28   Posted 19/07/2010 at 09:01:23

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The RS will have a good tilt as a kopite told me the other day that "It's our year this year" ? that's a new one........ hehe , and the whole thing hinges around whether they clinch the marquee signing of goal machine James Beattie.

I hear they have planning permission to knock all the houses down on both sides of the ground so they can make the pitch wide enough to accommodate Beattie's turning circle.

Top 3 for the Mighty Blues!
Andrew Ellams
29   Posted 19/07/2010 at 11:17:56

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I think the key to finishing 4th this year is ending up above Arsenal. City haven't brought huge numbers of new recruits because they probably don't need to. They only just missed out last season on CL football so with a bit of tinkering I think they'll finish third behind the usual top 2.

The leaves the rest of the 'elite' to push for the final top 4 spot and I think all bar Villa are capable.

It's going to be a tough year but we are more than able.
David Chait
30   Posted 19/07/2010 at 11:26:55

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I'll make a prediction come 1 September... until we know what we have left come the end of the transfer window, can we really tell?

With our recent history regarding transfers and injuries, we could come anywhere from 3rd to 8th. All fit and all still on board... flip... this team playing to their potential without fear is awesome.

Man City are the biggest threat to us imo, not that I'm that impressed who they've bought so far.

For some reason, I just don't think Spurs will do it again... but they have got decent personnel.

Give me Fella, Arteta and Rodwell over anything the RS, Man U or Arsenal have in midfield in those positions.
Kevin Gillen
31   Posted 19/07/2010 at 11:20:43

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I do wonder if some of the above fans have ever played competitive sports. Of course we can win the title. You take one game at a time and you believe in yourselves. Without that belief you haven't got a hope in hell.

I really believe we can have a massive season. Moyes has got the striker options he has craved with the addition of Beckford. I don't think the Pienaar or Arteta situations are likely to be resolved overnight but, if we bring in nobody else and use the money we have to keep these great players at our club, that will do for me.

I really do think that the Premier League is changing too. History and economic reality is biting at all but Man City and Chelsea. Chelsea, it seems to me, will implode; they should be miles clear of United and looked as if they were falling over themselves to hand United the Prem last year.

United are in decline, there are question marks about Scholes, Neville, Giggs, Rooney, Vidic, Ferdinand, Brown, Evans, Anderson, Obertan, Evra and Berbatov. They can be got at, the mix isn't right. The fans are split, half of them turn up looking like Norwich fans.

Liverpool can be got at, their situation is very fragile and their salvation, it seems, is in the next owner of the club, not the current owners. Without the Champions league, they don't have the budget to sustain their current squad, one that is sadly depleted anyway.

Arsenal were outpassed by us at the Emirates last season. They could be anything but they have spent far too long with the label promising. The Fabregas situation is critically undermining their whole operation.

Spurs are interesting but will have to balance their operation in the Prem with Champions League demands. I'm not convinced of their management or personnel.

Villa's progress has stalled. They should not finish above us. They punch above their weight like we have but I say any side that can defend properly against them can beat them.

I think Moyes should be bold. Rodwell and Coleman should start. If players don't perform, we have the squad to give others a chance. Anichebe should also start, I think he can have a breakthrough season. We need to minimize the errors and take our chances in front of goal. We have got the right age and experience profile and the hunger neccessary to do better.

Max Main
32   Posted 19/07/2010 at 12:14:15

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K Gillen - you say "of course we can win the title" and then you cite Jermain Beckford as the answer to our striking options. Come on now, I'm happy enough with signing him for free and giving him a run out, but he's not the answer to anything. And he most certainly is not a Premier League winning striker.
Nick Wall
33   Posted 19/07/2010 at 12:25:28

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It's great that so many fans are feeling confident. I'm feeling optimistic about the new season, but I'm wary of setting too many targets. I think the main aim for the club is a top 4 finish, though they will obviously try to get as high as possible. But the bookies odds should tell you something. 13-2 means that the odds are stacked against us finishing in the top 4. Much the most likely outcome is a placing between 6th and 8th.
David Hallwood
34   Posted 19/07/2010 at 12:49:27

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It is all about belief, and we should have that by the container load. One of the posters mentioned the fact that we only lost two games in the latter part of the season; the RS & Spurs both away. We were mauled by Spurs in the 1st half, but battered them in the 2nd half and if it wasn't for Donovan's miss of the season we would've at least got a point.

And as for the RS; I'll declare an interest, I am a biased Evertonian, but you don't have to be to come to the conclusion that we should have beaten them, and at one point, ironically when we were down to 10 men, we passed them off the park.

So, all seasons are "cudda, wudda, shudda" affairs, but I'm more confident about this season than at any time in the last 25 years. COYB
Ian Tunstead
35   Posted 19/07/2010 at 14:24:33

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Well, as I thought, Hogdson looks to be making good signings. Joe Cole already in the bag and he still has £20 million to spend. Liverpool might well be back in the race for the title come the start of the season.
Andrew Ellams
36   Posted 19/07/2010 at 14:25:02

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Well it's now confirmed that Liverpool have signed Joe Cole. That is a big signing for them because as well as getting a quality player, it also shows signs of forward thinking that might convince others to stay. All of a sudden then rush for fourth gets more interesting. Not to mention the fact that Spurs may now rekindle their interest in Pienaar.
Kevin Gillen
37   Posted 19/07/2010 at 14:58:40

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Dear Max, I think we should reserve judgement on Beckford, he could be another Andy Cole. He has the hunger to do well. Teamwork is what can project us forward. Togetherness, belief in self and each other, courage, they could all project us forward. I think having a fully fit squad and no European adventures will give us a big focus for the Premier League games. If Beckford pushes Saha and Yakubu to their best form then he will have done good enough for me.
Iain Love
38   Posted 19/07/2010 at 16:53:57

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Joe Cole £90k a week... Why didn't any of the moneybags clubs sign him??? Something not quite right there...

Anyway, top 4:

Chelski
Citeh
Manure
either Us, Spurs, Arse, Shite

It really depends on the transfer window, injuries and form. I think our foirst 11 is a match for anyone and, although our second 11 is much better than before, it's still miles off Spurs and the Arse.

Dennis Stevens
39   Posted 19/07/2010 at 17:34:22

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Max Main: ?This talk of Everton winning the league has really got to stop.? ? Why? We?ve done it before you know.

I don?t think we supporters who think it?s do-able are setting ourselves up for a fall ? there?s a big difference between a hopeful possibility & a confident expectation. The only way people are likely to complain about finishing 4th is if we?ve let the Title slip in the last few weeks of the season & barely held onto a CL place ? it all depends on the context.

Your comment ?you are the ones who have a five-year-old's "I want it now" mentality, and either don't understand, or won't accept, that building a league winning squad takes a long time? is quite ludicrous. Moyes has been building this squad for over 8 years ? longer than any other Everton Manager has been allowed. All we are saying is that he has now got a squad capable of challenging, which is enough cause for optimism, but I suspect the 24-year rule is encouraging us to approach the coming season even more positively.

I don?t think Everton supporters have a ?childish 'we must win it this season' attitude?, more an optimistic ?we can win it this season? attitude.

Dennis Stevens
40   Posted 19/07/2010 at 17:35:56

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Mind you... if Moyes breaks the 24 year sequence, he's got to go!
Brian Waring
41   Posted 19/07/2010 at 18:03:41

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Tommy, can't find in my posts where I say we are shite. What I am being is realistic, because we won't win the league. Also we may have had a great run-in, 2nd half of the season, but we still only finished 8th, a whopping 25pts behind Chelsea, and they had a +61 goal difference over us.

In my opinion there is no way we will go through a season only losing maybe 4 games, and also scoring enough goals. We have a shot at 4th, but even that is going to be a hard task. I just think a lot of you are getting a tad carried away because of our finish to the season, also the results against Chelsea and Man U.

You have every right to optimistic of our chances, but the league, forget it.

Karl Masters
42   Posted 20/07/2010 at 11:21:38

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Even a couple of years ago this possibility would not have even merited a debate.

The progress continues. Slow, but sure.

I believe that Michael Kenrick is correct in saying that we now have to believe that it is possible and go for it.

Cast your mind back to Summer 1984. True we had just won the FA Cup which gave the squad belief, but in fact we had only beaten Stoke, Gillingham, Shrewsbury, Notts County, Southampton and Watford to do that. In the previous few seasons we had finished 7th, 7th, 8th.

Yet from that came the greatest season in our Club's history. Nothing is impossible my friends. Let's all believe again, hold on tight and give it 100%.
Paddy Francis
43   Posted 20/07/2010 at 15:25:03

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The footballing landscape of 1984 looked a lot different to that of today.

To take the most obvious example, we've finished above the Shite only once in the 18 seasons of the Premier League. So to finish above them would represent a significant accomplishment based on past performances.
Phil Guyers
44   Posted 20/07/2010 at 15:46:32

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Paddy

Was it so different in 1984? In the 22 seasons prior to that summer, the only way we could finish above our beloved neighbours (apart from 1964-65) was to win the league in 1963 and 1970.

Some people may have been satisfied just with finishing above them in 1985 but I think history shows that we should forget the Reds and aim for the top.
Paddy Francis
45   Posted 20/07/2010 at 17:00:28

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Thanks Phil,

I think we are violently agreeing in at least one sense.

I agree totally that we should be finishing higher than RS this year. I look at both squads and I think ours is stronger.

But what I mean is that this situation is quite an achievement in itself and to start thinking that, on top of that, we have the strength to finish above teams we have never been anywhere near over the last 18 seasons is not optimistic, it's insane.

I love Everton, but I'm not out of my mind. If you heard a Villa or a Spurs fan saying "this could be our year" you'd collapse about laughing. I don't think your aspirations are any less ridiculous.

One step at a time. 8th to 1st in a season? No. 8th to 4th in a season? Possible. FA Cup finalist in 2009 to FA cup winner in 2011? Possible.
Phil Guyers
46   Posted 20/07/2010 at 20:26:16

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Paddy

The only aspiration in my post was that we should 'aim for the top' rather than just be ahead of Liverpool. If they are 8th next season, I still would not consider 7th to be a good season for us.

Nowhere do I suggest that I expect us to win the league next season. In my opinion, all of last season's top 8 should start the new season with the legitimate aspiration of winning the competition but, of course, only one can.

I certainly don't agree with your 'one step at a time' argument. Did you miss the steps from 11th to 6th to 5th two seasons running? Last season's 8th was the result of a poor start and we were 3rd in the second half.

The purpose of my original post was really to agree with Karl that there are grounds for optimism and suggest that your aspirations are too low (the Reds not being what they were in 1984). It is not ridiculous to aim high, given our present circumstances, nor is anyone insane for being positive about the coming season.
Brian Garside
47   Posted 24/07/2010 at 21:06:32

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Refaring to last seasons results regarding certain drawn matches, remember that the big difference next season will be the SIX points we shall take off our neighbours.

Why doesn´t any team storm Utd´s right flank which is so weak? They have an ageing goalie, one CH, an ageing MF and a striker. Oh yes and the FA (ref´s) too!!! Not to mention Sky (advertising money).

RS have unfortunately made a top class appointment in RH, but they shall struggle for a couple of seasons.

Villa just won't hack it with or without Millner.

Spurs have too much on their plate and lack the rutin of Utd/Ars to cope.

Citeh have too many egos and a coach who as yet does not understand what it takes to play an entire English season and must first learn.

Arsenal will be around again because they can outplay anyone on their day.

EFC have the largest / strongest squad we have ever had. Our top players are wanted by our nearest rivals because they are good players and just to destroy us.

As stated by others, who would you swap for our players, position for position? Not many I trust.

Optimistic? Realistic?

It´s time for the glass half-full attitude to prevail I feel. Bring ´em on!!!

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
48   Posted 24/07/2010 at 22:00:55

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Brian, I understood (and fixed) most of your weird words (for reference, 'our' vs 'are'???) but help me with this one:

Spurs .... lack the rutin of Utd/Ars

Is that "routine"? I still don't get it.
Brian Garside
49   Posted 25/07/2010 at 09:45:41

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Correct Micheal. I live in Sweden and used the Swedish spelling of the same word. It was late and was possibly a little "tired and emotional" after an entertaining evening!
I will try harder in future.
Stewart Littler
50   Posted 26/07/2010 at 18:06:27

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Well I honestly think the title could be won by any one of 5 or 6 teams this season, and I think we're one of them. The squad we have now, kept together, with a good start and as some have said above, why not? We haven't been too far behind over the course of the year so far, and we look in great shape to start with a fully fit squad.

Anyway, my money's on it, just in case, and I won't be disappointed if my 'consolation' is a CL place.

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