With Lukaku signed and hopefully Atsu and/or Guardado on the way, where do Everton honestly rate among the best teams in the Premier League going into the 2014-15 season?
Taking an objective look at the league, we probably have to admit that Manchester City and Chelsea appear to have the strongest sides. But can any other club really claim to rate clearly higher than Everton now?
There is good reason to believe that all Southampton’s horses and all Southampton’s men can’t put the RS together again, after the departure of Suarez. Their attack has lost its…bite.
Nothing that Arsenal and Man Utd have done looks like a dramatic improvement. Van Gaal is even making excuses already, saying how difficult it is to sort out the mess that Moyes left him, how unbalanced his squad are, and so forth.
And are the Spurs even in the discussion anymore?
I think a 3rd place finish is a quite realistic goal for Everton this season.
For the betting types, I notice that for a “Tricast” bet for 1st Chelsea, 2nd Man City, 3rd Everton, one can get odds of 225 to 1 or as much as 400 to 1, and for 1st Man City, 2nd Chelsea, 3rd Everton, 225 to 1 or as much as 500 to 1. A small bet on each of these outcomes might not be a bad wager to make right now!
Reader Comments (140)
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1 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:18:36
2 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:12:28
For me, we still lack a world-class attacking midfielder to rotate with Barkley, Pienaar and Osman and who can provide Lukaku with the ammunition that was clearly lacking at times last season, particularly against teams that dug in and put men behind the ball.
I'd be surprised if Martinez is done for the transfer window, though, so we may have a clearer answer to your question at the end of the month.
4 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:23:09
5 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:25:24
6 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:32:41
7 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:27:23
All that said, maybe it's Roberto, but I believe we can be there or there abouts.
8 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:23:07
Consistency is going to be the key. We have to beat teams we're supposed to beat, and surprise a few of the ones we're not. Every one knows what to expect from us now, so we won't be surprising anybody this season. It will be harder just to repeat what happened last season.
9 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:33:43
10 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:41:57
11 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:44:44
If we stay consistently good we could do it but it's a lot to ask , there are 6 other sides all wanting to do the same and we can't all be top 3!
Fingers crossed though.
12 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:49:04
Even Man U who I reckon we have more better players than, have world class attacking threat with the addition of Herrera to RVP and Rooney. Arsenal have that player as do Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City. Even Spurs have Ericksen.
If there is one thing that might cost us its this. Too many times last year the players were trying to score spectacular goals and were quite selfish. Very few lay offs that threaded the needle.
13 Posted 01/08/2014 at 16:58:04
The window’s not shut yet but suppose we got Traore and Atsu, I think United have more fire power in their attack.
What we need to compensate is for the likes of Barkley, Miralles, McGeady and Pienaar to chip in with more goals.
We also need to believe we can finish that high.
14 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:03:44
15 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:01:45
Meanwhile, I'll be putting my usual wager on two places below last season's fifth and hoping, like last time, I've underestimated the manager and his charges !
16 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:01:20
As for third best team - I don't think so not yet anyway don't forget apart from struggling to beat the usual suspects away from home in particular we will and have been seen as a scalp for many of the rest of the league We have to keep our home record which won't be any easier this season and we need to win more away from home which again is easier said than done.
Just enjoy the ride see where we are next March / April and then perhaps we can start to think that we are in with a chance - patience is required and setting us up for a fall is Everton's favourite pastime.
17 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:04:56
Realistically we have resigned 2 players as our players instead of borrowing them from other clubs and signed a couple of additional players.
of course the big difference is that Roma has chosen to come to our club when he had other options, including sitting on the bench for higher wages.
I just don't want us putting too much pressure on the young players, who are still learning and will make mistakes.
We lack strength in depth but I truly believe that we have a very good chance of getting in the top 4.
Man U will not make it and if they don't make the top 4 that has serious financial implications for the club. No pressure then.
Let's enjoy seeing Roberto develop the squad and who knows in a couple of seasons we could be looking at winning the title. Why Not?
19 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:15:10
20 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:15:33
IÂm one of BobbyÂs biggest backers on here, I think, and delighted with what has happened so far in this window. However, it might be better to ask this question on 3 September... or 3 May 2015. Today only Besic is the difference between us last Autumn and us this minute.
Yes, there will be more incoming perhaps over the next few days if reports are as credible as they seem. But today, right now, this minute, 3rd best? LetÂs give it a few weeks... or months Â– or years!
Man City and Chelsea are streets ahead but that donÂt mean we wonÂt beat them on the day. I suspect that Man Utd will finish ahead of us this season and I have a hunch that Arsene has more big things under his sleeve. The Redshite have brought in too much dispersed talent and look like Spurs this time last year. Spurs donÂt count, I agree.
Again, we wonÂt know for a good few weeks what the others will end up looking like for the season. So, once more, this is all premature.
I wish people would hold back on threads about what we will be and what we will do next season for a little longer. Exciting times, I know, and when someone else joins us soon weÂll get another one of these things.
But Â… IF Â– chuckle Â– everything remained exactly the same as it is today, then we will end up in 4th to 6th, so letÂs say 5th!
21 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:33:32
I expect Man Utd to be in the top-3 btw. No euro distraction. Just look at how the RS did last year.
22 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:33:50
23 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:41:02
"Naismith improved considerably last season but would he get into any of last season's top four? Osman has been a good servant but isn't a long term answer."
Same could be said for Alan Harper, Kevin Richardson and a few others from the 80's so you never know.
We've never been group of superstars but a team whenever we have won anything.
To me, our first team should fear nobody and is definitely on for top 4 - at least on paper.
Need 3 more in to give us sufficient depth for 4 competitions.
24 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:46:32
25 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:43:56
Don't knock it, enjoy it while you can.
In the words of the famous song re-penned by myself last year,
"We share the dream, and sing with one voice - I am, you are, we're Evertonians"
26 Posted 01/08/2014 at 17:54:24
Chelsea and Man City are certains for the top 4 for me, and Arsenal have bought Sanchez and have an incredible midfield; the Redshite are an unexpected force this season, though I donÂt think theyÂll be as good as last season.
Man Utd will have less games than us to worry about so we should be careful of them, they still have a strike force of Mata, Rooney and RvP. Spurs for once have a decent manager; also those flops of last season may be their heroes this season. I just hope if we donÂt quite hit top 4 this season that fans donÂt start jumping on Bobby’s back.
27 Posted 01/08/2014 at 18:11:38
28 Posted 01/08/2014 at 18:11:02
Here's what I like, however:
We've pulled ourselves up into a mini-league just behind a given season's elite teams. In this mini-league we've got Tottenham, and another couple teams from the perennial 'elites' who are having a relatively lackluster season.
I don't think we can challenge (for the title -- not in individual matches) whichever 2-3 teams emerge as the strongest title contenders from the group of Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Man Utd, and, to a lesser extent, Liverpool. However, there are usually only 2-3 teams that play at that elite level throughout the course of the season, and we're now in a position to battle it out with the other 2-3 teams for the last Champions League place, and the other European places.
Effectively, I think we're ensconced in a seven team mini-league, albeit toward the mid- to lower end of that league: Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd, Everton, Tottenham, Liverpool. 2-3 of those teams will go on and challenge for the title -- we won't be one of them, but we can sure battle it out with the rest. We may end up bottom of that league (7th) in a given year, or fifth, fourth, sixth, but 1-3 are tremendously unlikely until we take the next step.
But, this was a step that had to happen. We had to transition from mid-table mediocrity, with potential to make European places if the season worked out just so, to a team that was constructed to challenge for European places on an annual basis. I think we've done that. It doesn't guarantee 4th or 5th place finishes every year, but I think it puts us clearly in the mix.
29 Posted 01/08/2014 at 18:17:17
30 Posted 01/08/2014 at 18:43:22
Given the fee we paid for Kone I would consider 12 goals to be a decent return.
31 Posted 01/08/2014 at 18:25:14
Liverpool have lost Suarez but have added near 𧴜 million worth of talent and similarly Chelsea have lost Luiz but have added players like Costa and Fabregas.
Arsenal haven't lost any players but have added Sanchez and Debuchy. Man City have added Fernando and I expect more to follow while Man Utd are undoubtedly stronger with the signings of Herrera and Shaw.
So in my opinion Chelsea are stronger, Arsenal are stronger, Man City are slightly better, Man Utd are stronger and the jury is out on Liverpool.
I don't think Everton have strengthen (we had Lukaku & Barry last season) and I can't see Besic instead of Deulofeu changing much. I don't want to say we are standing still but we certainly haven't strengthened the team as much as our rivals.
But on the other hand I expect young players like Barkley, Lukaku and Stones is grow in stature and hopefully the team will improve as they develop.
32 Posted 01/08/2014 at 18:49:46
Unfortunately, I see Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, and Man U ahead of us. The first 3 look just quality. Man U, with their fat-headed Dutch manager will be much better this season. Precisely down to the fact that the fat-headed Dutchman knows what the hell he's doing IMO. I think he's gonna be one hell of a manager.
I think we're in from 5th to 7th between us, rs, and Spurs.
One thing's for certain - it's going to be a very exciting season. I think we can get top 4, but it's gonna be a monumental task this year.
And Bobby is just fucking gold. It's gonna be a wild, entertaining, fun ride all the way through May.
33 Posted 01/08/2014 at 18:57:19
They did just as well without Suarez last season and have strengthened their defence which was their big weakness last season.
Chelsea and Man City have enormous quality throughout their squads and Arsenal have added quality too.
That for me is the top 4 sorted and its between us, Man U and Spurs for 5th.
Despite not being in Europe I believe it will be a transitional season for Van Gaal but I do expect Pocchetino to do better at Spurs (who only finished 3 points behind us last season).
So its going to be a really competitive and demanding season
and despite the optimism going around I am not building my expectations up too highly.
I have a feeling we will go all out in the Europa league which I think I am right in saying if we win it we qualify for CL.
34 Posted 01/08/2014 at 18:58:29
One could claim we have players who will be fit this year who weren't last year. True, but there will no doubt be new long term injuries, and maybe some who matter more than Kone or Gibson or Alcaraz or Hibbert.
One could claim our younger players will benefit from being a year older and more experienced. True, but I'm not sure our key older players, like Distin, Osman, Peanuts, can claim the same.
I think we will probably finish 6th, 7th or 8th unless our board have some serious tricks up their sleeves.
In fact, I've suggested that this year, it might just be worth accepting a poor PL performance and giving the EL our full attention. I think we have a good enough squad to avoid relegation, while our first team is good enough to win the EL, which this year, means you're in the CL. To me, it looks like a more viable route to that holy grail than the league.
35 Posted 01/08/2014 at 18:59:58
So we won't win it. But will finish 3rd or 4th.
My top 6.
4. The Arse (we were so close to these last season and should have been ahead of them - and they were top of the league longer than any other side last season).
5. Utd (they can't be any worse than last season)
6. The shite (they can be any better than last season)
If you can't dream now, when can you dream? As someone else pointed out on here, let's hope the 40 point target days are well and truly behind us. What do you think RM is telling the players - 5th or 6th will be phenomenal? I don't think so and 5th / 6th doesn't excite me at all. Is it so much more difficult for us than for Athletico Madrid?
36 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:27:27
What players from Liverpool would you say would get in our team, who would they displace and in what positions? I know you said ÂsquadÂ, but just interested.
38 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:34:05
39 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:34:32
Desperately hoping for a European final personally, winning it would be a dream come true.
40 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:37:38
Also don't underestimate the attraction of Old Big Ears to our neighbours or indeed to City so yes we might have more of a chance in one way but it will still take some effort and performances to realise the dream. But I wouldn't totally write off our chances and I also don't buy into the idea that these particular clubs are automatically entitled to finish in the top 6 places because they spent more money than the rest of the league.
41 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:41:46
42 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:39:59
I take your point but squad stability with emerging youth must count for something. Not only that but RM's completely different outlook / style of play and management approach have moved us on a level from the previous regime in only one season. We also have smashed our transfer record and now have a striker to potentially rank alongside - Bob Latchford, Gary Lineker et all (note - potentially).
Yes it could all go tits up - second season syndrome, injuries etc - but if all the excitement and expectation that people can muster before the season's started is for a pragmatic 6th / 7th finish then I don't get that mentality (except in the context of being perennial relegation fodder or mid table mediocrity which we no longer are.)
By the way, if splashing the cash was always a formula for success, Spurs and Newcastle would be extending their trophy rooms now.
43 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:41:25
If Pienaar, McGeady and Mirallas can find consistant form we will be stronger.
If Gibson, Kone & Oviedo can overcome their injuries and contribute the team we will be stronger.
And if the likes of Coleman, Baines and McCarthy can find another level we will be stronger.
44 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:45:45
So for me it is 4 clubs chasing 4th, us Liverpool,Man utd and Spurs.
You have to think that Man Utd will be better than last season and with no European games to worry about I make them favourites for 4th. Although Liverpool have added players with Suarez gone and Champions league to play in I cant see them making top 4 either.
I am sure we will give it a good go and RM has got his main transfer targets signed so unlike last season we arent playing catch up.
45 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:52:40
For every player who might find form next season (Pienaar, Mirallas, McGeady) there is a player who could sadly lose form.
And for every player returning from injury (Kone, Gibson, Oviedo) there is the potential for other players to get injured.
So its very hard to say if we will be stronger of weaker next season. Lets just hope for the best.
46 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:52:41
I hope for the players, the sky is the limit- and as someone else said, Atletico is a good proxy for what so called second tier sides can achieve- but as a supporter, I always find that realism prevents disappointment. Personally I'd sooner be pleasantly surprised (as last season) than let down.
47 Posted 01/08/2014 at 20:07:39
Assuming a couple more additions before the window closes we will be a bit stronger than a year ago. Most importantly we will have cover in the defensive midfield position, last season after Gibson was injured we only had two players and I think they just ran out of steam towards the end.
We will certainly be in the mix between 8th and 4th (usually one mid table team pops into the top 7 mini league) third is not out of the question, but things would have to go our way.
48 Posted 01/08/2014 at 20:06:19
Fair point. But it's still a bit Moyes-esque in outlook.
I'm fed-up with the status quo of best of the rest or punching above our weight and so on.
None of the supporters of 'Sky 4' clubs will be expecting anything less than CL.
What I like about RM is him changing our outlook to the same as theirs.
While it's a massive challenge, I genuinely believe right now that we can break into the top 4 this season.
(And I'm not on medication or boozed-up.)
P.S. 84-85 - we went from 7th to winning it. OK times have changed etc but still ...... so have EFC by the looks of it.
49 Posted 01/08/2014 at 20:12:20
Anything can happen but we will need great luck on our side and two or more of our rivals to underperform in the way that Man U did last season.
I expect Chelsea and City to slug it out for 1st with Arsenal not that far behind if they don't get the bad injury luck of last season. Us, RS, manyoo and Spurs will likely battle it out for 4th and we will do very well to beat two let alone all three of those teams. But no harm in hoping.
50 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:23:02
The key word is improvement.
The Mancs have enjoyed years of success, by having teams built on top class center halves, can they improve enough with Evans, Smalling (and the lighthouse whose name escapes me) minding the shop? No chance.
Can the shite improve without rat boy? No chance
Will Costa embrace the 90 minute hard labour Jose will demand every week and can Drogba or lady boy turn back
the clock and weigh in with enough goals, Can John Terry improve? No Chance.
I expect City and Arsenal to be strong and Pocchetino will not be long in turning all the talented misfits Levy bought last year into a cohesive unit . . .but we are the ones with REAL scope for improvement.
Stones will improve. Barkley will improve. Seamus will improve.Mirallas will improve. Lukaku will improve. Macca will improve . . . FFs Even our arl geriatric goalie has decided to improve.
our players grasp of the system will improve.
Our confidence and belief will improve.
While we've seen the best of Wenger,,Jose, Pelegrini and Van Gaal, Our boy will improve
Of course we have a chance, we have a briiliant chance.
The Manager, The Players may be pretty much the same as last year, but theyll be better, of course they'll be better
51 Posted 01/08/2014 at 20:09:44
52 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:58:56
Don't forget we have the Europa games, which I can only see making our Prem. League task more difficult.
We are short a top class attacking midfielder without a doubt, if we could get one we would then have a team to compete with the very best.
Lets wait to see what the end of the transfer window brings,
but I'm sure we are now in a far better position as a club than we were at this time last year.
Lets enjoy the games, its going to be a very interesting and exciting season for certain.
At the moment I'd say top 4 unlikely, top 6 good chance of, top 8 very likely to, my guess is 6th.
53 Posted 01/08/2014 at 20:31:01
Again, the clubs that assume CL football each year are the clubs that challenge for 1st and accept > 4th as a consolation. We're not quite there yet.
54 Posted 01/08/2014 at 19:47:03
As wonderful as that would be, does anyone know if our "nearest and dearest" were to finish fourth in the EPL, would they then have to give way to us as winners of the Europa and so drop out of the CL in 2015?
55 Posted 01/08/2014 at 20:47:48
56 Posted 01/08/2014 at 20:42:36
This morning my postman delivered me a nice refund from HRMC. Two Peoples Club season tickets just purchased.
Roll on August
57 Posted 01/08/2014 at 20:41:44
I'm not saying we go out shouting our mouths off like kopites about what we're going to do. Leave that to them.
It's time to move up a level and a very uncharacteristic 㿈m investment suggests that the board believe this is also the case.
I really don't think they'd have done that with an expectation of status quo being maintained.
Doesn't mean it will happen, of course, but given that we broke the top 4 in 2005 with arguably a less robust / talented side than what we have now, I think it is on.
58 Posted 01/08/2014 at 20:58:39
We currently need a play maker in midfield a couple if centre backs and another decent striker. We will also need a decent back up keeper to keep the pressure on Timmy.
IÂm more optimistic than IÂve been for a long time about the start of a new season but letÂs just get behind them from the start and if the results go our way in the tough start we have then maybe billy will get the cheque book out again even if itÂs for loanees.
59 Posted 01/08/2014 at 21:11:41
Was probably France's most creative player at the WC and is still very very fast, technically adept, and will provide us the spark we need.
60 Posted 01/08/2014 at 20:59:53
I'm a firm believer in setting high standards for the players, the manager and the board. If we all sit on our hands and accept mid-table mediocrity, that's what we will be served, make no mistake.
Please, no more mention of our past relegation scraps as an excuse, the last fella got a free ride on the back of that one.
We are an established top 6 club, no matter what the other clubs are spending. I would hate to think any manager gave a team talk pointing out how much Spurs, or the shite had spent, so neither should we. It's 11 v 11, and no-one has gone and bought a team full of Ronaldo's - just mainly overpriced foreign players. How many times have these big signings flopped? it's on!
61 Posted 01/08/2014 at 21:34:46
62 Posted 01/08/2014 at 21:54:56
63 Posted 01/08/2014 at 21:48:34
64 Posted 01/08/2014 at 22:04:36
65 Posted 01/08/2014 at 22:18:54
66 Posted 01/08/2014 at 22:03:36
I see only one team that was consistently excellent year in and year out over the past 20 years, and that was Man U. under Ferguson. And correct me if I'm wrong, but they began with a core group of young players that they brought up themselves, and only added outside stars to the core they had in place. I don't see Arsenal or the RS or the Spurs or today's Man U. doing that. I don't think Everton has to fear any of them or look at them as superiors.
67 Posted 01/08/2014 at 22:51:44
Now that would be a creative midfielder for Ross to learn from!!!
70 Posted 01/08/2014 at 22:59:36
ManCity the best team in the league this year?
LFC 2nd best?
Chelsea third best?
Arsenal 4th best? (closest to a lock on this one)
Everton 5th best? Here I say no. Everton Football Club is poised to break the "glass ceiling" for several, reasons. Every reason, um, . . . . . . . . reasonable.
1. Roberto is settled as manager for the first Big Club he's managed. Respect to Swansea City and Wigan Athletic. But, neither are Everton.
2. Roberto is building from a platform of true professional footballers who bought into his approach (a lot faster than guys like me watching the first several games last season).
3. The last minute-of-the-window pairing of Barry and McCarthy worked out well. This season? Even better.
4. Ross Barkley, at 20-years of age, was a regular for a Top-4 challenging Side. Did great/OK/not bad/shit. Expect the last two of those opinions gone this season.
5. Lukaku. Mourinho, all salutations and genuflections to you; you brilliant, arroganttothepointofstupidity genius.
The sky's the limit with Lukaku. For the first time in the Prem, the youngster is in camp with the same set of teammates under the same manager. Good times for Evertonians.
6. Injuries - Unavoidable. But a reprieve from Lady Luck would be nice. Speaking of injuries:
7. Gibson. In general, players at his position, enter their prime at the age he is now. So, Lady Luck, I ask you: Please, please (dropping to my knees like James Brown), PLEASE go easy on Gibson's legs. If he can stay healthy, play regular? One of the clubs finished ahead of us last season needs to shift.
71 Posted 02/08/2014 at 00:07:24
72 Posted 02/08/2014 at 01:20:38
As for Everton. If we can get forward with fewer passes, score more goals, stop crosses into our box and defend set pieces, we would, of course, finish in a very high position. Yes indeed, that "if" is a mighty word.
73 Posted 02/08/2014 at 03:30:46
74 Posted 02/08/2014 at 04:49:25
75 Posted 02/08/2014 at 07:54:09
A lot will depend on injuries for us. We are going to need Lukaku to stay fit for most of the season and Kone has to come back and prove himself.
Our first XI is as good as most teams but it’s the injuries, loss of form, and suspensions which will most likely cost us again.
76 Posted 02/08/2014 at 08:13:26
77 Posted 02/08/2014 at 08:46:34
78 Posted 02/08/2014 at 08:50:52
Good point, I posted the same a couple of weeks ago.
They came within 1 mistake from winning the league and he is ripping the team up?
79 Posted 02/08/2014 at 09:25:06
We’ve got a good team spirit and, crucially I think, a settled team who know exactly how the manager wants them to play and will work as a unit from day 1 (continuity of manager and players was one of the key elements behind Utd’s success and to an extent our own).
By stark contrast Liverpool appear to be doing a spurs and trying to replace 1 world class player with a host of less good ones (although they aren’t done yet - they have cash still and I wouldn’t be amazed if someone like Bony signed on). This isn’t to say it won’t work better here than in North London and there are some good players (Sterling, Sturridge and Llallana in the mix) plus the nucleus of a side that went close for the title. However, I suspect the need for new players to settle, the lack of Suarez and the challenge of Champions League will leave Liverpool struggling more in the league - top 6 certainly and top 4 challengers but not nailed on.
City are settled champions with a couple of new signings and Aguero back fit so I’d expect them to be top 2 again (although much will depend on whether Yaya can hit the same heights this year). I’d expect Chelsea, who were already strong but have signed 3 world class players, to go one step further this year and win the trophy. Fabregas, Costa and Drogba between them will get the goals that Torres and Eto’o couldn’t manage and with the likes of Hazard, Oscar and Schurle in midfield they could be fiersome. I’m certainly hoping we catch them before they really start to click.
Assuming Chelsea and City are favourites for 1-2, and Liverpool are expected to finish 4-6, then our other obvious rivals are Arsenal and Utd.
I don’t agree with the OP that Arsenal aren’t stronger, the arrival of Sanchez adds more attacking bite and the ability to start with fit again Ramsey, Wilshire and Oxlade-Chamberlain (albeit not Walcott) as options alongside Cazorla, Ozil and Arteta mean that Giroud will have more ammunition. The return of the pacy Campbell who looked pretty good in the World Cup is also a boon and I’d expect 1-2 more signings. Most importantly they finally managed to break their hoodoo and win a trophy last year which leads me to suspect they’ll be challenging for the top slots.
Which leaves us with Utd. An utter shambles without direction, motivation and all weaknesses exposed last season, we really can’t expect the same again. For all of Van Gaal’s claims his target will be top 4 at the very least. With a couple of decent new signings bolstering defence and midfield, a brand new shape that seems better suited to their front players and a truly world class manager (minus the distraction of European football) I see Utd as our main challengers for 4th (above Liverpool).
On the periphery of all this are Spurs and to be honest no-one knows what to expect from them. They have a better manager who can make differences quickly and who knows how to build strong defence but plays attacking football. They also have a decent number of good players and IF they could be aligned into a team could be a contender for the CL places.
No doubt the rest of the PL will throw up a couple of surprises who make an impressive showing early on, although looking at it coldly it’s hard to see who these could be this year. Of the teams that showed well in recent years Southampton have been gutted, Newcastle are all over the place and Swansea lost their way meaning that you end up looking at Stoke or Palace as best of rest!!
Add this all together and we’re looking again at 7 teams vying for (likely) 6 European spots and 4 CL places.
Of these my gut feeling is that we have enough to finish above Spurs and a ’second season’ Liverpool side who for some reason I just feel will struggle more this time, so I’’d have these 2 in 6-7 with City and Chelsea out of reach in 1-2.
So the question we return to is can we really compete/overcome Arsenal and/or Utd over a season? If we start well and have some luck with injuries I think we can compete certainly but even with a strong first team and some good back-ups I think we have to admit that they both have stronger squads (transfermarkt values their teams at 3x ours for instance http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/jumplist/startseite/wettbewerb/GB1), so it’ll be down to team spirit and Martinez trickery to even the score.
80 Posted 02/08/2014 at 10:18:55
81 Posted 02/08/2014 at 10:14:18
Most posts on this thread focus on how Everton have strengthened by being the same. I endorse that view believing that 'owned' players bring a different mindset to those on loan.
However, the Top Four have already invested heavily in improving and none of those clubs' managers are dolts - even Brenda !
I think we can stay ahead of change absorbed Spurs and suspect the arrogant Vanman has a bigger job on his hands than he realises. But man for man and with the Thursday night diversion to be factored in, I doubt we shall trouble 'the monied ones'.
For certain, we'll cause a few shocks but suspect that with not much in reserve, we could well run out of steam a long way before the finishing line.
82 Posted 02/08/2014 at 10:50:30
Injuries will definitely occur Â– they always do.
I repeat what I wrote here before Â– a place in the Champions League justifies getting busy with European football, since it brings big money indeed and enables strengthening the squad dramatically. Playing in the Europa League will, IÂm afraid, cost us not getting 4th. I wish I will be proven wrong.
83 Posted 02/08/2014 at 12:15:22
Utd will be better under Van Gal , Arsenal minus injuries and plus Sanchez will be better, Liverpool will miss Ratboy, Spurs have replaced their statistically best manager ?????? and will be worse.
I'd say that puts us 5th.
84 Posted 02/08/2014 at 13:05:19
All managers get testing periods, we just don't know when Martinez's will come and how he'll come through it. That'll be the real test. Mid-table mediocrity is our biggest fear. It is far too early to make lofty predictions or write off other strong teams.
85 Posted 02/08/2014 at 13:05:03
That's the strongest we've been for years.
86 Posted 02/08/2014 at 13:21:38
No Barry? But you're spot on, it is looking very strong, with the likes of Alcaraz and presumably another centre forward, as well as a few youngsters hopefully pushing on, we might surprise ourselves.
Hang on, what's that?
Oh that's right, it's optimism. I'd forgotten all about that.
87 Posted 02/08/2014 at 13:17:45
Disagree that Drogba is a world class player at this point in his career, but I'm with you on Fabregas and Costa. For me, Sanchez to Arsenal is the best transfer of the window; he is a terrific player and will do really well for then. Giroud? He's a dead loss - the more ammunition you give him, the more he'll shoot himself in the foot. Unfortunately, I'm convinced Van Gaal with grab United's players by the balls and drag them into contention. It might take a little time, though.
Predicting league placing is pretty pointless right now, but I expect us to operating be in the same zone as last season - ie, 4th-8th.
Colin - you've left Barry out of both of your teams! WTF?
88 Posted 02/08/2014 at 13:27:23
89 Posted 02/08/2014 at 12:47:27
90 Posted 02/08/2014 at 13:34:13
I have heard we are in the hunt to bring Delboy back.
91 Posted 02/08/2014 at 13:37:00
Is your third forename "Cars"?
92 Posted 02/08/2014 at 13:24:52
Without the Europa I could fancy us to give the top 4 comp. a real run at, but I fear the diversion of the extra games will take the edge off our challenge in the Prem.
I'm very optimistic for the future though, and I believe the quality of our squad will increase year on year as long as Martinez is manager.
93 Posted 02/08/2014 at 13:27:23
Do you think Gibson is going to be injured all season or you just don't rate him ?
94 Posted 02/08/2014 at 13:46:53
95 Posted 02/08/2014 at 14:00:08
Straight into U21's.
Disappointed Colin Glassar never picked up on this :)
96 Posted 02/08/2014 at 14:30:50
97 Posted 02/08/2014 at 14:34:01
I was really impressed with Naismith's showing last season but in reality he only started a few Premier League matches last season and scored once as a central striker. Mirallas was also tried a couple of times at striker but is clearly a much better threat as a right-sided attacking player. Can't rely on Arouna Kone and Traore.
We do have some good young uns we can try out more frequently such as Chris Long, Conor McAleny and Hallam Hope but another proven striker will surely all but complete the puzzle.
98 Posted 02/08/2014 at 14:44:08
99 Posted 02/08/2014 at 14:47:09
I don't know if it was intentional but you left Barry, Gibson, and Oviedo completely out of your line-ups. I'm probably in the minority here but I think Gibson is a quality player (when fit). He might not have an engine like McCarthy but he does possess a good range of passing and is a good option to have.
Oviedo proved he was more capable of deputising for Baines when needed... and can also play in midfield.
We have plenty of depth already and hopefully Martinez isn't finished in the transfer market; a creative midfielder and another striker would just complete the squad nicely.
Lets remember, we suffered with terrible injuries last season and started the season slowly with 3 draws... it was a season where the players were getting used to Martinez's change in football philosophy. This squad is virtually the same as last years and has had a year to get used to Martinez's methods... players such Barkley and Stones have gained more experience, so I think we could shock a few of our closest rivals... and finish 3rd.
My first team XI would be:
Coleman Jags Distin Baines
Mirallas Barkley Pienaar
My second XI would be:
Hibbert Stones Alcaraz Oviedo
Mcgeady Osman Astu
Subs: Robles Garbutt Galloway Duffy Naismith
100 Posted 02/08/2014 at 14:57:59
101 Posted 02/08/2014 at 15:24:59
The best thing for us might be to get knocked out of the Europa quickly, so we can focus on the league. We will see what Roberto really thinks of the Europa by his choice of goalkeeper.
I'm still not sold on Arsenal's greatness. We'll see. Last season Arsenal won 21 of their 26 matches vs. the "bottom 13", tops in the league. We only won 17 of those matches. We have more room to improve and I think we will. For Arsenal to improve they will have to beat more top teams, a tall order. If Sanchez is Player of the Year, they could win the league. If Sanchez does not gel with the team or the team does not gel with him, they could finish 4th or 5th.
102 Posted 02/08/2014 at 15:46:25
I think we must aim for Champions League football, but will full short. I want to see silverware this season, and think that our team can achieve that. 3rd is out of the question, because those above us boast players with incredible quality in reserve, have world class consistent quality (Barkley and Mirallas offer flashes but no consistency) and are used to balancing European and league football. I feel that we could close on Liverpool, but I see Arsenal, Chelski and City finishing just as far away as last season, whilst I fear a United renaissance under the superior management of Van Gaal.
103 Posted 02/08/2014 at 16:10:29
Basing any prediction whilst factoring in the injury quotient is speculation at its wildest !
104 Posted 02/08/2014 at 16:28:50
105 Posted 02/08/2014 at 16:29:00
107 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:02:53
109 Posted 02/08/2014 at 16:31:44
"Everyone has spent more" . "we've got Europa league to contend with" . "we're not ready yet" . "we'll get injuries" . . Dear me it makes for depressing reading. What next ? will we be playing against the wind every week?
I've been critical of Martinez in the past, but fuck me the guy has his work cut out trying to rid this club of its inferiority complex.
You don't pay 28m for a striker to finish 6-7th, You can do
that by getting a croc like Saha on the cheap.
Whether the expectation dampeners like it or not, Martinez - fair play to him - has thrown our hat into the ring, he has declared us top four contenders and by smashing the club record he is showing the courage of his convictions.
We are not asking for "miracles, nor being "unrealistic" The hole of football knows we have a talented group of players and are very real contenders.
The difference betweeen Gobshites and Evertonians is they don't care who thinks they are delusional, they still think they"ll win everything . . half of our fans don't even dare to dream.
110 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:15:32
111 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:14:48
112 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:08:40
113 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:22:24
I have often mentioned that Everton FC are at their best when the fans and the team are on the same wavelength and the atmosphere created can be enough to have experienced opposition pros wilting and for our players to reach incredible heights.
Nobody knows how things will work out in the coming season and that is the beauty of the game - but whatever happens it is bound to be full of incident and excitement and we all hope not too much disappointment. COYB let's give it a real go this time around.
114 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:25:14
115 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:36:36
"our injury luck was the best in the entire league."
116 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:32:54
It was not unrealistic to position us at or close to the top and there was definitely an excitement and anticipation to the new season.
This is the first time in ages I have had that feeling of positioning Everton for a real challenge. It may not work out as we plan but if you can't be positive / optimistic given the past year and having just broken our transfer record by some margin, then there's something wrong.
117 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:42:36
118 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:35:56
He conceded only 2 goals in the 7 matches including nil-ling
us and Man C in the final making some cracking saves!
119 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:28:42
Brian & Colin (The Prophet) are right, yours is a really good post and as Evertonians we simply must bgin to think as you are.
And to prove it I'll use a very dark chapter in our history to illustrate why.
"The Wimbledon Game".
In the week before that fixture our "cheeky neighbours" were wetting their pants with the prospect of us slipping through the trapdoor.
The ramifications were simply unthinkable.
So, I decided that if I capitulated I was gunna get at least 53 weeks of sheer torment. Plus, I'd always know that I'd bottled out.
If I stood my ground and we pulled off "The Great Escape", those spineless glory hunters would soon bugger off !
So despite what "The Undead" were whispering in my ears I gave it loads, and just laughed in their faces when they tried it on......and true to form they were nowhere to be found when we succeeded.
But, have I learned to stick to that line of reason ?
Roberto is encouraging us all to think and act with that singleminded confidence "We Will Succeed".
He really doesn't show the slightest shadow of doubt that we will succeed, not at all.
He regularly reminds whoever is in earshot just how great our Everton heritage really is.
So, surely, if we gave credence to his predecessors "Dads Army" philosophy, it just must be easier & more productive to adopt Roberto's positive approach ?
There, I've said it now, so no turning back.
I'm up for it.
120 Posted 02/08/2014 at 17:51:06
I suppose league ladders were around for a while - perhaps into the 90's. I forgot about the progress chart as well. I might check at the newsagents when I walk our Dixie a bit later (!)
Holy crap - 48 years old and I'll be collecting football player Panini (?) stickers next and doing swaps.
121 Posted 02/08/2014 at 18:02:40
122 Posted 02/08/2014 at 18:09:50
123 Posted 02/08/2014 at 18:15:08
However, just a YouTube clip?
He sent me a cake and a gift voucher as well.
124 Posted 02/08/2014 at 18:14:28
125 Posted 02/08/2014 at 18:17:10
126 Posted 02/08/2014 at 18:36:16
And in-keeping with his outlook and persona.
127 Posted 02/08/2014 at 18:13:06
'I would go so far as to say that, as far as our first eleven was concerned, our injury luck was the best in the entire league.'
I didn't say our injury luck was the best in the league, I said it in relation to the first 11. It may have been an exaggeration, but I would state that our injury luck last season, in terms of our first eleven, is as good as we can expect.
Of course we had injuries to others, although picking on players that we not in the first 11 ignores my point (Again..read my post properly).
Last season, I would argue that our first 11 was:
Howard (37 appearances)
Baines (32 appearances)
Our most injury absence was therefore Pienaar, who was still available for 23 out of 38 matches, and who I believe was the least important of those players in terms of what he contributed last season.
Now let me ask you a question: Do you think that we had bad luck in terms of injuries to our first 11? And how many/which top 10 sides lost first 11 players for less time than we did (I say top 10, because top 10 are relevant to us in terms of quality, and more than that would necessitate too much research. I look forward to your answers.
128 Posted 02/08/2014 at 18:21:48
What is aparrent to me is we are at a point, financially and statistically, with Man U and Spurs adrift and the shite losing their best player, where stretching ourselves to make a big push this season might prove worth a calculated risk.
We were at the same point a few years ago where splurging on a big name could have delivered CL football and we didn't go for it, I suspect we have the funds and, knowing what I do about our manager, if there is a chance to risk it all and go for it, he will.
I expect at least one more big signing - a game changer.
129 Posted 02/08/2014 at 18:43:16
132 Posted 04/08/2014 at 08:42:08
I think there will be times that some of the other 5 or 6, will falter and we'll be there breathing down their necks.
In 2 or 3 seasons time, as long as we can keep Robbie and the players we have already, then I think we will be even more stylish and a more complete squad.
So I'll never say never but the odds are stacked in favour of those with mega bucks.
133 Posted 04/08/2014 at 09:18:29
Top 3 - Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal.
Next 4 - Man Utd, Everton, Spurs, LFC.
Man Utd have got the likes of RVP, Rooney, Mata, Herrera, just need to sort their defence out. They will be a different proposition this year, as will Spurs. Liverpool will also be in amongst it, they may have lost Suarez but last season will have rejuvenated their belief that they are 'contenders' once more - a belief which will more than adequately be pushed by Rodgers and the media.
If we want to consider ourselves as genuine Top 4 material we need to develop a much sharper cutting edge, we're very good at keeping possession now, just not good enough at capitalising on it.
I predict 5th again with a major tilt at one of the Cups.
134 Posted 04/08/2014 at 09:56:16
135 Posted 04/08/2014 at 12:19:21
To continue the form of last season would be a massive achievement, let's not forget that. But just as we can beat anyone on our day, so can we lose to almost anyone on a bad day too.
136 Posted 04/08/2014 at 12:39:28
137 Posted 04/08/2014 at 22:43:53
Article says: "That leaves Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool vying for third and fourth." Doesn't even mention Everton. And this is after we signed Lukaku.
This kind of annoying article is exactly why I wrote my post, to counter it. As Darren (109) said so well: "You don't pay 28m for a striker to finish 6-7th, You can do that by getting a croc like Saha on the cheap."
138 Posted 05/08/2014 at 20:24:46
139 Posted 07/08/2014 at 22:59:41
Come on, we all wish well, and the potential is there, but keep your feet on the ground boys. Top 4 in the EPL is a tall order when you have to consider that (at least) 2 of those 4 spots are bought and paid for.
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