In an already turbulent season, I wouldn’t be getting too excited about Everton. Not just yet.
I agree, they are impressive. Romelu Lukaku has found his West Brom form and Ronald Koeman hopes to replicate his excellence in the Dutch leagues. But this is Everton, the most temperamental team in Premier League history.
Thankfully, passed have the days of Tesco budget chocolate Kevin Campbell leading the attack and he has been replaced with the Belgian Bournville that is Lukaku. Everton are tightly knit this season, Koeman has gelled the strengths of the previous term and sprinkled an addition of new signings to bolster the ranks.
Currently sitting unbeaten and second in the league, morale is high going into tonight’s clash with Norwich, many quote The Toffees to be favourites for this tournament. However, the line up will be similar to the team we saw against the 4-0 drubbing of Yeovil in the previous round – with Lukaku confirmed to be rested. This squad shake up not only gives us a glimpse of players that haven’t featured thus far but it also highlights to lack of depth at the back for Everton – which in my opinion will be their ultimate demise.
Everton acquired Swansea captain Ashley Williams in the off-season as an adequate replacement for the departure of John Stones to Man City but surprisingly Koeman has preferred to invest in attacking options. The likes of Yannick Bolaise have provided a consistent width in dangerous positions but with injury-prone stars such as Seamus Coleman, we have seen Koeman having to resort to youngsters like 19-year old Mason Holgate.
Albeit, with a different manager, Everton struggled in the closing stages of the last campaign. With only 5 wins after the Christmas period, 2 of those against the relegated Aston Villa and Newcastle. Toffee followers will hope the inconsistencies of last year have been eradicated but honestly, I do not see this being the case.
Everton have encountered a favorable run so far but I predict that the Christmas period will once again prove to be the stumbling block for the Merseyside outfit where they will encounter Manchester United, Leicester, Arsenal and rivals Liverpool in the month of December.
It is always refreshing to see clubs outside the “Big 4” make strong starts but I fear a re-occurrence of past seasons for Everton with a late but unsuccessful push for the Europa League spots. If Lukaku, Coleman, Baines and Bolaise stay injury free their bright start might just keep them in the mix come May next year.
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