Season Preview: Everton

by Ian Walsh

It has been another typically quiet summer at Goodison Park on the transfer front. At the time of writing, the Toffees have yet to dip their toe into the market – which displays the lack of financial clout they currently possess. Despite this – Everton seem to be in a stable enough position having already turned down a reported £10million offer from Arsenal for defender Phil Jagielka. Even the £2.5million that James Vaughan was sold to Norwich for has yet to be re-invested.

Over the last five seasons – the Toffees have finished seventh, eighth, fifth, fifth and sixth respectively not bad for a club that is financially stricken. But Everton’s most important assets is their manager – David Moyes and who knows what position they would be finishing if he had more of a cash injection.

Speaking recently, Tim Cahill doesn’t seem too phased by the lack of transfers: “We’re trying to build something special. If the funds are there, they’re there, and if they’re not, we’ll have to deal with it.”

Manager: David Moyes
Last season: 7th
2011/12 odds: 250/1
In: 
Out: James Vaughan to Norwich (£2.5m), Iain Tuner (released), Kieran Agard to Yeovil (free), Hope Akpan to Crawley Town (free), John Nolan to Stockport County (free).

Keys to the Season

At the end of last season, Phil Jagielka hit the nail on the head in regards to Everton’s season: “We’ve got no chance of competing for the top four when come Christmas we are in the bottom six,” before adding, “It just needs to be a decent start where we are in the top half around Christmas and then have a good crack for it then.”

The Toffees made a very poor start to last season – August saw them take just one point in three games – their worst start in a decade, and struggled to win just four games out of 20 before the New Year. It also took them seven games before they managed to register their first win of the season.

Their form in the second half of the season was in stark contrast where they managed just four defeats – racking up 32 points in the process which propelled them right up the table allowing them to finish seventh.

Keeping clean sheets will also be another key to the Toffees season having just nine in 38 games last season.

The Team

Depending on injuries – the Toffees usually line-up in either a 4-5-1 or a 4-4-1-1 formation, mainly with Tim Cahill playing just behind the striker. Everton’s biggest strength is down the left flank with Leighton Baines regularly being given licence to go forward and get his crosses into the box. This saw him rack up 11 assists last season. On the opposite side of the field, Seamus Coleman did the same. Both of these wide men are very important for Everton going forward.

Key Player

From an attacking point of view, Everton have many key players but such was his importance last season – Leighton Baines is their key man for the coming season also. Baines played every minute of Everton’s Premier League games last season; he scored seven goals – while also having 11 assists. Tim Cahill, who regularly benefits from Baines’ crossing said of his team-mate in the past: “He’s got that special left foot which can create chances on a plate.”

Opening Fixtures

Tottenham (A), QPR (H), Blackburn (A), Aston Villa (H), Wigan (H).

Not exactly the most taxing of starts to the Premier League season for the Toffees, but you could say the same for last season where they faced Aston Villa and Blackburn in their opening five games and lost to both.

Where will they finish? 

Without question – it is important that Everton have a clean bill of health and avoid their key players getting injured (easier said than done). Moyes’ record at Everton speaks for itself – without investment in the latter days of the transfer window, it’s difficult to see them surpassing 8th

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