Can Everton really challenge the top sides in England?

A busy summer and a decent start have greeted Everton so far this year, as the club looks to break the mould of English football. But can they challenge for a place amongst the Premier League’s elites?

History shows that to break into the top six, a club needs around 63 points, often more.

The highest Everton had got since the 2014/15 season was 61 when sixth-placed Manchester United reached 69.

It doesn’t look good, but football is hardly a game where history dictates results.

But it does mean that Everton faces an uphill battle in breaking into the upper tier of English football.

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It was a jam-packed summer for the Merseyside club, particularly in comparison to the quiet around Anfield.

The departures of stalwarts Phil Jagielka and James McCarthy were countered by the permanent acquisition of André Gomes and Fabian Delph, from Barcelona and Manchester City respectively.

Idrissa Gueye left, and the club signed Jean-Philippe Gbamin from Mainz to replace the Senegalese’s midfield role.

Marco Silva had a strategy at work and was making sure he got what he needed over the summer break to make it work.

And so far, it’s been going shakily. Their opening fixture against Crystal Palace saw them dominate the game, which was marred by a Morgan Schneiderlin sending off.

Despite their dominance, however, it remained a stalemate.

Their first home game of the season saw them beat Watford 1-0, a goal in the 10th-minute by Bernard enough to do the trick.

While they rest comfy on four points, for now, it won’t be an easy task for the Toffees. But inroads have been made.

Failing to score away at Palace is perhaps understandable on opening day when the cobwebs are brushed off.

Winning the first game at home is a crucial hurdle, which they passed, and the ship is no doubt steady for Marco Silva’s men.

They may be further bolstered by the fact that they wait for another three games to play a top-six side.

Everton can take pride in the fact that they haven’t conceded a goal at home since February sixth.

The centre-back pairing of Michael Keane and Yerry Mina is working wonderfully and further aided by both the purple patch Lucas Digne is going through and the experience offered by the head of Seamus Coleman.

Mason Holgate will look to establish himself in the squad and push to start, while the loan signing of Djibril Sidibé may prove to be a savvy bit of cover for Coleman.

The defence looks comfortable and settled, which will be crucial when it comes to improving Everton’s goal difference of eight last season.

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Similarly, the attack has been given some firepower.

Alex Iwobi arrives from Arsenal with a hefty fee of £34 million hanging over his head.

However, with Theo Walcott getting on, some Premier League experience on the wings is going to be needed.

Iwobi is also still only 23, a fair few seasons from his reaching his peak years. Frequently one of Arsenal’s better players last year, the Gunners’ loss will be Everton’s gain.

Moise Kean was perhaps the biggest signing of Everton’s summer, somewhat coming out of left-field.

The young Italian, only 19, cost Everton £24.5 million – not a lot considering his age and his six goals in 17 games for Juventus last season.

He could prove to be the striker up top which the club had hoped Cenk Tosun would be but sadly has so far failed to become.

Both attackers are already suited to the fast play that complements players currently in the Everton ranks, such as Bernard, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.

Furthermore, the playmakers in Gylfi Sigurdsson and Tom Davies will thrive in having two new excellent outlets on the counter.

While they recently came worse off in a 2-0 defeat away at Villa, it’s a score that flatters the Birmingham side.

Everton were unlucky not to be level after Iwobi hit the post and Walcott missed a fantastic opportunity.

Kean should have been on far earlier, and it was an uncharacteristically poor day for Andre Gomes.

Having just beaten Lincoln comfortably, Everton host Wolves, an exciting prospect to play against a team similarly looking to challenge the top six hierarchy.

There are a lot of reasons for a positive atmosphere to surround Goodison Park, and fans should be excited.

It’s still obviously early days in the 2019/20 season, but big thing should be expected of Everton, and a push for top six is undoubtedly one of those.

The Author

Billy Brake

University of Edinburgh graduate, Trainee Sports Journalist at News Associates. English born, South African raised. Man United season ticket holder.

2 thoughts on “Can Everton really challenge the top sides in England?

  1. A solid summary here… Watching Everton will be interesting this year that’s for sure. Top 6? Probably not, but reading this I think they might get within 5 points, beating their record the last few years. Let’s wait and find out!

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