After their dramatic win against Tottenham on Sunday, Everton are currently sitting fourth place in the Premier League. They have now had six seasons where they have finished top eight in the League, and they haven’t finished in fourth since 2005. Most people don’t believe that they will finish fourth, but I do, this is why I think they will.
One of the main reasons for Everton doing so well in the past few seasons is because of the manager, David Moyes. He has been with the club now for ten years, and he constantly helps Everton over-achieve. He has had to make do with limited resources, and has not had the same amount of money to spend as some of the other clubs around Everton, such as Tottenham, Arsenal or Liverpool. Everton obviously value their manager as they pay him a 2.9 million pound a year salary, one of the highest salaries in the League for a manager. It is crucial that they hold on to him.
The squad is already built
Compared to some of the teams around them (Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham), they are a much more consistent team and they are very settled, as the core of the team have been playing together for years now. Arsenal and Tottenham both have decent squads, and Liverpool are playing good football under Brendan Rodgers, they are all sides which are in a mini phase of transition. Everton also have a decent squad though, one which I think is good enough to finish fourth. In previous seasons, they have had troubles with injuries, and have lost key players, but had no players capable of filling in the gap in the team properly, and they were often playing star players out of position. Now they have competition for places in the first eleven. You only have to look at the midfield, to name a few, they have the likes of Gibson, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Neville, Oviedo. Up front they have the likes of Jelavic, Naismith, Mirallas, as well as others. Finally they have a goalscoring striker in Jelavic. This is something that they have lacked in previous season, often playing 4-6-0, or playing with a midfielder up front. Seeing as the teams around them are in transition, and Everton aren’t, Everton have a huge chance of finishing fourth.
One of the best players this season playing for them
This really good player is Marouane Fellaini, he is in scintillating form, and has been blitzing the League so far. He has been dominating games with the great amount of strength and composure he has on the ball. So far he is a genuine contender for player of the year, and if he keeps up his form throughout the season, Everton will be fourth come the end of the season. It is vital Everton hold onto him in January.
Everton have a rock solid defence, arguably one of the best in the country. In fact, they are joint-fifth for the best defence in the League, they have only conceded 20 goals in 16 games this season. Whilst not being the best ‘keeper in the country, I think that Tim Howard is normally pretty reliable and consistent, although he does make mistakes, but every ‘keeper makes mistakes. He has made some game changing saves this season as well. In front of him is Distin and Jagielka, two defensive beasts, and on their day can be one of the best defensive partnerships in the League. They also have Leighton Baines, who is arguably the best left-back in the country.
They are traditionally strong finishers
Traditionally, Moyes’ Everton have been notorious for their slow starts to the League campaign, but they are really good in the latter stages, normally finishing in the top four, if the League started at Christmas. They often have to make up for when they went wrong in the first half of the season. But this year is different, they have had a very strong start to the season, and if they perform in the second half of the season as they normally do, then they should be able to take fourth place.
They relish big games
So far this season, Everton haven’t lost to any of the big teams. In fact, they beat both Manchester United and Tottenham. They may not win as many matches as they should against lower opposition, but the fact that they step up their game to big opposition will help them hugely in their campaign for fourth place.
By Will Halse