The Merseyside club has looked ambitious ahead of the start of the new campaign.
Everton started their Premier League 2020-21 campaign with an impressive away victory against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspurs on Sunday. Apart from a free flowing brand of football, it was their first away victory against a top six side in a decade. The 1-0 scoreline does not fairly reflect how Everton dominated the Premier League game and should have won with a bigger margin.
Carlo Ancelotti’s years of experience and smart recruitment have put Everton in a strong position to finally challenge the established power structure in the Premier League and break into UEFA Champions League qualifying spots.
Therefore, we take a close look towards the blue half of Merseyside, and have come up with five reasons why Everton can finish inside the Premier League top four spots.
5. Intelligent recruitment
Unlike previous summer windows, Everton have recruited system players that suit the type of gameplay Ancelotti is trying to implement at the club. The recruitment has been swift and targeted weak areas of the squad that needed immediate attention. The Toffees signed three midfielders – Allan from Napoli, Abdulaye Doucore from Watford and James Rodriguez from Real Madrid to fortify a weak midfield.
The club realised and left the already solid defence untouched and called back Jonjoe Kenny from his impressive loan spell at Schalke in the Bundesliga. They have also kept their trust in Dominic Calvert-Lewin upfront who repaid the trust with a thumping winner against the Spurs.
4. A settled squad
One look at the team sheets from the game between Tottenham and Everton game clearly establishes the Toffees as a stronger team on paper. With options like Gylfi Sigursdsson, Theo Walcott, Bernard and Moise Kean from the bench available, Everton have a very strong squad depth.
Premier League can be a taxing league competition and to succeed in it, Everton needed a strong depth on the bench. The Merseysiders have checked this off their list and are better equipped to deal with tough scheduling and keep collecting crucial points. Moreover, a settled back-four of Yerry Mina, Michael Keane, Lucas Digne and Seamus Colman make them a tough nut to crack.
3. One of the most balanced midfield in the league
Everton signed three midfielders in the ongoing transfer window and all of them impressed against Tottenham Hotspurs. Defensive brilliance of Allan, box-to-box capabilities of Doucoure topped with creative masterclass of Rodriguez make the Everton midfield one of the most balanced in the Premier League.
Add Andre Gomes and Gylfi Sigursdsson to this mix, Everton suddenly have one of the best midfield setup in the Premier League. Bernard and Walcott also provide incredible pace to this lineup when needed to stretch opponent defences.
2. Experience of Carlo Ancelotti
It was a genuine surprise when Everton announced the arrival of football royalty, Carlo Ancelotti as manager. The Italian has won many silverware in elite European leagues with multiple clubs and choosing Everton seemed like a step down at the time. However, his experience and vision is now slowly reaping the benefits in the way the Toffees play.
With a clear identity and game plan, they are becoming a strong team to shrug off. Ancelotti is a tactical genius who knows how to set up his team to earn the three points. Facing Mourinho in the first game of the campaign might be daunting for some, but Ancelotti looked hardly fazed by it. If Everton are to break the power structure in the Premier League, then they have the right man on the helm.
1. Statement signing of James Rodriguez
Before the current transfer window commenced, hardly anyone linked Rodriguez with a move to the Premier League. The Columbian was set to return to Real Madrid after his loan spell with Bayern Munich finished. Carlo Ancelotti has worked with the midfielder before, which was a big factor in convincing the 29-year-old to finally join the Premier League.
Interestingly, James hit the ground running was impressive against Tottenham, where it seemed like he did not need any time to settle in. His passing, vision, creativity and technical brilliance were all on display and he could be the important factor in helping Everton take that extra step and break into the top-four at the Premier League. At a price of €25 million, this could be one of the smartest moves of the transfer window.