Everton FC have had a dream start to the 2016-17 Premier League season. After a 3-1 home victory against Middlesbrough on Saturday, the Toffees currently sit second in the league standings. Only two points behind Manchester City, Everton and their supporters will feel positive about how the current campaign is shaping out.
After an opening draw at Goodison Park against Tottenham, the club has won five straight matches across all competitions and many players in the squad have been in fine form.
Everton Top Four Intentions On Display
A frustrating 2015-16 season saw the end of Roberto Martinez’s time in charge of Everton and former Southampton boss Ronald Koeman was brought in to lead the club this past summer.
Key pieces in centre-back Ashley Williams, goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and winger Yannick Bolasie have all been strong contributors thus far.
UEFA Champions League qualification for next season becomes an objective that all associated with Everton should have in mind moving forward. While the Premier League schedule has been kind in some ways in the early stages, there are signs present that display the team’s ability to keep victories coming when they meet stronger squads in the near future.
We look at Everton’s current success and why a top four finish should be a realistic accomplishment.
Everton’s star forward Romelu Lukaku gives the club a chance to win any match. The Belgian international’s size and strength allows him to hold up attacking play to bring in teammates, while his skill on the ball can see him get past defenders all on his own.
Each of the past two seasons have seen Lukaku improve upon his goal scoring numbers, and there is no reason to believe he cannot keep that trend going in 2016-17. He has linked up well with Bolasie already, as the former Crystal Palace star’s pace is able to stretch the defence on the wings and has two assists in league play.
Four goals in Lukaku’s four Premier League matches is a solid beginning to build from and the imposing striker will only continue to improve as time goes on.
RONALD KOEMAN’S LEADERSHIP
It was clear Roberto Martinez lost control last season, as poor form and a negative feeling around Everton ultimately dropped the Toffees down the league table. Koeman, however, has rekindled the team’s desire and effort.
With a Southampton side that did not have the same quality of players he has now at Everton, Koeman guided to the Saints to a sixth-place finish in 2015-16.
The resources Koeman now has to work with suggests he may be able to bring Champions League football next season.
DEPTH IN THE LINEUP
One of the important strengths for the current Everton side is excellent depth at both midfield and forward positions.
Players like Gareth Barry, Yannick Bolaise and Ross Barkley provide quality in the middle. Gerard Deulofeu, Tom Cleverley and Aaron Lennon all bring unique strengths for times ahead when fixtures become hectic.
While Everton lean heavily on Lukaku at the top of the lineup, Arouna Kone and Enner Valencia (brought in on loan from West Ham United) provide options for Koeman throughout the campaign.
An undefeated Premier League start (4-1-0) and fine form at various positions have Everton supporters believing last season is firmly behind them. If Ronald can keep the club focused and working hard, a top four finish just may be in reach.
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