Premier League 2016/17 Preview – Everton

koeman_everton

Ronald Koeman will attempt to turn around Everton’s fortunes after a disappointing season under Roberto Martinez. Image: The Telegraph

Everton fans went in to this summer with cautious optimism, with new owners, a lot of money and a new ambitious manager. But this optimism has turned to frustration with only Maarten Stekelenburg and Idrissa Gueye joining the club so far. Ashley Williams looks set to join the Toffees, but rather than pushing the squad forward, he is just a necessary replacement, despite arguably being an improvement on the outgoing John Stones. Everton drastically underperformed last time out, and their season was typified by sloppy defensive mistakes. Koeman would expect to solidify the Toffees’ defence, as his Southampton side had one of the meanest defences in the league during his tenure. Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu could flourish without the pressure of a fragile defence behind them, both of whom created nine goals last time out. Whether or not they keep top-scorer Romelu Lukaku, Everton will need more firepower if they are to once again challenge for a European spot, as Arouna Kone is good enough to be so heavily relied up.

Key Man: Ross Barkley. Barkley had his best season last year, but it went heavily under the radar. The midfielder scored eight goals and created nine assists in a team that struggled to live up to expectation. Should Lukaku leave the club, Barkley will need to step up and prove that he can be the main man at Goodison Park.

One to Watch: Kieran Dowell. The promising midfielder made his Premier League debut on the final day of last season, putting in a man of the match performance in the 3-0 win against Norwich. He was involved in two of the Toffees’ goals that day, but may find it hard to break in to Ronald Koeman’s side with the Dutchman’s questionable approach to youth development.

Last Season: 11th 

Prediction: 10th   

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