Premier League 2017/18 Preview – Everton

Everton

Image: Everton FC

Everton have been making headlines this summer as one of the highest spending teams in the division. After impressing at Sunderland last season, Jordan Pickford has become the most expensive British goalkeeper and will look to be Everton’s long-term solution to their lengthy goalkeeper struggles. Michael Keane impressed for Burnley, and has joined for £30m, bolstering a defence that was badly affected by injuries last season. You have to imagine that Everton will be stronger defensively this season, strengthening two positions that were weak links last season, as well as having a full season of Idrissa Gueye, Tom Davies and Morgan Schneiderlin covering every blade of grass in midfield. Davy Klaassen looks as though he will be the replacement for Ross Barkley, who Koeman has seen as expendable. At just £5.2m, Sandro Ramirez could be one of the bargains of the season, but it could be too early to rely on the 22-year-old to replace the goals left by the departure of Romelu Lukaku. This is where Everton’s problems will lie this season though, and this will probably be the thing that stops them breaking in to the top six. There is no 20-goal-a-season striker in their side, and they struggled for periods last season even with Lukaku in the side. The signing of Wayne Rooney is the anomaly in Everton’s business this summer. Apart from Rooney, Everton have looked to sign young players approaching their peak, with the potential to either grow with the club or sell on for a huge profit. Rooney, although a sentimental signing, doesn’t look capable of leading the line for a team challenging for a top six place, nor is he good enough to sit back and pull the strings from a deeper role, especially if the Toffees are successful in their pursuit of Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson. And the less said about Ronald Koeman’s baffling obsession with Cuco Martina the better.

Key Player: Sandro Ramirez. Everton have no real stand out players this season, but the time that it takes for Sandro to adjust to the Premier League could influence how the Toffees fare this year. A product of Barcelona’s youth academy, and having made 17 appearances for the club, Sandro netted 16 goals in 31 games for mid-table Malaga last season. At just 5ft 9, he will not be a like for like replacement for Lukaku, but once Everton adapt their style of play to suit their new players Sandro will certainly be capable of netting the goals to push the Toffees towards a top six finish.

One to Watch: Liam Walsh. The midfielder was a part of the Everton side that won the Premier League 2, the Under 23 league. The 19-year-old scored 6 goals in 26 appearances and won the competition’s player of the month for February. After Tom Davies’ breakthrough last season, Walsh will be keen to follow suit, however it may be tough for the youngster due to the depth in Everton’s midfield.

Last Season: 7th

Predicted Finish: 7th

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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   

Premier League Season Review: Part 3

The third part of this season review will focus on the middle of the Premier League. Stoke topped the middle pack, whilst Chelsea and Everton drastically underperformed. Swansea escaped any relegation worries that they had at Christmas to climb to 12th.

Stoke – Final Position: 9th – Prediction: 10th

butland_2

Image: BBC Sport

Stoke had a good year, securing yet another top 10 finish. After losing Asmir Begovic, Robert Huth and Steven N’Zonzi, it could have been a difficult season. The emergence of Jack Butland as the club’s first choice keeper will be a highlight of the season. The Potters started the year slowly, but after the new signings bedded in they hit form, beating Chelsea and both Manchester clubs. Their season died out fairly early, with the realisation that European football was out of their reach and an injury to Butland coinciding. This resulted in a limp to the end of the season, seeing them concede 4 goals in three consecutive games.

Chelsea – Final Position: 10th – Prediction: 1st

Mourinho sacked

Source: The Guardian

Chelsea’s season was horrendous. There is no other way to describe it. Jose Mourinho lost the support of the players after a number of deluded outbursts and a number of big players just didn’t show up. Guus Hiddink brought the club back to the top half of the table, going undefeated in the league until April. For a side that were tipped to win the title, only Willian can come out of this season with any credit. A lot of improvement is needed under Antonio Conte next season.

Everton – Final Position: 11th – Prediction: 9th

lukaku

Image: ITV

It is safe to say that Everton also underperformed this season. A team boasting the likes of Baines, Coleman, Stones, McCarthy, Barkley, Deulofeu and Lukaku should really be challenging for at least a Europa League spot. The defence was drastically affected by injuries, and Martinez’s style of play often leaves them exposed at the back, so perhaps this failure to reach the top 10 should not come as a surprise. An early 3-1 win against Chelsea would probably be Everton’s moment of the season, but a 3-0 loss to Sunderland and a 4-0 derby drubbing will leave fans looking forward to Ronald Koeman taking over this summer.

Swansea – Final Position: 12th – Prediction: 8th

sigurdsson

Image: Wales Online

Many thought that Swansea would carry on last season’s challenge for the Europa League, but after the season just gone a 12th place finish seems like a good year. At Christmas Swansea were in very real danger of being relegated, and although the sacking of Garry Monk seemed a little harsh after his incredible first season, the appointment of Francesco Guidolin proved an absolute masterstroke. Wins over Chelsea and Arsenal delighted Swans fans, but their need for a striker was highlighted as they scored less goals than relegated Newcastle, and only 3 more than Norwich.

Perfect weekend on Merseyside as Chelsea slump continues

Jurgen Klopp has his first Premier League victory after his Liverpool side came from behind to beat Chelsea 3-1. Chelsea had taken the lead through an early Ramires goal, but Philippe Coutinho equalised just before the break. Coutinho put Liverpool in the lead with a deflected effort, and substitute Christian Benteke sealed the win. Both sides could have had a man sent off, with Lucas committing a professional foul whilst already booked, and Diego Costa kicking out at Martin Skrtel.

Philippe Coutinho's brace ended a run of 710 minutes without a Premier League goal. Source: dailymail.co.uk

Philippe Coutinho’s brace ended a run of 710 minutes without a Premier League goal. Source: dailymail.co.uk

The Blue half of Merseyside will be equally happy, after their 6-2 demolition of Sunderland. Gerard Deulofeu and Arouna Kone put the Toffees 2-0 up. Sunderland pulled level though, as Jermain Defoe’s shot deflected past Howard and Steven Fletcher headed the equaliser. Everton then took the points with three goals in quick succession, as Sebastian Coates diverted a cross in to his own net, Romelu Lukaku scored a fine individual goal and Kone added his second. Kone completed his hat-trick late on with a header to complete the rout.

Manchester City remain top after a nervy win over Norwich. Nicolas Otamendi gave them the lead with a powerful header, but Joe Hart spilt a routine cross for Cameron Jerome to tap in with just minutes to go. But there was still plenty of drama left, as Russell Martin was sent off for handling the ball with John Ruddy well out of position. Yaya Toure converted the penalty, a feat the Aleksandar Kolarov could not equal as City were awarded a second penalty in stoppage time.

Arouna Kone netted his first Premier League hat-trick against Sunderland. Source: dailymail.co.uk

Arouna Kone netted his first Premier League hat-trick against Sunderland. Source: dailymail.co.uk

Arsenal kept up with City with a 3-0 win over Swansea. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring, and Laurent Koscielny doubled the lead despite Swansea claiming that Fabianski was impeded. Joel Campbell sealed the win with his first goal for Arsenal. Leicester moved up to third with a thrilling 3-2 win at West Brom. Solomon Rondon headed the hosts in front, but a Riyad Mahrez brace gave the Foxes the lead. Jamie Vardy made it 8 consecutive games in which he has scored, joining Ruud van Nistelrooy and Daniel Sturridge, with a well placed finish. Rickie Lambert ensured a tense finish with a late penalty, especially as Christian Fuchs appeared to commit three late fouls in the area which all went unpunished.

Southampton overcame Bournemouth in a South coast derby. A Steven Davis volley and a Graziano Pelle header gave Saints the lead in the first half, but Victor Wanyama was sent off in the second half for picking up a second yellow card. Odion Ighalo scored both goals as Watford beat West Ham. In a game of shocking defending, his first came courtesy of Andy Carroll failing to clear his lines, whilst his second was an impeccable finish after an error from James Tomkins.

Crystal Palace and Manchester United played out a goalless draw, United’s third consecutive stalemate, whilst Jack Butland almost single handedly held Newcastle at bay, producing six saves to keep the game goalless. On Monday night, Tottenham host mangerless Aston Villa, although Remi Garde will be in the stands prior to his expected appointment.

Hammers pile on misery for Mourinho

West Ham continued their impressive record against the top sides as they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Upton Park. The match was a heated display, as Chelsea had Nemanja Matic sent off, had five other players pick up bookings, as well as having Mourinho and his assistant sent to the stands. Mauro Zarate gave the Hammers the lead as Chelsea failed to clear a corner. Chelsea came within centimetres of equalising, as a Zouma header was scrambled off the line. Cesc Fabregas also had a goal ruled out before Matic recieved his marching orders. Gary Cahill equalised in the second half with a powerful finish from a corner, but Andy Carroll headed the winner with just ten minutes left.

Source: Daily Mail

Source: Daily Mail

Harry Kane will hope his hat trick against Bournemouth will kickstart his season. Moussa Dembele and Eric Lamela also scored as Spurs recovered from a first minute Matt Ritchie goal to win 5-1. Sunderland continued their fine derby form, smashing 10 man Newcastle 3-0 at the Stadium of Light. Adam Johnson opened the scoring from the spot just before half time after Fabricio Coloccini was controversially dismissed. Billy Jones and Steven Fletcher completed the rout in the second half, lifting the Black Cats above their rivals.

Source: Daily Mail

Source: Daily Mail

Arsenal beat Everton 2-1 at the Emirates. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring with a deft header, and Laurent Koscielny doubled the lead two minutes later. Ross Barkley pulled one back before half time with a heavily deflected strike, but Arsenal saw the game out comfortably. Gareth Barry was sent off in stoppage time for a second booking.

Both Ayew brothers scored as Swansea beat Aston Villa. Jordan Ayew gave Villa the lead, but Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised with a free kick. Andre Ayew scored in the 87th minute to give Swansea the win, which proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Villa boss Tim Sherwood.

Zouma's header was just millimetres from crossing the line. Source: bbc sport

Zouma’s header was just millimetres from crossing the line. Source: bbc sport

Troy Deeney netted his first of the season as Watford shocked Stoke. Almen Abdi completed the scoring as he took advantage of Mark Wilson being caught in possession deep in his own half. Jurgen Klopp is still searching for his first win as Liverpool boss after a 1-1 draw with Southampton. Christian Benteke thought that he had won it for the Reds with a powerful header, but Sadio Mane bundled in to equalise late on. Mane was subsequently dismissed after picking up two needless bookings in stoppage time.

Jamie Vardy has now scored in seven consecutive games, helping Leicester to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. Salomon Rondon’s close range header saw West Brom to a 1-0 win at Norwich. The Manchester derby ended up goalless, a result that saw City stay on top of the table on goal difference.

McClaren safe as Toon hit six

After much speculation about his position, Steve McClaren looks a lot safer after his Newcastle side thumped Norwich 6-2. Summer signing Georginio Wijnaldum scored four, with strikers Ayoze Perez and Aleksander Mitrovic also netting. Dieumerci Mbokani had pulled the Canaries back to 1-1, and Nathan Redmond kept them in with a shout by making it 3-2 at half time. The result catapults Newcastle above rivals Sunderland, and they are now just two points from safety.

Source: the guardian

Source: the guardian

Manchester City brought their total to 11 goals in two games with a 5-1 demolition of Bournemouth. Raheem Sterling netted a first half hat-trick, with Wilfried Bony also scoring, whilst Glenn Murray had given the visitors hope with his strike making it 2-1. Bony completed the scoring late on to prove that City could perform without Kompany, Silva or Aguero.

Arsenal sit in second after a second half salvo at Watford. The hosts had held the Gunners at arms length, but three goals in 11 minutes, courtesy of Sanchez, Giroud and Ramsey, secured Wenger’s side the three points. Manchester United are in third after ending their Goodison Park hoodoo. Morgan Schneiderlin opened the scoring with a tidy finish, with Herrera and a rare Rooney goal sealing the win.

Source: the guardian

Source: the guardian

West Ham overcame their old boss Alan Pardew at Selhurst Park. Carl Jenkinson opened the scoring for the visitors, but Yohan Cabaye equalised with a retaken penalty. The game changed as Dwight Gayle was sent off for Palace, allowing Lanzini and Payet to take advantage in the dying minutes. Leicester produced a magnificent comeback at St Mary’s, with Jamie Vardy nabbing a second half brace. Southampton centre backs Jose Fonte and Virgil Van Dijk had given Saints a half time lead, but the Premier League’s top scorer netted the equaliser in stoppage time.

Chelsea remain in the bottom half of the table despite a 2-0 against Aston Villa. The returning Diego Costa and an Alan Hutton own goal saw the Blues through. Saido Berahino netted the only goal as West Brom beat bottom of the table Sunderland, and an early Bojan penalty was the only action of note in the Monday night game as Stoke won at Swansea. Jurgen Klopp’s first game as Liverpool manager ended in a 0-0 stalemate at Spurs.

Aguero hits five and two bite the bullet

Sergio Aguero’s five goals for Manchester City was the biggest on field event of the weekend, as City came from behind to dismantle Newcastle 6-1. The Argentine’s goals came within 20 minutes either side of half time, with Kevin De Bruyne also scoring for City, and Mitrovic scoring for Newcastle.

Sergio_Aguero

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Arsenal moved up to second after stunning Manchester United in the first 20 minutes. Alexis Sanchez scored either side of a precise Mesut Ozil goal to give the Gunners the win, which probably should have been even more emphatic. Chelsea’s poor form continued as they were outclassed at home to Southampton. Willian put Mourhino’s side ahead with an overhit free kick, before a Steven Davis volley levelled things up. Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle netted in the second half to give the Saints a deserved win.

Brendan Rogers was sacked by Liverpool after their derby disappointment, drawing 1-1 at Everton. Danny Ings headed the visitors in front, but Romelu Lukaku equalised just before the break to bring Rodgers’ reign at Anfield to an end. Dick Advocaat had become to first manager to leave his post earlier in the day, resigning after his side threw away a two goal lead against West Ham. Steven Fletcher and Jeremain Lens put Sunderland ahead, but Carl Jenkinson pulled a goal back. Lens was sent off in the second half, and just minutes later Payet equalised for the Hammers.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Two Christian Eriksen free kicks salvaged a draw for Spurs against Swansea, who twice led through Andre Ayew and a Harry Kane own goal. Crystal Palace continued their great start to the season with a 2-0 win over West Brom, with goals from Bolasie and a Cabaye penalty. Jamie Vardy followed up his England call up with a goal at Norwich. Jeffery Schlupp also scored for the Foxes, with Mbokani pulling one back for the hosts. Two of the promoted sides met as Bournemouth hosted Watford. Cherries’ keeper Artur Boruc gifted Watford the lead with a stray pass, but new signing Glenn Murray equalised. Watford stopper Heurelho Gomes saved a late Murray penalty to keep the score level. Stoke have recorded back to back wins as Marko Arnautovic scored the only goal against Aston Villa.

It looks like Jurgen Klopp will be taking over at Anfield, but is he the right man for the job? Have your say in the comments below.