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Charlie Nicholas doubts Everton can challenge for the top-six this season

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

Everton have come under fire from Charlie Nicholas already this season, and his latest comments suggest his view on their chances this season hasn’t changed.

What did he say?

The former Arsenal striker previously suggested that Marco Silva has been given the resources to spend where necessary, and although he praised the creativity in the side – with the addition of Alex Iwobi helping that department – he believes that they could be weak at the back.

That prediction has so far proved inaccurate, with Everton keeping clean sheets in two of their three Premier League games so far, and instead they have been lacking in ideas and goal-scoring threat in the Premier League, with only one goal.

In assessing Everton’s upcoming match against Wolves, Nicholas criticised Everton’s performance against Aston Villa and believes they have a lot to do if they are to improve on last season’s eighth-place finish.

In his Sky Sports predictions column, Nicholas said: “What is Everton’s shape? They had to tidy the defence up – they needed to. You saw them last week and thought, what is the belief in this team?

“I did not see anything that told me this team would threaten the top six. I did not see this materialise.”

Nicholas also predicts Everton to lose the game despite the fact Wolves have drawn each of their league matches so far, and fielded several first-team players in Thursday’s victory over Torino in a Europa League qualifier.

Lack of philosophy

The clash with Wolves does promise to be a tight game as goals haven’t exactly flowed in the games either team have played this season.

Everton have several high-quality players in the squad but Nicholas points to a lack of identity and possibly a lack of faith in their ability to win matches, although Marco Silva spoke of the squad’s personality after victory over Lincoln in the League Cup.

The Portuguese manager arrived at Goodison Park in summer 2018 but he is still yet to cement a notable identity at the club.

Everton fell some way short of the top six last season in terms of completed passes, and until they improve in possession they may find it difficult to better their record of 15 games won in 2018/19.

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However, last season Everton’s primary creative players – Bernard, Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson – scored or assisted 39 goals between them, and with the likes of Iwobi and Moise Kean added to the squad the Toffees should carry more of a threat.

It is too early in the season to rule them out, though. Players are still getting used to the new squad and with time they should start to produce on a regular basis.

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Article title: Charlie Nicholas doubts Everton can challenge for the top-six this season

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