During the long-term reign of David Moyes at Goodison Park, Everton Football Club and their usually expansive brand of entertaining football, seemingly went down as the ‘nearly team’ of every passing Premier League campaign.
Although the threat of relegation admittedly never manifested itself in and around the Toffees during that time, Moyes’ side nearly proved worthy of qualifying for the Champions League on several different occasions. Everton nearly had the right balance across their starting XI before the current Real Sociedad manager went to try his hand at Old Trafford, with a pulling power in the transfer market that nearly proved successful for the club and their almost strong enough strength in depth.
As it ultimately takes a lot more guarantee to make it in the English top-flight nowadays however, the Goodison Park faithful seemingly failed to see their side reach the potential that was undoubtedly on offer under Moyes. Nevertheless, now that Roberto Martinez is firmly in the fold at this current stage in the game, do Everton now possess what it takes to finally kick-on and reach the next level?
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Has the former Wigan boss set down a match-winning philosophy at Goodison Park that will eventually prove successful over the course of 2015/16, or are Everton still simply everyone’s favourite ‘nearly team’?
Well, with a little bit of optimism and hope on board from all those who have watched Martinez’ side in recent years, the Toffees can surely make some meaningful progress this season, can’t they?
Without the seeming burden of playing Europa League football on Thursday evenings in 2015/16, Everton can now plan out their weekly domestic duties with a great more conviction and efficiency. Their squad won’t be as stretched as it was last term, and without the threat of extra injury concerns frustratingly on board, the team can surely go out and express themselves a great deal more vigorously than they have done in seasons past.
However, such a positive attitude surrounding Roberto Martinez and his current crop of Everton stars simply hasn’t been produced on the back of their impressive win against Chelsea last time out alone. This was the kind of upset that had long been on the cards in all honesty. Although no one quite foresaw a Steven Naismith hat-trick to see them through against the league title holders in the end, the manner in which the Everton players took to their roles last Saturday was truly an enthralling sight to witness.
Across the entire starting XI, the Toffees were completely on point with each of their individual performances. The likes of John Stones and Brendan Galloway put in admirable shifts at the back, with Ross Barkley – and of course Steven Naismith – providing the perfect support for the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Arouna Kone up-top. The new-found balance throughout the whole first team was wonderful – and that is something Roberto Martinez certainly deserves credit for achieving.
The 2015/16 campaign has therefore begun in solid style for Spanish tactician, and if his side can continue to employ such a high-pressure approach in the opposition’s half, then Everton really will prove a tough side to beat this season. They’re arguably only just getting started at the moment.
Having made such a case for the ever impressive Toffees however, the Goodison Park faithful can maybe feel a little aggrieved in regards to the overall lack of spending witnessed at their club this summer. If Crystal Palace, Stoke, West Ham and Swansea – all sides directly competing with Everton in the league table – are managing to sign the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Xherdan Shaqiri, Dimitri Payet and Andre Ayew respectively this term, why can’t Everton seemingly go out and do the same?
Newly acquired stars such as Tom Cleverly, Aaron Lennon and Ramiro Funes Mori could well have successful seasons at Goodison Park this campaign, but are they names worthy of releasing some new levels of excitement in and around the club? Arguably not…
Either way though, with the calibre of players already on board under Roberto Martinez this term, Everton now have a squad worthy of launching a strong domestic campaign – even though one or two more marquee stars perhaps should have been sourced over the summer.
Nonetheless, Swansea City will certainly be facing another tough test next week when the Toffees come looking to pick up further points away from home this season, for the good times have seemingly only just begun for Everton.