It has been a mixed start to the new season for Everton, who have recorded both positives and negatives over the last couple of weeks.
The Merseyside club keeping John Stones out of Chelsea’s clutches must be regarded as a major plus point, with the Goodison Park faithful surely delighted that the England international will be around to lead the club forward.
A 3-0 win over Southampton at St Mary’s has been the undoubted highlight on the pitch, with Roberto Martinez’s men showcasing some scintillating attacking football in the victory.
Everton sit on five points after four games, but the feeling around the club is that if the team’s attacking players can fire on a consistent basis it will be a season that heralds success.
[ffc-gal cat=”everton” no=”5″]
The inclusion of Arouna Kone has been a plus point for Everton so far, with the Ivorian veteran linking up well with main striker Romelu Lukaku from a starting berth on the flank.
Ross Barkley has shown us more glimpses of his superb technique and vision from the number ten role, with very chance that the home-grown hero is set to get back to his best in 2015-16.
On the other flank Martinez has deployed summer addition Tom Cleverley, who has added energy and competitiveness to the Toffees’ side.
However, with the former Manchester United midfielder picking up an injury in the weekend’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham and playing out of position to some degree, there is a case for Martinez to shuffle his pack.
A natural central midfielder, Cleverley would surely be better positioned in the heart of Everton’s team alongside James McCarthy, who continues to grow in stature at Goodison.
This energetic and hard-working duo would surely complement each other, with the ageing Gareth Barry and his waning influence over affairs an experienced back-up.
This rejigging would open up a slot on the right of midfield, with no shortage of options at the Spanish trainer’s disposal to fill the gap.
Steven Naismith has been Martinez’s first choice attacking option from the bench in recent times, while Kevin Mirallas has proven over time that he has all the qualities to be a top talent in the Premier League. Aaron Lennon has also rejoined on a permanent basis from Spurs.
However, to inject a bit of unpredictability and individualism into the team’s play in the final third, there is an argument that Gerard Deulofeu should be given the nod.
The former Barcelona youth product has returned to Goodison after a season sabbatical at Sevilla, where he struggled for regular football.
The La Masia graduate’s star may have fallen to some degree after an underwhelming 12 months back in his homeland, but, as shown in his first tenure in English football, Deulofeu is a unique talent.
The Spain international’s ability to beat opposition defenders at will and create for others is a standout in the Everton squad and the gifted winger has the ability to be a match-winner for the Toffees.
There is no doubt that he may well be off the boil currently due to not playing as much football as he would like over the last year, but getting Deulofeu back to his best would be a massively positive move for Everton as they look to exceed expectations this year.