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New Look Everton – Tantalizing time for the Toffees

Everton FC have started the 20-21 season with a bang. Two wins out two in the Premier League and a win in the Carabao Cup have improved supporter outlook towards this season. Carlo Ancelotti led Chelsea FC to the Premier League title in his first season as a manager in England. Surely the ghosts from last season will not vanish so easily, but Evertonians can be positive nonetheless.

We are going to take a look at what happened in the 19-20 season and what we can expect from Everton FC this season.

Everton FC
(Image Source: Everton FC Twitter) Everton FC

Tumultuous 19-20 Season:

The Toffees looked like a good side on paper. While Idrissa Gueye moved to Paris Saint-Germain, the club brought in some big money signings like Moise Kean from Juventus, Alex Iwobi from Arsenal and Jean-Philippe Gbamin from Mainz. Fabian Delph was signed from Manchester City and Djibril Sidibe was loaned from Monaco. Andre Gomes was permanently signed after a successful year long loan stint. The club already possessed attacking talents such as Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard and Calvert-Lewin. The new additions made the side even more attack heavy.

Expectations from the club had definitely risen after their 8th place finish in 18-19 Premier League season. But what fans witnessed was the exact opposite. Everton had only 4 wins in the first 15 games of the season, and a whopping 9 losses. The final nail in the coffin was a 5-2 loss at Anfield against their Merseyside rivals Liverpool FC. The club was 18th in the Premier League table at this stage with just 14 points from 15 games and a -11 goal difference.

Marco Silva was sacked after the loss at Anfield, and former Everton player Duncan Ferguson was appointed as the interim manager. Ferguson achieved some important results with a 3-1 win against Chelsea and a 1-1 draw against Manchester United.

The club appointed Carlo Ancelotti as the permanent manager, just 11 days after he was sacked by Napoli, and then began his second stint in English football. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison scored 8 and 7 goals respectively under Ancelotti and dragged the club from the relegation zone to 12th place.

Also Read: Home is Where the Heart’s at | Stories of unwavering club loyalty in football

2020-21 Season:

Signings

James Rodriguez everton
(Image source: Twitter) James Rodriguez

Everton had to move quickly in the transfer window to ensure that they could start their season with their most important signings. The club secured the signing of James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, who had played under Carlo Ancelotti at both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Everton also signed Abdoulaye Doucoure who had been impressive in his previous seasons in the Premier League with Watford FC. Ancelotti was reunited with another of his former players when Everton signed Allan from Napoli. The Merseyside club had a new look midfield in one transfer window.

Attack

The first two Premier League games have made the Everton fans very optimistic. The duo of Richarlison Calvert-Lewin can become a potent attack with James Rodriguez playing a floating role behind them. Time tested footballers in Gomes, Doucoure and Allan can control the midfield and improve ball progression to the final third as well.

Defense

Everton’s backline is however still a little shaky. Lucas Digne does have tremendous attacking input but his defensive abilities leave something to be desired. As physically daunting Yerry Mina and Michael Keane are, they do have some holes in their game as well. Long time servant of the club, right-back Seamus Coleman has proved to be a crucial defender for the Toffees. The concern surrounding defense is the lack of cover in wing-back positons. Left-back Leighton Baines announced his retirement and right-back Djibril Sidibe reached the end of his loan term. The two centre-backs have only Mason Holgate and Jonjoe Kenny as possible replacements. Everton are targeting Barcelona full back Emerson Royal, but have already have a bid turned down. Everton must be quick to wrap up their defensive signings so that they can integrate into the team soon enough.

Jordan Pickford has faced some criticism over last season but addressing it in the current transfer window does not seem to be a priority.

Favoured Line Up

                 Richarlison Calvert-Lewin Rodriguez
                 Gomes          Allan Doucoure
    Digne Keane Mina                    Coleman
Pickford

 

There are some interesting patterns of play possible with this line up. James Rodriguez can float across the pitch dragging defenders out of position. The opposition will be keen to shut down his passing and shooting capabilities, and hence be drawn out. This opens up space for Calvert-Lewin to run through the middle. One good pass can put Calvert-Lewin through on goal. Richarlison provides natural width and the ability to cut back inside on his favoured right foot. He can also hold up the ball and wait for Lucas Digne’s overlap.

One thing is for certain that this Everton side can be menacing if their attacking talents are not overly burdened with having to defend against a combination of wingers who cut in and wing-backs who push high in support. If used correctly, the talent and set up can see out bottom half sides and compete with some of the top half sides as well.

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