After a phenomenal season of football for both Merseyside clubs during 2013/2014, Evertonian Jimmy and Kopite Paddy decided to sit down and look at what to expect from the two clubs this time round.
Can Liverpool build on their 2nd place finish even without Luis Suarez? Could Everton finally break into the Top 4 with the permanent deal for Lukaku? All of this and more is discussed below.
Jimmy’s View on Everton
Last Season: 5th
This Season’s Prediction: 4th
Best Signing: Muhamed Besic
Should still sign: David Henen, Hatem Ben Arfa, Bruno Martins Indi
Should have signed: Jack Rodwell
Shouldn’t have let go: Apostolos Vellios
Youngsters to Watch: Chris Long, Luke Garbutt, Conor McAleny
Supporting Everton is often like being in love with your best friend who’ve you known for years. You’re perfect for each other, yet they always find a way of backing out on any kind of commitment.
Too often last season, the Toffemen would show glimpses of absolute class and then be undone thanks to a lack of clinical finishing up top. It’s not because of a shortage of class within the team (who, might I add, are the best I’ve seen in my 22 years) but more so down to a loss of focus and a sense of inevitability that they would fall at the final hurdle. Much like your lovely friend who is too scared to take things to the next level.
So, why do Everton have this mentality? Simply put, the noisy neighbours we so love to hate. (We love you too – Pad).
Through all the seasons of grinding it out and struggling to stay up, we’ve fallen short against Liverpool all too often and no less so than in the 4-0 humiliation at Anfield last season. There’s a sense of fragility that even the most hardened of Everton fans feel when against the Kop and it’s about time it ended. That drubbing impacted the rest of our season and it can’t happen again if we’re ever to finally crack that Top 4 nut.
Right, now that’s out of the way, it’s time to get my biased cap on and tell you why Everton are going to have an amazing campaign.
What’s not to get excited about? Never have I looked forward to a new Premier League season as much as I am 2014/2015 without coming back down to earth about where we can finish. The squad is the strongest, most versatile I have had the pleasure of supporting and is a far cry from the days of settling for the likes of Simon Davies and Segundo Castillo. Class oozes out of every position with a dynamic range of talent from young to experienced and I’m salivating just thinking about it.
Before it was even hinted that Lukaku would sign, there was this feeling that he would, inflated price or not. This marker of ambition has left all Evertonians guiltily pointing their pitchforks away from Bill Kenwright and with a serious sense of expectation for what’s to come. The rest of the acquisitions haven’t disappointed either – Muhamed Besic’s first touches in an Everton shirt have been a scintillating indication of what’s to come and Gareth (I wish he’d go by Gary) Barry’s loan deal being made permanent shores up midfield.
Although it’s something often said by luckless managers, the likes of Oviedo, Kone and Gibson coming back will be like new signings with the latter two barely able to kick a ball last season. A (hopefully) lengthy spell in the Europa League will put a strain on the small squad so the more bodies, the better.
Everton in Europe is always a delight. Even if they were competing in the Intertoto Cup, I’d be happy. Wednesday night matches against the likes of Metalist Kharkiv are what being a football fan is all about with Everton’s European forays had always been entertaining under Moyes, by and large. Quite how Martinez will approach what can often be a distraction to a league campaign will be interesting to see. Does he put out a strong squad or give the B team a try and rest a few legs? Only time will tell.
Speaking of Martinez, you could hardly ask more from a manager in his maiden season. Robbie led Everton to a record Premier League points tally of 72 during 2013/2014 and instilled a sense of the ‘School of Science’ in the team’s style once again. If they can keep that momentum going and not let tired legs become tired minds, like they did towards the end of last season, there’s no reason why Everton won’t be able to shoulder their way into the top 4.
Sure, Manchester United will be back to their best and it’s doubtful that Spurs will be quite so stuttering but with the superb blend of homegrown talent, international stars and a club-wide sense of belief, who’s to say that we can’t do it? Being an Evertonian and having a lot of confidence is a dangerous game to play but this time out, it truly feels as if we could surprise one or two.
Though, we haven’t actually won a single game in pre-season so I might have to calm my optimism a bit.
Continue to the next page for Paddy’s opinion on what we can look forward to from Liverpool this season.
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