A Statistical Look at Everton's First Half

Steve Bardens

Hard to believe we are already halfway through the 2012-2013 EPL season. Rather than sitting here and hoping for our typical second-half season turn around, there is optimism on Merseyside. A realistic chance of Champions League football is here, and any failure to qualify for Europe can only be viewed as a massive disappointment.

Last year I took a look at Everton's point total through the first half of the season in previous years, and tried to predict what it meant for the Toffees going forward. This year it is time to take a look again, and while the numbers better than they have been in years, results are going to have to get even better if the club wants Champions League football.

The table below breaks down Everton first half points from previous seasons, as well as their final position at the end of the season. Added to the table are this years points total as well as the magical 04/05 season when the club finished 4th.

Season First Half Points
Second Half Points
Final Position
04/05
40
21
4
06/07
24
34
6
07/08
33
32
5
08/09
29
34
5
09/10
22
39
8
10/11
22
32
7
11/12
24
32
7
12/13
33
Unknown
Unknown

So the numbers seem to indicate we are heading to a 5th place finish at best, but things are a little different from past years. When Everton finished in 4th they didn't have such a successful second half of the season as most. The Toffees only earned an additional 21 points to go on top of their 40 first half points. It seems shocking to believe that a club under David Moyes would have a better first half compared to second half, but it happened in our most successful season. In years since then the club has averaged 33.8 points in the second half of the season.

Even hitting a slightly below average of 32-33 points would get Everton close to 70 points. While the total has fluctuated, 70 points seems to be a magic number to finish in 4th place. As long as the squad remains healthy here is no reason to think Everton can't turn a few more draws into 3 points, and the ability to mock Liverpool fans some more.

This isn't going to be easy for Everton though. While the club has managed to do well scoring, the defense seems suspect. A lot of thies comes from how we concede goals, and some of it is because of actual problems the club has. There is a tendency to overreact when goals are conceded late. It could be worse, Spurs would be in first if games only went 80 minutes instead of 90. Instead we have to be concerned with why the goals are being allowed. Lapses in concentration will always happen and need to be worked on. Systematic problems have to be dealt with.

For Everton these problems come from our back line and keeper. Tim Howard has not been up to his lofty standards, and something needs to change. Hopefully it is a simple as hitting a good run of form, but it could require bringing in an actual backup that will challenge Howard to work on his crosses and commanding his box.

In defense, right-back needs to get settled. Coleman does not work against teams that are going to attack Everton, and Hibbert and Neville are not long term solutions. At center back the pairing has to be Distin and Jags with Duffy as the backup. Heitinga has not looked good this year and would be a great way to raise some cash for a right back.

Regardless of what David Moyes has up his sleeve, the leaky defense needs to stop. Everton has always thrived on being a scrappy team, and even with playmakers like Kevin Mirallas, Leighton Baines, and Marouanne Fellaini that can't change. If we continue leaking goals we will finish in 5th or 6th, stop it and we get to go on a European adventure.

Of course the weird part would be a typical Everton second-half would be the same as the first-half of the season this year. Maybe Mr. Moyes can muscle up a 40 point second half so it can be defined as a true second-half surge?

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