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Everton Season Preview: Squad Weaknesses

Despite an excellent off-season from the Toffees, Roberto Martinez's squad is not perfect and may require further reinforcements before the season kicks off against Leicester City.

Dave Thompson

The long awaited signing of Romelu Lukaku is officially in the books leaving Everton's first team largely set for the upcoming season. Squad depth, however, is an area of concern with the Toffees competing in the Europa League in addition to league games and domestic cups. Injuries ravaged the squad at the end of last season and Roberto Martinez will need to have a back-up plan if any of the starters go down with an injury throughout the campaign.

Striker Depth

If the season were to start today, Everton would have Romelu Lukaku, Steven Naismith and Arouna Kone as their first team strikers. While Lukaku is clearly a great talent and will carry the bulk of the scoring load this season, the players behind him leave something to be desired. Naismith can be capable striker when called upon, but has a tendency to disappear during games. When Lukaku went down at the end of last season with an injury, Naismith struggled to assert himself on opposing defenses and the team's lack of scoring cost them valuable points. Arouna Kone is the only other player on the squad with real senior team experience, but he hasn't played competitive football since last fall.

Everton will be playing extra games with their inclusion in Europa League competition, so Roberto Martinez will need to bring in some attacking reinforcements to avoid stretching the squad too thin. Martinez has been working on bringing AS Monaco striker Lacina Traore back on loan for a second season, and the squad will need him if they are to remain competitive this year.


Everton's situation on the wings remains largely unchanged from last season, with Kevin Mirallas, Steven Pienaar and Aiden McGeady as the first team wide men. Gerard Deulofeu has returned to Barcelona after a successful loan spell, leaving the Toffees a little thin out wide. Much like the strikers, depth will be a major concern when the season begins, especially on the left side of the pitch. Mirallas and McGeady have shown that they are more comfortable on the right side of the formation, leaving Pienaar as the main option on the left. Bryan Ovideo is more than capable of deputizing for Pienaar, and may see minutes there with assuming Luke Garbutt is able to get healthy before the schedule gets tough.

The reported loan for Chelsea winger Christian Atsu would further sure up the wings, but if that deal falls through Martinez will need to look elsewhere to provide adequate depth for Everton's additional competitions.


There is little reason to believe that starting goalkeeper Tim Howard will be anything but reliable and consistent this season. Howard played well last season and had a fantastic World Cup with the United States that ended with a record 16 saves in a loss to Belgium. Barring any major injuries, Howard will be the man in net for the majority of Everton's campaign. Howard's back-up, Joel Robles, has not done much to inspire confidence in supporters with rather weak performances in preseason games. The former Wigan Athletic keeper will be the main option in League and FA Cup competitions and is likely to see the field in Everton's early Europa League games.

Fortunately, Robles has a very capable and deep back four in front of him, which should minimize the need for him carry the team for any prolonged period of time. Regardless, Robles will need to greatly improve on his shaky preseason if the Toffees are to replicate last season's success.


This is a bit of a tricky area since Everton has two of the best fullbacks in the Premier League in Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines. Despite this strength, Coleman and Luke Garbutt have recently picked up injuries, meaning both will be shut down for the remainder of the preseason. Hopefully these will not be long term issues, but if Coleman is out for any extended period, then Tony Hibbert or John Stones would be the likely candidates to take over the right back role. Hibbert is by no means an awful option to back up Coleman nor is Stones, but neither situation is ideal. Hibbert isn't getting any younger and does not provide the offensive spark that Coleman does and Stones is better suited at the center of the defense.

Once Bryan Oviedo regains his full fitness he will likely take his position as Baines' deputy meaning the Garbutt injury won't be a massive problem, but when the time comes for Cup games and Europa League fixtures, that depth will be very important.