Current Players: Kevin Mirallas, Aiden McGeady, Gerard Deulofeu and even Tom Cleverley could play on the right wing this season.
|Gerard Deulofeu (at Sevilla)||10(7)||1||5||21|
|Tom Cleverley (at Aston Villa/Man Utd)||32||3||0||61|
Key Departures: None.
Arrivals: Gerard Deuofeu and Tom Cleverley. Up first is Deulofeu, who returns to the club after a brief interlude at Sevilla. The Spaniard has all of the tricks in the book, and a scary amount of potential if his decision making can be improved. However, last time he was at Goodison Park it was all to often that he went alone when a teammate was in a better position.
Although as you can see he had more assists than any of the other options last season, albeit playing in La Liga. Hopefully this points to a more mature player than the one who both impressed and infuriated us in the campaign before last.
Cleverley's case is perhaps more interesting. Although used almost exclusively as a central midfielder since his days at Wigan, it was a certain Roberto Martinez who put him out wide during what was possibly his most impressive season to date. The England international showed what he can do in the position by creating a chance every 63 minutes in the campaign, which is roughly comparable to Steven Pienaar's one every 53 in the 2013/14 season.
Could he rediscover his early promise there for the Blues? Possibly, but it must be noted that he has played in the middle for much of pre-season.
Returning Players: Kevin Mirallas and Aiden McGeady. Everyone knows the strengths of Mirallas, and it could well be down to the Belgian to support Romelu Lukaku on the goal-scoring front next season. However, much of this could be coming from the left, allowing him to cut in on to his favoured right side. As such he may not be much of an option on the right, unless Pienaar's fitness greatly improves.
Meanwhile, the much lamented McGeady has much to prove if he even wants to stay at the club. There has been very little of note from the Irishman, bar a well-taken goal on the first day of last season. It could be a better option to shove a youngster in the team ahead of him if it comes down to it.
Tactics: One complaint from some fans last time round was the fact that the Toffees don't cross the ball as much as they used to, especially with a target like Lukaku in the box. Although this changed slightly towards the end of the campaign, it is true that Martinez tends to use his wide men as forwards. This leaves Seamus Coleman to provide the width on the right, something that he struggled with against high-pressing sides last season. The 26-year-old will need to be back to his best if any success is to be had over the next ten months.
Summary: While Kevin Mirallas is a solid option in the position, it is likely that he will spending a lot of time on the left side of the pitch. This leaves Martinez relying on either Deulofeu to have matured or Cleverley to succeed in a position he hasn't really played in since 2011. McGeady is almost pointless as an option at the moment, while Steven Naismith, unmentioned until here, should only ever play on the wing if there is a serious shortage due to injuries. Overall, this leaves the Blues relying on a 21-year-old, mercurial youngster, who lets not forget is injured for the first game, to fill the role. Will it work out?