Predicting Everton's results this season has been a tough business.
Expectations to start the season were pretty low, but the team surprised us by drawing against Tottenham Hotspur on opening day, then winning five straight matches in all competitions. Just as we started to come around to the Toffees' newfound success, the bottom started to fall out. Ronald Koeman's side lost to Norwich and Bournemouth, then drew Crystal Palace before the international break began.
Predicting the fortunes of individual players has been no easier. It took Romelu Lukaku five matches in all competitions to get on the board -- after which he put up a hat trick against Sunderland. New signings Maarten Stekelenburg and Idrissa Gueye have been impressive, while Yannick Bolasie hasn't quite justified his monumental price tag yet.
All of this serves as a mediocre-at-best excuse for Royal Blue Mersey's mediocre-at-best results so far in the inaugural RBM Writer Prediction League!
As a reminder, each week I ask our writers to submit their choice for the opening goalscorer, Everton man of the match, and final scoreline of each Everton match of the week. Each correct choice of opening goalscorer and Everton man of the match is worth 1 point each, and each correct choice of winning club and final score is worth 2 points each.
In the final week before the international break, our writers put up a performance very similar to Everton's -- enough to get on the board, but not much more. Our writers made the following predictions, with correct guesses in bold:
|Brian||Ross Barkley||Gareth Barry||Everton||1-0|
Somehow, I was the only writer to pick Lukaku to open the scoring in that match, while Matt was the only one to choose him as the man of the match. Calvin and Mike were rewarded for the pessimism entering the match, as each picked up two points for correctly predicting a draw.
Pessimism is even more rampant this week, with league-leading Manchester City on the fixture list. Our picks for the trip to the Etihad are as follows.
|Adam||Sergio Aguero||Seamus Coleman||City||2-1|
|Matt||Raheem Sterling||Kevin Mirallas||City||3-0|
A few things immediately jump out from these choices.
- Eight of 11 writers picked Manchester City to win the match, the highest number of Everton losses we've seen predicted this season.
- The only writer to pick an Everton win was Sean, who foresees an early Fernandinho goal being canceled out by the Toffees. Both his outcome and opening goalscorer are unmatched among the rest of the writers, so he'll either win big or lose big this week.
- Unsurprisingly, Gueye leads the Everton MOTM predictions, picking up five votes.