After the Toffees finished up their home campaign with a 1-0 win against Watford, fans were left to reflect on the amazing improvements the squad had made over the last year under Ronald Koeman.
So let’s do just that...
Like every goal the home side scored at Goodison this campaign.
Or just some general stats (give @goodisonpics a follow BTW)
Or the most important (and telling) one
Everton have won 13 home games in the Premier League this season - as many as the previous two seasons combined. #EFC— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) May 12, 2017
While fans are within their rights to bicker over what could have been if their were more center back signings, Gerard Deulofeu stuck around, or Arouna Kone got more opportunities (hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha) only the most pessimistic and grumpiest of Everton fans could possibly label this campaign anything but a rousing success.
Yes, the upcoming summer will go a long way towards determining the continued trajectory of the club, but if we isolate the season down to the 37 (soon to be 38) matches, the results speak for themselves.
Finally, while the increase in points and higher position in the table are nice, let us not underestimate the SWEEPING change in mood that Ronald Koeman, Farhad Moshiri, Steve Walsh and the rest of the new regime have brought with them.
While the run to 5th a few seasons ago was fun, it also felt like a team taking advantage of every opportunity and it didn’t feel sustainable (spoiler alert it wasn’t).
This season’s squads exploits feel wholly repeatable, even if we are set to lose some big pieces. The confidence in the soccer decision makers hasn’t been this high in a long time, and the future has never seemed brighter.
There are major questions to be answered in the short and long term, but you would be remiss not to take a moment to appreciate the efforts from everyone involved in a wonderfully successful season.
Now... about that kit debacle
Hey Tom, want the funniest moment of the year??
How about thinking Everton could pull off a smooth early kit release?
First, the announcement of the SportPesa sponsorship (already the worst kept secret in the world) was officially announced by the sponsor themselves before they realized they had preempted the club, and took down their tweet.
Once the club finally DID announce the move, it was brief and lacking details on the worth of the deal.
(It’s not that these are incredibly important details to fans, but it does represent a club who is still working to manage the all of the new demands. The ability of a club to maximize every opportunity to improve it’s image and performance is indicative of it’s ability to break out of it’s comfort zone.....ok back on topic)
Then, a leaked picture of the alleged new kits appeared online, and lacking proper presentation the response was....well....not favorable.
"You want to buy Everton kit? Very very real. Only ten euros" pic.twitter.com/TL9BLuJskE— Lee (@Lee_EFC) May 15, 2017
This picture got everyone nervous....including me.
Are these the kits?
No, they are training kit.
No, no one would sneak out a picture of a training top...
Ok, but the lighting is bad, even if it IS the kit I’m sure it’s better than it looks...
It’s not that I am a kit fanatic, but just like every fan I was intrigued to see a glimpse into next season.
Staying level-headed, I forged ahead and waited for Tuesday’s official roll out before passing judgement.
So when the day came, I was ready.
First, the club gave everyone a peek at the training tops
Personally, I’m happy with these.
Nothing fancy, but I like the black on the shoulders and the overall look. I would actually consider wearing that top myself.
(I know it’s not to everyone’s taste, but no biggie...)
Then, we got the news that the leaked kits WERE the real deal.
Ok...that may be a SLIGHT overreaction.
So they don’t have a WOW factor, but maybe they will get better upon second review.
@umbro @SportPesa @SportPesa_UK @UmbroUK @EvertonDirect | The #TogetherBlue campaign was inspired by the legacy of Dixie Dean, a local player, Evertonian and Club legend! https://t.co/bLYwvPb7nf pic.twitter.com/gwbIXhiEjm— Everton (@Everton) May 16, 2017
Luckily, when not being shot by an iPhone in a mail room, the kits look much better.
I haven’t seen one in person so I will withhold too strong of any opinion, but I trust my man Sean on this one.
Honestly, I don't mind that kit as much as I thought I would.— Sean Lunt (@Sean_Lunt) May 16, 2017
Will he stay or go
Only THE Ross Barkley knows
I sure hope he stays
The rumor that West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini was being targeted by Everton started to circulate this week, and while I am familiar with Lanzini, I decided to look deeper at his exploits, in this case in comparison to our possibly exiting hero Barkley.
So what do we find?
Well, at first glance, Lanzini’s numbers hold up respectably with our curly haired Englishman.
Lanzini is lagging in the assists department (not atypical for a West Ham player this season) but has scored more goals.
The Hammers midfielder also has more dribbles per match and loses the ball less than Ross does.
So what gives?
Is Lanzini secretly Barkley-lite? Or is there more to the story?
It seems to be the latter.
Looking closer, Barkley’s strength and consistency as a creator show through.
First off, of Lanzini’s 8 goals, two came from the penalty spot and two others from free kicks.
Second, while he has far more key passes, has created a ton more chances, and while his goals lag behind Lanzini’s, Barkley has put up almost 20 more shots.
(Maybe stay after for some finishing Ross?)
So, after looking at the numbers, I would have to say that while I am intrigued by Lanzini’s goal scoring, I don’t think his style of play fits well with Koeman’s ideals.
Final verdict: NO. If given the chance for a swap (even with sweeteners) I wouldn’t pull the trigger on this deal. If Ross goes the Toffees need to replace him with someone of higher quality than Lanzini.
No question here....just another reason Everton is the best club in the world to root for.
Next week....Dunc on a Tintin Roof