Well hello there.
The last time we spoke the Toffees were finishing up the 2018-2019 campaign on a bit of a run and everyone was anxious to see what improvements the summer window would bring.
....a few close wins and Everton are a point out of third place after four rounds of Premier League matches.
Guess we are all caught up now.
Seriously though, it is nice to be back in the saddle and writing about the Toffees again. The start to the season has been heart-stopping if not positive and there is a lot to dig into.
However, before we do that, the first question I am going to answer is my own:
Brian, how are you feeling about Everton these days?
That is a fantastic question!
Well, it’s hard not to be bullish on the ol’ Toffees these days.
Sure, the abyss that is the centerback position after Michael Keane and Yerry Mina keeps me up nights, but all-in-all both the short and long-term prospects are great.
All of the signings above, sans Fabian Delph, are still heading into or are in the midst of the peaks of their careers.
And the “old” player?
He’s still only 28, on a 3-year contract, and joins from arguably the best Premier League team ever, and is a player known for his leadership and professionalism.
(Not to mention he played like a man on a mission against Wolves.)
Kean? Iwboi? Gbamin?
19, 23, and 23.
The point is, Everton look to have assembled a roster of players they are confident can form the core upon which a Top-six competitive side can be built.
And you know what?
For the first time in a long time I actually believe it.
Pickford, Keane, Mina, Digne, Gbamin, Gomes, Iwob, Richarlison and Kean are all pieces that can already be counted on this season and beyond and that the Toffees do not need to ‘upgrade’ in the near future (Kean TBD but give me a break I’m being optimistic!).
As for this season?
I’m still not sure if the Toffees look like a team who will be lurking around the Top six (or better?) all season or more like a team that will show glimpses of their potential but will still be let down by heart-breaking results (like last seasons losses to Fulham and Newcastle) and will find themselves in 8th place again.
What I DO know is that for the first time in a long time I am even debating the questions above.
As excitable as I have been about previous iterations of the Toffees, the current squad, and more important leadership, give me reason to believe there can be a fundamental shift in both mindset and performance that could possibly push the Toffees up the table this year.
There will still be setbacks obviously, such as the beginning of the Lincoln match and the defensive lapses against Wolves, but we have also found that this current lineup has fight and resolve about it, as evidenced by the Toffees ability to pick up wins in both aforementioned matches.
As the season gets ready to pick up again this weekend I’m not exactly sure what will unfold over the next few months.
I will enjoy entertaining the possibilities though, especially now that my dreams seem a bit more realistic than they have in a long time.
It’s good to be back.
Now to the mailbag!
This guy gets it.
Like gets it, gets it.
If Richarlison keeps playing like this he is going to become a legend.
Who else forgot one of the most accomplished strikers of the past 20 years played our club?
Delph looks a steal at 8 million! Big result that today, teams around us dropping points it’s important we capitalise on it. 5th going into the international break, happy with that ⚪️ #everton— Phill Hayward (@Haywaphi17) September 1, 2019
If Manchester United had bought Delph for the same price and he played like he did against Wolves pundits would have been talking non-stop about what a steal he was.
However, Everton are used to seeing their players short-changed by the larger media and are happy to laugh to themselves at the deal they got when they brought Delph to Goodison.
I genuinely believe Delph will be a major difference maker for us in tight matches. He has won every thing under the sun and even though he wasn’t a key cog for City last season it is obvious he had the respect of everyone in the dressing room.
His play, and leadership, should rub off on his younger teammates and help Everton overcome some of the mental hurdles that seemed to have doomed them the past few seasons.
Is Delph the kind of on-field and locker room presence the Toffees have been desperately lacking??
We will have to see, but so far the signs are all positive.
Football fans during the international breakpic.twitter.com/Qugmb3zTC6— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) September 9, 2019
Don’t lie you watched the whole thing.
I for one believe Alex Iwobi is going to be the best signing from this window.
His ability to beat defenders 1 v 1 and complete attacking passes will be VITAL if Everton are to form a consistent attack this season.
Oh, and apparently he has decided he is a goal-scorer now!
Will there be a formation shift at some point given the new personnel this season? Seem to have more options than years’ past!— Kevin Foley (@t_bonefoley) September 6, 2019
Let’s start at the end.
The Toffees have WAAAAAAAY better options than they have had in a long time.
There is depth at every position (except CB...but shhhhhh) and the competition is over higher caliber than it has been in a while.
With Kean and Iwobi now integrated into the attack Everton have the likes of Bernard, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Cenk Tosun off the bench, each of whom offer completely different skill sets when the Toffees are in need of a goal.
In the midfield, Jean-Phillipe Gbamin’s injury put a dent into the midfield depth and knocked Morgan Schneiderlin up a rung. (More on that later.)
Aditionally, Tom Davies continues to wait in the wings should the team see a rash of injuries and/or red cards
Aditionally, Tom Davies
continues to wait in the wings should the team see a rash of injuries and/or red cards will probably get a run whenever Morgan Schneiderlin goes off the rials again. (More on that later too.)
I am starting to get more than a little excited by this guy’s development.
From spurning the advances of Europe's elite to scoring wonder goals for the U23s. Inside the rise & rise of @AnthonyGordon59 - Everton's bright new hope— Patrick Boyland (@Paddy_Boyland) September 9, 2019
Features interviews with Gordon, David Unworth & England U19 coach Paul Simpsonhttps://t.co/KQfpHuMRHx
Here’s to hoping he has a higher peak that Kieran Dowell, the last attacking mid I thought might break through to the first team. However, so far he has shown the Championship to be more his level.
I personally think Anthony Gordon has more pace to his game and is a better dribbler and finisher (maybe not from free-kicks but certainly from open-play) than Dowell. W
My hope is that Gordon will work himself into the rotation this season and will pick up enough minutes at the end of the campaign to get a read of where he will fall going into the 2020-2021 campaign.
Or will he impress enough to earn a loan out in January to a Championship side looking for some fire power?
The possibilities are endless, but I’m crossing my fingers Gordon makes the jump soon!
How do you think we fare in our next 3 matches? Could win em all if we come out the break strong.— Kevin Rea (@DatDudeKR) September 6, 2019
Let’s start off with a the upcoming schedule. (I didn’t know if you meant 3 matches in general or just in the league so I included both. Of course now that I look at it I doubt you had TOO much confidence about the City match.)
So, assuming we are talking about our next two league matches and the next round of the Carabao Cup, then YES the Toffees have a good chance to pick up six league points and advance in the Crabble Apple Cup or whatever.
Of course being Everton they could also come away with one or two points and be knocked out of another cup competition early.
So what do I think will happen?
Well, the Toffees aren’t exactly a juggernaut on the road so the trip to Bournemouth raises red flags right away. Can the Toffees find a balance of attack and defense against a struggling but always dangerous Cherries side?
Yes. Yes they can.
Iwobi, Kean and Richarlison give me the belief that we can score at anytime, and with Fabian Delph’s leadership Everton have every chance to pick up 3 points.
In fact, I think Iwobi and Richarlison will both find the back of the net again and the Toffees will win 2-1.
Fast-forwarding to next week the Toffees will be the talk of Sheffield as they host United in the Premier League Saturday before traveling to Wednesday on Tuesday.
Everton have usually done well when hosting newly promoted sides, and a win SHOULD be expected. I’m not usually this nonchalant but come on we HAVE to win these matches. Right?
The match on Tuesday, however, is where I get worried.
The combination of a more than competent Championship side and being a road match make me a bit uneasy.
If the Toffees get off to another Lincoln-type start and fall behind they won’t be able to rely on superior conditioning to come back.
That being said, having choices like Bernard and Cenk Tosun off the bench (or starting?) means that the Toffees won’t be as predictable and may use a quality win as a springboard to a cup run.
Yeah, I like the sound of that. Everton to win impressively.
So yes, Kevin, the Toffees WILL pick up 6 points and advance.
Now, as for that City match........
Today’s round of:
HOW TERRIBLE ARE THE EA PEOPLE AT RATING PLAYERS?
This week’s match up is:
Richarlison: 20 goals and 5 assists in all competitions for club and country last year. -1
Lingard: No goals or assists in the calendar year. (Yes, it’s September). Same (over)rating as last year
After years of having to play with Kevin Mirallas I was looking forward to having a better attacking line than previous years when playing with the Toffees. This is not what I had in mind.
Not a FIFA player?
I’ll show you one simple image to understand how sickening and low Richarlison’s 79 truly is.
Need I say more?
Here is the best hat-trick ever:
Here it is!— Wycombe Wanderers (@wwfcofficial) September 9, 2019
One of the most incredible hat-tricks you’ll see. pic.twitter.com/N7jbaWsD9T
THEY ARE CALLING FOR HIM TO SHOOT ON THE LAST ONE!
AND HE DOES!
AND SCORES AN OLIMPICO!
This is definitely the best hat-trick of all time. Please submit other nominations to:
Best left back in the league.
What’s the plan for Davies? Is there room for him to make an impact (aside from extensive injuries to starts)?— Kevin Foley (@t_bonefoley) September 6, 2019
Oh the odd case of Tom Davies.
The short answer is simple.
No, unless there are injuries (or a Schneiderlin red card or two) ahead of him there isn’t room for him to make an impact.
However, as a professional club Everton do have to have SOME coverage should a rash of injuries strike the midfield.
(Gbamin is already out until November so it is FEASIBLE).
The problem, however, is that this is not exactly the role you want an up and coming young player to be situated in. Someone like Morgan Schneiderlin, for example, would be perfect as cover for the midfield but Gbamin’s injury has brought the Frechman into the regular rotation and has left the Toffees relying on Davies as the JUST IN CASE option.
So what’s the plan?
Well, a loan to the Championship would be useless in that we know Davies has it in him to play in the Premier League, it’s just a question of whether or not he can do it consistently enough for a team with Everton’s ambition.
I for one would like to see Davies go on loan to a relegation threatened Premier League side in January to see what he can do with a string of starts and pressure on his shoulders.
He would most definitely get a run of starts for the likes of Norwich or Brighton and would have the chance to show what he can week in and week out.
If he doesn’t get loaned out and rides the bench all year?
Well, it would be hard not to think the Toffees might not consider a loan to a Bundesliga club (a la Jon Joe Kenny) to see if a fresh location can bring out the best in Davies.
Whatever the case, Davies is signed up with the Toffees for a while so I doubt we have heard the last from the midfielder and who knows...
A string of unfortunate events (or results) and Davies could find Marco Silva having no other choice than to give Davies a chance.