While Everton’s season didn’t ended the way we would have liked, there were some positives to take into next year. Let’s take a look at who or what stood out from 2020-21.
A Great Away Record
While it is easy to discuss the home woes of Everton this season, the success they had on the road was truly remarkable. To put this all in the proper perspective, it is useful to look at the home and away tables; on the home table, Everton languish in 15th place with 22 points, while on the away table, they sit fourth with 37.
Thirty-seven points away from Goodison Park should have been enough to get Everton into Europe next season; if the next injection of leadership and players can build upon that impressive foundation, it will surely be impossible to keep them out in the successive year. They aren’t scared to play away in London, either; out of these 37 away points, 15 were won in the capital while another three were taken at Anfield; their first win old stomping ground since 1999.
If the confidence away can be sustained next season, with a renewed vigour at home in part due to fans returning, the Blues will be a difficult question to answer week in and out, both home and away.
Ten-point Improvement on Last Season
While Everton amassed just 22 points at home, their overall tally of 59 would have, in many other Premier League seasons, warranted at least a spot in the Europa League, if not simply a spot or three above tenth.
Indeed, 59 points is the highest total for a tenth-placed side in Premier League history, and would have earned a seventh-placed finish in two of the last eight seasons. This would’ve given the team a leg up during this summer transfer window, even if Carlo Ancelotti was still determined to return to Madrid when they would eventually come calling.
This silver lining is among the most difficult to see and appreciate, as it is small consolation that the team performed as arguably ‘the best tenth-placed team in Premier League history.’ On the other hand, while it is easy to harp on the downsides of this notion, it’s more to believe that, under Everton’s new boss, the Blues can take advantage of just a few more opportunities when they present themselves either at home or away, so as to make the next jump in consistency and ambition that everyone craves.
Overall Team Experience has been Gained, and Will Only Help Moving Forward
That consistency and ambition, no matter how difficult it is to believe, comes in part from suffering through losses and experiences that mould and harden you, strengthen you, at the place you were once broken, to quickly paraphrase Hemingway.
Everton started the season in roaring fashion and were able to stay in the midst of contention for months; despite a lack of squad depth and a plethora of injuries and individual/collective miscues, the team stayed competing even when supporters might accuse the players of behaving otherwise.
Everton were in the race for a top six spot until the final month of the season, and technically had a chance at finishing seventh until they got badly beaten by Manchester City in the final game. Despite the ultimate disappointing result and the shared frustration, this hurt will only aid them in the season to come, individually and collectively.
Everton do not need anyone who does not wish to go through these trials and tribulations with the squad, and that means players, assistants, managers or members of the administration. It is a collective effort, and so after the season that has been endured (really the last two seasons, to be fair), the mentality next season will have to be that of a wiser, more experienced, tougher and more focused bunch.
This is how teams climb their way out of the mud, yet ironically it is often it is only after they’ve done so that the path which they took becomes identifiable at all. Talent, ambition and desire exists at Everton, and with just a few more tweaks and innovations, the three positives of next year could be shocking from where we sit today.