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Could Everton be contenders for the Champions League spots?

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has saw his team make a good start to the season

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has saw his team make a good start to the season

Life as an Evertonian is like being on a permanent roller-coaster.  One minute you are as high as a kite and the next as low as a worm.

However, at the moment the Toffees are looking in very good shape under new boss Roberto Martinez.

Yesterday Everton recorded a 4-0 win against Stoke at Goodison Park to move into fourth place in the Premier League and produced a superb display of attacking football.

Boss

When highly-rated boss David Moyes replaced the retiring Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, there was much talk about Everton taking a sudden nosedive down the Premier League table. Highly-regarded Spaniard Roberto Martinez arrived from Wigan to replace Moyes to a mixed reception.

Some Toffees fans focussed on the fact that Martinez joined Everton on the back of being relegated with the Latics, while others focussed on the fact that the 40-year-old had managed something that Moyes had not in his career, actually winning a trophy.

There were doubts about his ability to manage a bigger club than the Latics, but early signs suggest that Martinez has indeed got the managerial ability to inspire a major revival at Goodison Park.

Style

Martinez’s style of play is well-documented. The Spaniard likes his team to play attacking, possession football and that style was evident in his Wigan and Swansea teams. His style has already translated pretty well to the Everton squad.

The Toffees players have adapted well from the more direct style of David Moyes. The team’s style of play under Moyes in the Scot’s last season was slightly easier on the eye than previous decade, but under Martinez the Toffees play a very attractive brand of football.

Martinez’s style may have ultimately saw Wigan relegated, but that was because the Latics did not have the defensive players to cope with the way the team go forward. As Everton have proved this season they do have the defenders to cope with an attacking style.

Depth

A lot of so-called experts have written-off Everton this season because they have not spent as much as the other teams at top. Some claim that Everton’s squad do not have enough strength in-depth. Yesterday Martinez decided to rest two of his biggest attacking threats in Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas.

The Toffees were also without star England full-back Leighton Baines. The players that came in Gerard Deulofeu and Bryan Oviedo turned out to be two of the stars of the show as Everton hammered Stoke 4-0 at Goodison.

Both players have struggled to get into the starting line-up for Everton this season. Oviedo has obviously had the impressive Baines in front of him in the pecking order for a spot at left-back. The Costa Rica international has had limited opportunities for the Toffees, but with Baines set to be sidelined till the new year Oviedo will get his chance to impress. He definitely took his chance yesterday putting in a good display, capping it with a superb goal.

Young attacker Gerard Deulofeu arrived on Merseyside with a big reputation. The on-loan Barcelona ace only made his full Premier League debut in yesterday’s clash, but impressed with his silky skills and was a constant threat to the Stoke defence.

The youngster had shown in flashes his ability in cameo appearances and his maverick skills have already made him popular amongst the Everton fans. Deulofeu is still very raw and is far from the finished article, but he definitely has the potential to be a fantastic player.

Problem

Everton do have a problem in the fact some of the key players in the team are only on loan at the club. Striker Romelu Lukaku now has eight goals in the Premier League and is fulfilling his potential on Merseyside.

He is likely to return to parent club Chelsea at the end of the season, despite seemingly falling out with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho and a slight war of words. When Lukaku leaves Everton will have to try and replace his goals, which really will not be easy.

The other key player on-loan at Goodison Park Gareth Barry is in a completely different situation. The defensive midfielder has impressed since joining the Blues on-loan from Manchester City. Barry is out of contract at City in the summer.

The midfielder has hinted that he would like to sign a permanent deal with Everton. Barry is surplus to requirements at City, so it would probably be the best move for everybody involved. It is concerning for Everton though that they could see the likes of Barry, Lukaku and Deulofeu all return to their parent clubs in the summer and have to rebuild in the summer.

Difficult

Everton have established a reputation for taking points of the so called ‘big teams’. However, their next two matches are very difficult, as the Toffees face a trip to Manchester United in midweek and then a trip to face league leaders Arsenal next weekend.

If Everton take points from those tough trips then they will be in and around the top four going into a busy Christmas period, which would be fantastic.

Outsiders

Everton are outsiders to win a Champions League spot this season. However, they now have the talent and durability to at least mount a challenge. Even if the challenge for the top four ultimately ends in failure at least the Toffees are far more attractive to watch under the affable Martinez.

Could Everton be contenders for the Champions League spots?

Sun 1 December, 2013
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