Saturday, December 15, 2018

Derby display shows Everton’s improvement this season

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Everton suffered yet more derby day misery at the hands of Liverpool, as the Reds recorded a 1-0 win over the Toffees at Anfield on Sunday.

The winning goal arrived on 96 minutes after a terrible gaffe from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford gifted Divock Origi one of the most bizarre goals in the history of the derby match.

An actual game of football

As biased as I am, Everton deserved something from the match, as for once, we went to Anfield looking to play football and win the game. The result was a good encounter between two teams that actually wanted to win the game.

The perceived inferiority complex of former Everton teams was nowhere to be seen, as the Toffees truly looked like they could end a 19-year wait for a win at Anfield. It was a truly refreshing experience as a fan.

It was nice to see a decent game and not just my team going across Stanley Park with a backs to the wall mentality. There were periods that we had to defend, but in truth, we are playing one of the best teams in the country, even champions Manchester City had periods at Anfield.

Marco Silva has transformed the team

The way the team approached the game is all down to boss Marco Silva. The Portuguese boss is a highly positive individual way. He does not seem to fear any opponent and his belief has spread into the team.

As fans, we will take a bit more convincing about being positive, as 30-odd years of ups and downs have taught us to be slightly cynical about our team. However, there seems to be something social and different about Silva and this team.

The team has been transformed, and not only in playing personnel, but also in attitude. The players are going out and playing with freedom, playing as if they can beat anybody and that is a good mentality to have.

It is early days in the Silva era, but performances at Old Trafford, the Emirates Stadium, Stamford Bridge and Anfield can give fans optimism that there are far better things to come from our team. Those trips produced just one point, but the performances suggested Silva fancies his chances of competing against the best, and that is what Everton fans want after years of underperforming

Silva and Everton seem ideal for each other. He is a highly talented boss with major ambition and the Toffees are a club who have been sleeping giants for too long. The signs are that Silva is already slowly waking them up.

A top-six finish is possible this season

Under David Moyes, Everton often finished in fifth or sixth place in the league, even finishing fourth place in a particularly good season. However, those were days when top-six teams were not so set.

Recent years have seen the same teams finish in the top-six, with the exception of Leicester when they won the league of course. Everton look the best-equipped club and team to break into that elite group. The Toffees odds to finish in the top-six this season have now shortened to 4/1.

Anybody who has watched Everton in the last few weeks will know that they are moving in the right direction. The derby display, if not result, illustrated that perfectly.

A top-six finish this season is possible for the Toffees this season. If Silva can continue in the current vein, then they may even prove to be a big threat to the top-four in the near future.

Can Everton finish in the Premier League’s top-six this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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