Everton have stunned the Premier League with their results and performances so far, and look capable of mounting a real challenge for the top four. Liam Rowsell assesses the Toffee’s first few games and analyses how they’ve achieved this.
Having finished inside the bottom half of the Premier League table last season for the first time since 2015/16, Everton had some work to do to get to the level their fans would expect of them. But they look a completely different animal this season and are scoring goals for fun.
What’s the story so far?
Everton kicked off their 20/21 Premier League campaign with a visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to face a Spurs side who would’ve had high aspirations coming into this season. They immediately caught the eye with a fantastic performance, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s first goal of the season was enough to see them walk away from North London with all three points. Just three days later, the Toffees kicked off their Carabao Cup campaign as Salford City came to Goodison Park. It’s safe to say they were was no upset on the cards in that one as a professional performance goal from Michael Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Moise Kean win saw them book their place in the third round.
Attention then turned back to the Premier League and Everton followed up on their impressive opener with an emphatic 5-2 win at home to ten-man West Brom. It was in that game that Calvert-Lewin really showed he meant business as he netted his first senior hat trick. New signing James Rodriguez also got off the mark that weekend, scoring his first goal in Everton blue since singing in the summer. Another 5-2 win soon followed that game as Everton produced another professional display to overcome League One side Fleetwood Town in the Carabao Cup. Moise Kean, Bernard, Alex Iwobi and Richarlison (x2) were on the scoresheet that night.
Up next was a trip to Selhurst Park to face a Crystal Palace side who had also won their first two league games at that stage. That record didn’t last long though as Calvert-Lewin scored his fifth goal of the season and a very controversial penalty was converted by Richarlison to earn the three points. Everton then faced West Ham in the Carabao Cup last 16 where another Richarlison goal and Dominic Calvert-Lewin hat trick saw them run out 4-1 winners to book their place in December’s quarter finals.
Shortly after, Everton maintained their winning start to the Premier League, scoring another four goals to beat Brighton at Goodison where Calvert-Lewin was on the scoresheet yet again. Having won seven consecutive games in all competitions, Everton came out of the international break and into a Merseyside derby full of confidence. Unfortunately, the controversy took the headlines in that game as Jordan Pickford’s nasty challenge on Virgil van Dijk, Richarlison’s sending off and Jordan Henderson’s disallowed goal late on completed a game full of talking points. They shared the spoils as Keane and Calvert-Lewin scored the goals for Everton to cancel out Mane and Salah’s strikes.
How has the transfer window contributed to this success?
Everton really took advantage of the summer transfer window, as they knew they would need a stronger squad if they were to compete near the top this season. Perhaps their most exciting addition to the squad was James Rodriguez, and after the start he’s had to this campaign, his free transfer looks to have been a real bargain. Six years ago, when he impressed at the 2014 World Cup, many were expecting him to grow from strength to strength throughout his career. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out for him until now but having been given the opportunity to work under Carlo Ancelotti which he has done before, he has another chance to get back to his best.
Also through the door was Brazilian midfielder Allan, who joined the club after a successful spell in a strong Napoli team. His £22 million transfer fee will be well warranted if he can continue contributing to this exciting Everton side. Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ben Godfrey were the other summer additions who have both been given the chance to play in the Premier League again after their relegations last season. The midfield of Doucoure, Allan and Gomes is very well balanced and really provides the stronghold of the team.
Theo Walcott and Moise Kean were let go on loan right at the end of the season to Southampton and PSG, respectively. With the performances of the new singings along with the free-scoring Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, Everton look like a really dangerous side and their £67 million transfer spending really looks to have paid off. (Source: Transfermarkt)
What’s behind this fantastic start?
Carlo Ancelotti showed glimpses of what he could do with this club last season when he took over halfway through but given the opportunity to spend big in the transfer window, and he’s been able to transform this team. He’s created a system in which he has two powerful centre backs in between two full backs with strong defensive capabilities as well as the quality to attack, a strong midfield three to protect the back line and to support the attack, and an incredible front three of Rodriguez, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin who have 23 goal involvements between them already this season. (Source: Transfermarkt)
Calvert-Lewin has really caught the eye this season with his 10 goals in all competitions, just five behind his goal tally of last season already. His first senior England call-up has been well deserved too, and the goal on his debut against Wales has really epitomised this year for him. It has allowed him to play as a proper number nine, scoring all kinds of goals, but his dominance in the air is well supported by the quality wing play of his teammates.
The team have a lot of belief in their management and given Carlo Ancelotti’s track record with 19 major honours under his belt, that’s barely a surprise. Ancelotti really knows how to make a team click and if things continue progressing in the direction they’re going in at the moment, Everton could perform on the European stage where the manager is so successful, in not much time at all.
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