EVERTON: COULD CARLO'S MEN TOP THE LOTT?
Four games into the season can often be perceived as too early to make predictions for the final standings. However, good starts can also be seen as the makings of a great team, with results in their base form not always indicating good form. The best teams in Europe don’t always win in style and often rely on grinding out results when not at their best, but so far this season Everton haven’t needed to do that.
Carlo Ancelotti's side seem revitalised and currently sit top of the Premier League. James Rodriguez appears to be the player we’ve been waiting for since Brazil 2014 and Dominic Calvert-Lewin has transformed into the striker Everton have been crying out for since Romelu Lukaku’s departure in 2017.
In a transfer window full of crazy moves with every slight rumour seemingly coming true, Bale returning to Spurs and Chelsea bringing in some of Europe’s hottest talent, you’d be forgiven for thinking Everton’s window was nothing short of superb. Signing three central midfielders in Allan, Abdoulaye Doucouré and James all appear to be quality upgrades.
In hindsight, the Colombian playmaker appears to be a steal with zero reported as the figure exchanged between Real Madrid and the Toffees. However, £140,000 a week and six years of mediocre performances expectations were mixed. Some of James’ best performances did come during Ancelotti’s stint at Los Blancos, so a previous relationship and understanding of the player was another aspect to be considered.
It’s not all full of positives though as Jordan Pickford, despite being England’s number one, is arguably one of the weakest first-team goalkeepers in the league, often shipping unnecessary goals and failing to make simple saves - undoing the hard work of the strikers down the other end.
A Pickford replacement doesn’t seem to be coming to Goodison Park though with Ancelotti seemingly content with the mistakes, instead focusing on out-scoring their opponents whilst keeping the ball as far away from their goal as possible.
Everton’s team has strength all over the pitch and unlike teams in the past aren’t reliant on superstars and are built with a quality backbone to maintain throughout the season. In particular with Lucas Digne and club captain Seamus Coleman, full-backs not to be taken lightly.
Digne is one of the best in the league both defensively and going forward with final delivery seemingly getting the best out of the aerial master Calvert-Lewin. On the other side, Coleman is a dying breed of full-back, with the emphasis now more on attacking, just look at Trent Alexander-Arnold. But Coleman is a sturdy reminder of how a defensive right-back can still be just as important, offering a brilliant dynamic to Digne on the opposite side of the defence.
A strong start with players stepping up to the mark is a good sign for Evertonians and provided they can keep their core players fit and focused they could easily be this season’s surprise package. Maintaining this form will be tough, but with big rivals like Manchester United and Liverpool dropping points, this is a great chance for the Blue half of Merseyside to step out of their neighbour’s shadow.