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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Are Everton genuine top-4 contenders?

In a season where Arsenal are flying at the summit of the Premier League and are still being written off as title contenders, Everton, despite there great form, are also being quashed as realistic contenders for a top-4 place, after last nights win over Man United however, is it time to consider Everton as a genuine threat to the other top-4 contenders.

In one of the most unpredictable seasons in recent history, Everton have gradually found their form under new boss Roberto Martinez, currently sitting fifth with 27 points, level with Liverpool who lye above them in fourth position, Everton are in a strong position to stay in contention for a coveted Champions League spot.

Prior to the season starting, no one would have thought Everton would have settled so quickly under new man Martinez, especially after drawing their opening three games, the 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park in their fourth game started the great run of form they find themselves on.

Wins against West Ham, Hull, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Stoke and of course Man United along with draws against the likes of Liverpool and Spurs have shot them up the table.

Now, 14 games into the season Everton have only lost one game,the only team in the league to lose only once, this came in a 3-1 away defeat to Manchester City, not a bad result considering City’s ruthless form at the Etihad.

The team and the style in which Everton play is of a higher quality than what was seen last year when David Moyes was in charge, Martinez brought in his mentality of patient passing football which he also implemented at Wigan.

“I want to play well, be the better side and win. But I would settle for playing well, being the better side and losing”, Martinez said before the Manchester United match. This emphasises the type of manager Martinez is and how he sticks rigidly to his plan.

There is no doubt that the good showing by Everton this season has been greatly helped by on-loan front man Romelu Lukaku, the Chelsea man has scored eight goals already this season and has been Everton’s star player, luckily from an Everton point of view Chelsea will be unable to call him back during his loan spell and Lukaku will remain at Everton for the duration of the season.

The current Everton squad is looking as strong as it ever has, the defence is very strong with Jagielka and Distin holding a solid partnership while the two full-backs Baines and Coleman are arguably the best pair of full-backs in the league.

The midfield is also looking very impressive, Ross Barkley has been a revelation while Barry and McCarthy have proved to be great signings, and the wingers Pienaar, Mirallas and the Barcelona loanee Delefeulo have been all extremely impressive this season.

The aforementioned Lukaku has been excellent up front and with the likes of Arouna Kone on the bench Martinez is not short of options.

Whether Everton have the credentials to sustain this challenge is yet to be seen but the squad is certainly strong enough to help Robert Martinez have a very successful first season in charge at Goodison.