When David Moyes left for the red half of Manchester in the summer, the Toffees boardroom were left with a huge responsibility to appoint a new boss in charge who could take the torch from the Scotsman. There were rumours of many new managers arriving at Goodison Park and finally Roberto Martinez was given the nod.
The former Wigan boss whose side had been relegated the previous season, only after mastering an FA cup final victory against Manchester City, had a massive task in front of him. Martinez has always insisted that the journey is more important than the destination and his words were perfectly interpreted by the boys in Blue.
The Blues have been able to amass 34 points in the opening 17 games which leaves them a little short of the big boys before the upcoming year. They have been defeated only once in the league this season when they were overpowered by a star studded Manchester City at the Etihad but they have significantly rose from that minor setback.
The current manager is more focused on the realistic prospect of finishing 4th by playing a brand of exciting football, which would be a great achievement for the club from Merseyside considering the fact that have always been overshadowed by their mighty neighbors Liverpool.
So how did the change take place within 6 months?
A perfect blend of youth and experience: Everton’s squad boasts of seasoned campaigners like Leighton Baines, Sylvain Distin, Leon Osman, Nikita Jelavic and at the same time they have great youngsters in the form of Ross Barkley, Seamus Coleman and many more. The emergence of younger players has brought freshness and excitement to the club. This has been very helpful for the team as they seek to extend their good run in the campaign.
Talented British footballers: Everton are one of those few clubs who still believe in the prospect of educating young footballing minds and graduating them to the next level. The number of British footballers in the Everton line up is astounding. Right from Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka in defence to attackers like Naismith, Barkley there certainly isn’t shortage of talent.
Impressive loan signings: The trio of loan signings has a huge impact on Everton’s premier league season so far. It is very much evident that without the 8 goals of Romelu Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, and the two goals shared by Gareth Barry and Gerard Deulofeo, employed by Man City and Barcelona respectively, would sit at 11th instead of the present fifth spot. Gareth Barry is slowly turning into his old self providing back up to the defence and helping break down opposition attacks. Similarly Barca wonder kid Deulofeo has proved to be nothing short of phenomenal.
Attacking Options: Romelu Lukaku is certainly playing impressive football right now and he is greatly supported by Barkley, Mirallas and Steven Pienaar in the midfield. Lukaku is a young striker who is maturing in leaps and bounds. Similar is the case of Barkley who has perfectly adjusted himself to the playmaker’s position. Martinez is not short of striking options either. He can always look forward to Jelavic who still has something to prove.
Stern Defence: In front of the post they have the former Man United man in Tim Howard who has provided great services to the club and have as many as 8 clean sheets this season already in the league. But he is 34 now and is bound to make those silly errors at times. In Phil Jagielka they have a perennial leader and the whole Everton defence is centered around this guy. He along with the ageing Sylvain Distin has made significant contributions to the Everton back four. Seamus Coleman, another youngster has made significant progression and is touted as one of the most improved player in the league. Leighton Baines who is recovering from an injury, is one of their most prized asset and they would certainly make it an effort to keep him at Goodison park considering the fact that he is in the prime of his career.
This new Everton side has certainly the fire-power to compete with the big guns and give them a run for their money provided they don’t let their foot off the gas. If they continue to play this exciting brand of football for the rest of the season then who knows they might prove to be important contenders for Europe come the end of the season. Can their fairy tale journey go on till May?