Former Everton striker Louis Saha believes that the Toffees will miss out on a top-four finish in the Premier League this season. Everton are currently top of the table after five games and are still unbeaten in the league. The Toffees look a different side this season, but the transformation actually began when Carlo Ancelotti took charge at Goodison Park in December last year.
After a summer of smart buys, the Toffees have now scored 26 goals in eight games across all competition this season. In the Premier League, Everton have hit 14 goals from their five games so far and their 2-2 draw in the Merseyside derby remains the only game they have failed to win.
The attack, spearheaded by the red-hot Dominic Calvert-Lewin and orchestrated by a rejuvenated James Rodriguez, has been flawless, while the backline has managed to hold their own too. The Everton juggernaut has shown no signs of slowing down. However, Saha thinks that a top-four finish might be farfetched this year.
Saha expects Everton to narrowly miss out on a top-four finish this season
Saha agreed that Ancelotti has improved his old club in a lot of ways, and pointed out that the consistency has been a welcome addition. However, he believes that Everton do not have the squad to compete with the top four and an injury could expose them at any time.
I think they’ve improved through being more consistent, and I hope they can carry on keeping this consistency going through the season, keep it up. I think it is probably still too early for them to challenge the top four – if they get one or two injuries, then it might affect them a little bit. The top four still have bigger and better squads.
Saha believes that the Italian is central to everything good that is occurring at Everton this season. The Frenchman was all praise for Ancelotti’s planning and vision, elements he believes have added a new dimension to the team this year.
The manager has been very important. He has improved their confidence and their mentality. But very importantly, he’s also got a real plan for them. It has made them better in so many ways and it’s really visible. The previous teams over the last couple of years were pretty good, but perhaps the overall gameplan wasn’t so clear.
Saha also thinks that reverting to the Italian’s preferred diamond formation has helped Everton. The Frenchman said that a clear plan has helped everyone in the team be aware of their responsibilities.
"Now there is a gameplan, like when they use the diamond formation that the manager likes, and it is working well for them. The way they defend and attack just makes sense now, and I think the boys like that clean plan, that visibility – everybody knowing their job."
However, Saha predicts that Everton will narrowly miss out on a top-four finish this season, which means he expects them to play in Europe next season, albeit in the Europa League.
"I think they’ll finish just outside the top four."
Can Ancelotti and co prove the former Toffees striker wrong?
Published 22 Oct 2020, 18:54 IST