Everton’s start to the season won’t come as a surprise to the eternal optimists that always hoped they’d bounce back up to relevancy one day, and it also won’t be much of a surprise for Carlo Ancelotti given the work he’s been doing with the squad. For everyone else, though, there’s an element of confusion in the air.
After years of mediocrity, it finally seems as if the Toffees are ready to challenge in a big way again. They may not be in a position to challenge local rivals Liverpool in the race for the title just yet, but at the very least, they look like a side that should be qualifying for European competition by the time May rolls around.
They dispatched of Tottenham, Salford, West Brom, Fleetwood, Crystal Palace and West Ham in the lead-up to their game against Brighton & Hove Albion yesterday, putting them in a great position both in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup. The clash with the Seagulls was always going to be a tricky one given the potential they’ve shown in their first few games this season but they managed to overcome any lingering doubts, beating them 4-2.
Of course, one of the biggest problems right now remains the instability of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. There have been a few lingering reports suggesting that Ancelotti is set to have ‘crisis’ talks with Pickford and when you take one look at the clanger he dropped to gift Brighton their equaliser, it’s not hard to understand why.
That alone is one of the many reasons why the hard work really does start now for Everton. They look tremendous at this early stage in the season but we’ve seen plenty of clubs come and go over the years who have started off like a house on fire before falling off the side of a cliff.
There’s a little bit more wheeling and dealing to be done at Goodison Park before the summer transfer window closes in a few days and the boss knows that, but he has to find the perfect balance. It’s not wise to upset the status quo too much given the quality they’ve already shown as a unit, but if they do want to shoot for the stars, they do still need to consider their options.
Their first game after the upcoming international break will see them host the aforementioned Liverpool and while they don’t need to pick up all three points to make a statement, they do have to give them a bloody nose. The Reds are of the belief that they’re going to stroll their way to a second straight Premier League title and the reasons why are obvious. Still, even if they do go all the way and retain their crown as Champions of England, that isn’t going to stop Everton from building their own reputation and legacy – and you can bet on them doing just that over at the betting page.
Everton fans should be getting excited about what they’ve accomplished thus far but in truth, this is only the tip of the iceberg.