At the start of the Premier League campaign, Everton were talked about as potential surprise title challengers. Carlo Ancelotti’s team won their first four games of the season before a dip in form at the end of October until the end of November. A big factor in those poor results was injuries and suspensions.
The Toffees have still got players out of action through injury. However, the Merseysider’s have recorded three straight wins over Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal, conceding just once in the process.
Ancelotti found a winning system despite absentees
Everton are still injury-hit. Lucas Digne, Fabian Delph, James Rodriguez and Allan are still sidelined through injury. First-choice right-back Seamus Coleman also only returned from as a second-half substitute last time out in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Arsenal.
Most teams in the Premier League would struggle with that many key players sidelined. However, Carlo Ancelotti’s experience has shone through in the way the Italian has found a solution to a major problem.
The former Milan boss has used centre-backs Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey as full-backs in the absence of any experienced full-back cover. Both have played at full-back in the past but would consider themselves more comfortable in the centre of defence. The pair have been superb in the last few games.
Solid rather than spectacular
The current Everton team is built on solid foundations, whereas the Toffees were sparkling in attack at the start of the campaign. They were also letting in goals by the bucket loads. Now they lock rock solid at the back. Holgate and Godfrey rarely venture forward, they prefer to sit and that add the solidity to the team. Usual full-backs Digne and Coleman provide more of an attacking threat, but it leaves the defence slightly more vulnerable.
Mercurial Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez has been missing from the Toffees line-up through injury in recent games. No doubt the former Real Madrid star has quality in abundance. He is arguably one of the most technically gifted players in the English top-flight.
However, when it comes to tracking back and defensive work he is poor. The absence of James from the team has in some ways made the Toffees more solid. The big question is if Carlo Ancelotti will bring the Colombian back into his starting line-up once he is fully fit and injury-free? It will be a difficult decision for the experienced boss, but it is a nice headache for the Italian to have.
A top-six finish is realistic
This season’s race for the top-six looks set to be an exciting one. Looking at current form Everton have to be considered realistic challengers for a top-six spot, especially with the quality within their squad and a top coach like Ancelotti.
This season was very much one of rebuilding for Everton after the recruited a whole new midfield in the shape of Abdoulaye Doucoure, Allan and James Rodriguez, all three have shown their quality at times.
It would be massive for Everton to finish in the Premier League’s top-six after a plethora of underachieving seasons. Maybe Ancelotti is the man to take the Merseysider’s back to glory in the near future.
Do you fancy Everton to finish in the top-six of the Premier League this season and want to place a bet on them? Well, why not visit our betting page for the bookmakers we recommend for your bet.
Does Everton have the quality to finish in the Premier League’s top-six this season?