Monday, June 09, 2008

The off-season: Everton

Since Derby County are now out of the Premier League, the next club undergoing my analysis is Everton. I will also be leaving the promoted clubs to the end, since I need time to study their team.

Everton are like Aston Villa and Blackburn, the clubs who are constantly improving and vying for the top spots behind the Big Four. They are constantly in the hunt for UEFA Cup places, the FA Cup, League Cup and maybe even for the last Champions' League place. However they still need more investment and players to take the extra step to challenge the Big Four clubs.

GK: Tim Howard, Iain Turner, John Ruddy

David Moyes has stated he needs another goalkeeper to back up Tim Howard and that maybe right. He has lost faith with Iain Turner after bringing in Stefan Wessels last season and it won't be surprising to see this goalkeeper go during this summer. Currently John Ruddy is still too young to be considered but he's highly rated, so Moyes will keep him around or send him out on loan.

RB: Tony Hibbert

Hibbert is a reliable, tough-tackling defender but he lacks the extra quality (particularly on going forward) to be a great right-back. Moyes needs to invest in an excellent defender in this position. He has enough players to cover in this position, with Philip Neville capable playing here, but to progress to the next level, Everton needs a more attacking-minded right-back.

LB: Leighton Baines, Nuno Valente

I think both players will be given more opportunity to exert themselves in this position, after Joleon Lescott played most of last season on the left side of defence. Baines & Valente were blighted with injuries and when they were fit, Lescott was playing too consistently good to be budged.

CB: Joseph Yobo, Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott

The most reliable and highest quality area for Everton. Whoever Moyes brings in will have to know they are playing fourth fiddle to established centre-backs. I don't think Moyes will bring anyone in unless he has more injury worries.

MF: Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman, Tim Cahill, Phillip Neville, Steven Pienaar, Andy Van Der Meyde

The Toffees characteristically don't play with wide-men and the only winger they have seems likely to go (Van Der Meyde). They still need some attacking players to play on the sidelines, since they are totally reliant on Arteta and Cahill. When the Australian midfielder was injured in February, Everton fell out of Champions' League contention. They will also need to replace Lee Carsley with another defensive midfielder.

FW: Andy Johnson, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, James Vaughn, Victor Anichebe

There are doubts of Andy Johnson's future but I'm sure Moyes will want to keep him. If Everton are to start getting into fourth place, Moyes has to play 4-4-2 at times with Johnson dropping off into midfield. At times they play too defensively and it can cost them goals against lower league opposition.


In: 1 x Goalkeeper, 1 x Right-back, 1 x Defensive midfielder, 2 x Attacking midfielder
Out: Turner, Van Der Meyde

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