December 10, 2013

So, is Everton for real now?

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

It seems like every week we question whether a team is real or not and this week is no different.

You can’t help but ask the question after seeing Everton’s results from the past week or so: A 4-0 win at home against Stoke, a 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford and a 1-1 draw against league leaders Arsenal at the Emirates.

Pretty impressive, no?

This is a good side with good depth as well. The players they have brought in on loan – Romelu Lukaku and Gerrard Deulofeu specifically – have looked outstanding in the past week.

It could even be argued that this side has more quality depth than former manager David Moyes’ United – I’d much rather have Kevin Miralles coming off the bench than Ashley Young at this point.

The Toffees sit just a point out of a Champions League spot and two out of second place, so can they keep it up?

Traditionally, Everton starts out slow and picks up points after Christmas. That’s not the case this season. This may have been a trait of Moyes, but it’s also something that has happened to their current manager, Roberto Martinez, when he was with Wigan Athletic, a team that had to scrap its way out of relegation late in the season.

Right now, seeing the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea ahead of them, I’d say that Everton would be hard pressed to ultimately win a spot in Champions League, but the odds aren’t as long as they once were.

If I were a betting man, I’d back them as a pleasant long shot. It would be an incredible story and one that would pay off handsomely.


It turns out that Luis Suarez will be just fine without SAS partner Daniel Sturridge.

The Liverpool striker is making a good case for the third-best player in the world title with another goal, assist and a shot that was deflected in as own goal by a West Ham defender.

Both Surarez and Man City’s Sergio Aguero are in great form right now and it’s an honest debate for the third-best title.

Aguero even proved that he can score on the road, potting one against a game Southampton side, which while it has slipped of late, is still loaded with talent.

So who would you rather have: Suarez or Aguero? The only real downside for either player is the off-field drama that comes with Suarez, but on the pitch, it seems that neither can be stopped right now.


Interesting to note that without Suarez, the Reds had three clean sheets in five games. With him in the lineup, they have just one in ten … How does Chelsea flat out lose to Stoke, regardless if it was at Britannia Stadium. The Blues are far too talented to drop points like that and Jose Mourinho should know that. If he doesn’t make some purchases in January to bring in some physical players that are more his style, I’ll be shocked. In a season where the points you drop against low-table teams are going to hurt you the most, those were three that will haunt Chelsea … While a change in management should help Fulham short-term, I don’t think that making Rene Meulensteen is the solution. It will need to bring in some quality in January if it wants to avoid a tough relegation battle come the spring … What does it mean for Toronto FC’s potential purchase of Jermain Defoe that the Tottenham forward played a full 90 minutes at Sunderland this weekend? Not much probably, as the English forward did little to raise his value. It was probably just AVB trying to get his offence on track against a low-table side … After watching the NFL play through some blizzards conditions, I can’t wait to see some soccer played amidst some English flurries. Whenever the orange ball comes out, anything can happen.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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