|Moyes previously guided Everton the Champions league in 2005|
Of all the Premier league managers, only Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have spent more time at their helm then Moyes, and despite year in year out having to sell his best players to please the finances, the former Preston manager has done an incredible job at Goodison Park. Moyes was heavily linked with the vacant Spurs job which appeared in the summer; however via whatever means a move never materialised and to his and the side’s credit they've put the rumours to one side and started this year fantastically.
Their first eleven can compete with any in the division, with their left hand side in particular dazzling this year. Leighton Baines and the returning Steven Pienaar have linked superbly, with the England full-back finding himself in the opponents half more than his own. The likes of Marouane Felliani have also been brilliant, with the Belgian midfielder adding three goals from midfield so far. For years at Goodison the home side have been craving a natural goalscorer and in the form of the Croat Nikica Jelavic they finally have one, and he’ll be in and around the league’s top scorers.
|Baines has been one of Moyes' greatest ever signings|
Like I touched upon earlier, Everton have far too often found themselves playing catch up following a poor start to the season, however 15 points from eight matches, which to be fair would've been two greater had goal line technology been in place, means they can be chased instead of the chasers.
Unfortunately for Moyes and Everton, unlike in 2004 when they qualified for the Champions league, there was only five clubs battling it out for the top four, realistically you can say this time around there are eight! When you consider the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham didn’t qualify for Europe’s finest club competition, all be it in differing circumstances, it goes to show the strength in depth the top eight clubs have. Newcastle finished above Chelsea last season and despite a slow start have a starting eleven capable of competing with the best in the league. In 2004 Everton didn't have to compete with Manchester City, whom over the last two years have become a regular in the Champions league spots.
Like Newcastle, Everton don’t have the greatest strength in depth in comparison to the usual Champions league suspects, which is a worry when you consider the numbers usually found on the treatment table at Goodison Park. Jelavic aside they don’t have a forward who you could realistically say will guarantee 15 goals a season. Whilst defensively they've no cover for the three centre backs, which at some point will affect them this season. Having lost the versatile Jack Rodwell and Tim Cahill in the summer, and many of the previous season’s loan additions you worry for them in case any of their bigger name players are injured.
|Jelavic has 13 goals in just 19 Premier league games for the Toffees.|
You always associate an incredible turn of form after Christmas with Everton, but that can’t happen every season, and who’s to say their usual start of season slump won’t occur later on in the year. With the stiff competition for Champions league places this year, you’d have to say Everton will need to maintain their two points per game ratio over a 38 game season, which won’t be easy.
At the start of the season I didn't think they’d be able to mount a Champions league push, but after their early form you wouldn't bank against Moyes gate crashing the top four once more!