Just like that, the Premier league is back for another season, and by some miracle once again it includes Everton Football Club. The Toffees kick off their season at home to Fulham on Saturday with Sean Dyche’s men no doubted keen to make a better start than last year, to get themselves off to hopefully a more stress free season. Ahead of the big kick off, I thought I’d do my own standard season preview…
What would value success at EFC for the 23/24 season?
After consecutive years fighting the drop, the answer is relatively simple, don’t have EFC going through that situation again. It would be unrealistic to say that EFC should be nowhere near it now after a full pre-season under Dyche, however I’d expect/hope EFC to give themselves a bit of breathing space this season. EFC aim should be hit 40points as quick as possible, anything more than that should be seen as a Bonus.
Dyche’s 6 month spell so far has wielded a 1.17PPG in the PL, which would be roughly around 44points over a full 38 game season, this should be a good marker of where we hope EFC can hit come May 2024. The aim/success line this year is basically just to be a top division team as the move to Bramley Moore Dock finally comes about next season.
What would be failure?
Again pretty straight forward, if this season they finally do get relegated from the Premier League. The consequence of this would be massive, especially as mentioned earlier ahead of the big move to Bramley Moore dock stadium. It would mean disaster, not only in footballing terms, but off the pitch financially & commercially. EFC need to be a PL side of course, but now more than ever as the club is in a bit of ruin financially whilst funding a multimillion pound stadium. They need to make it to that stadium still in best footing possible footballing wise to really reap the benefit & help get themselves back on their feet.
Currently I’m going to go for two who could potentially be the EFC Key Figures.
First is EFC’s back to back player of the season in Jordan Pickford. With hardly any screening from those in front of him Pickford once again had a great season last year in terms of goals prevented. Pickford will once again be hoping to be at that same level he’s held himself to for 2+ years now, the odd mishap still does happen, but it happens with every goalkeeper in the PL. Unfortunately for him it seems to be a bit more under the microscope, but unlike previous years he now handles these mistakes maturely & bounces back rather quickly from them. Many tipped Pickford to be one of the first (and rightly so) out the door if EFC were to go down, even after signing fresh terms before seasons end, but EFC stayed up & now have their number one tied down until 2027.
The other player, & it could easily change ahead of potential signings, but I am going to go for one of the new men in Arnaut Danjuma. Danjuma signs on a season long loan after all the mishap in Jan (won’t go over that again) it’s odd to have a key figure down as a loan signing, however the attack is still struggling through lack of quality up there, so to get an experienced option of quality in could be a huge boost to the team. Danjuma is able to play across the frontline, but realistically is better suited to a role off the left or just behind a ‘number 9’ figure upfront. I say key figure, as I think the quality he potentially has to give is better than anything we really have around the striker, an upgrade on Demarai Gray whilst having an eye for goal. To get him in on a loan in a tight summer budget could prove to be really good business, here’s to hoping Danjuma can show what had big teams sniffing round him in the summer last year after a standout campaign for Villarreal.
It’s a big season for…
Again I’m going for 2 players (sorry)
First is going to be Nathan Patterson, who’s had a difficult opening to his EFC career in terms of injuries & actually getting minutes on the pitch. So for me it feels like a big season for him, now in to his second *full* season at Goodison park, the starting role should be his for at least the opening weeks as Seamus Coleman recovers from the knee injury which saw him miss the last remaining games of 22/23. It’s up to Patterson himself to grab this opportunity with both hands, he’s shown glimpses but overall hasn’t stood out too much & the blues have relied back on 34yr old Coleman at every opportunity. Patterson, despite joining in Jan 2022 has only actually made 19 PL appearances, through as mentioned before injury’s & just lack of selection. 22 in October, it’s time for him to try build on the 18 months he’s had here and really try to push on now.
Secondly I’m going for big summer 22/23 signing, Amadou Onana. Onana had an interesting first season, starting the season strongly but finding himself in & out the team especially under Sean Dyche. Onana shown glimpses about the big potential he seemingly has in the future, but struggled to keep that going consistently, which is fine as he’s a 21 year old lad playing his first full season as a regular ‘big player’. Now he’s had his bedding in season, knowing what English football is all about, Onana should hopefully be raring to go to prove his point as to why so many expect what they expect from him. There was a lot of talk start of the window about potentially Onana going already, however that looks to have died down now and as of writing looks likely he will be here for the season. So I fully expect him to get his head down & really make that central midfield spot his own, giving Dyche no question as to why he should be the main man.
Young player hoping to make an impact?
It’s a pretty boring straight forward answer this one, I’ve gone for Jarrad Branthwaite. Back from a successful loan at PSV in the Eredivise, Branthwaite comes back to a poor group of players in the centre back department, and really should be hoping to make that spot his own given the current circumstances. Everton lost Mina & Coady in the summer, whilst obviously it being clear that the trio of Holgate, Godfrey & Keane aren’t good enough to play, so Branthwaite (given the chance) really has a free hit at making that spot his own. EFC may still look to add a centre back to their ranks before season end, but it’s down to Branthwaite himself to show he has what it takes to make an impact now. The hope is that the manager at least gives him a chance to showcase that instead of trying to hope the Michael Keane of old comes back out, which he helped mould at Burnley.
Transfer window, what still needs to happen coming in?
As of writing EFC have only added Ashley Young, Arnaut Danjuma & look to be set to complete the signing of young striker Youssef Chermiti from Sporting. EFC on top of this still have a lot of work to do, in my head I still have the EFC shopping list down as (ranked in joint first priority ST/RW)
- Striker – with experience to help lift the load/step in from DCL as he either recovers from Injury or is in fact injured & also take any unwanted pressures of Chermiti, as the 19yr old is only really beginning his first full senior year in men’s football if/when he joins.
- Right Winger – so for one EFC actually have a player out on the right hand side who’s comfortable there, and also for balance. It also makes the squad options more difficult, therefore stronger, as it allows Alex Iwobi to come back inside
- CB – EFC have lost a key figure in Mina this summer, although he was hardly available every week, it’s a huge loss quality wise when he did play. Evidence is clear near the end of the season of what a CB of real quality can add to this EFC side, so EFC ideally need to get one in, which also takes load of Branthwaite in case he does have struggles.
- CM – a CM to replicate what Gana does for EFC, as if he’s out the team they do not have a like for like replacement as such.
Hard to predict as the window is still open, but gut feeling if EFC *should* be fine under the stewardship of Sean Dyche this season, a season of ups & down, but steadiness to hopefully ensure a 40+ points finish, around 13th-15th place. Bit of consistency as EFC grind out results & keep themselves in games giving themselves the best chance. I give ourselves a good chance, purely because I have confidence in manager to have us finishing above at least 3 in the league, the quality difference between top & bottom half this season seems as big as I can remember, with a good chunk of the bottom half clubs all going through their own sort of issues. Hopefully EFC stability factor in Dyche can take advantage of that & get themselves safe nice & early!