Top four hopefuls – Moyes’ smarts will see Everton surge
David Moyes has been Everton boss for over eight years now, and in that time the Scot has gradually built and re-built the Toffees into regular European contenders using a minimum of funds and a maximum of nous.
His side are 8/1 to qualify for next season’s Champions League and with a bit more luck, would be an excellent outside bet to imnprove on last year’s eighth-place finish.
Tim Howard is a fine shot-stopper with excellent distribution. The occasional mistake aside, he has established a trust with the men in front following three successful seasons and should be sound between the sticks once more. A top six spot, at 15/8, beckons.
Everton conceded 49 league goals last term but the majority (32) came in the first 19 games when Phil Jagielka was injured. With Joseph Yobo, Sylvain Distin and Johnny Heitinga also available at centre-back the Goodison Park club’s defence looks very impresive.
Leighton Baines, Tony Hibbert and youngster Seamus Coleman are good options in the full-back areas and, if required, captain Phil Neville could revert to his early-career role in that position.
In Mikel Arteta, Everton possess a playmaker of supreme ability who was sorely missed when injured last year.
Everton collected 39 of their 61 points after January 1st, when Arteta had returned, and if they repeat that 19-game run for a whole season would grab 78 points and a certain top four spot.
With Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Steven Pienaar, Leon Osman and Tim Cahill offering a blend of talents, the Merseyside club’s midfield is abundant with the kind of quality needed to win the Carling Cup, a 16/1 possibility.
Jack Rodwell is one of this country’s best young players, while Marouane Fellaini, who brings skill to the holding midfielder role, is seriously under-rated in the media.
Louis Saha was Everton’s top scorer with 13 league goals last season and Moyes seems to have got the silky striker to forget his former injury woes. At 40/1 he could be a fine shout for the Premier League Golden Boot.
Plumping for Jermaine Beckford reinforces a policy of promoting players from the lower leagues and if the ex-Leeds United man is half as successful as Cahill or Jagielka, he will be an inspired free transfer.
Yakubu will always get goals, while Victor Anichebe, James Vaughan and newboy Joao Silva are all promising young forwards sure to improve.
With strength in depth and mix of youth and experience, Everton have a real chance grabbing that Champions League spot – as they did in 2005. After final heartache in 2009, an FA Cup triumph (20/1) is a definite possibility.