Everton impress with canny blend
Published: 08.10.12 / Written by: David Gold
Everton continue to show up many of their wealthier rivals with a truly magnificent start to the season.
They have crushed Swansea, outplayed Manchester United and embarrassed Aston Villa. In between times they have lost to West Brom and been unfortunate not to beat Newcastle. But there is little doubt that Everton mean business this year. This is the first time for many a season that they have actually started a season well.
In the second half of campaigns, Everton have shown themselves to be as good as most in the league, displaying Champions League qualifying form in the second half of campaigns. If they can keep up their current form all season then they have a realistic chance of pushing for a top four place this time around.
It all shows too the dividends that can pay by keeping faith and investing in prudent housekeeping rather than reckless spending and dreaming. Everton have remained realistic, whilst ambitious too. This summer, they sold Jack Rodwell to Manchester City and were told by Roberto Mancini that the player now joined a team who played to win.
Five games into the season, and it is clear who is doing a better job. Moyes is embarrassing Mancini by showing what can be done on meagre resources. With the money received from City, Everton have bought Kevin Mirallas and resigned Steven Pienaar. Inspired as usual, they also now have Nikica Jelavic, a regular goalscorer.
Ever astute, Moyes has created a team with a ruthless blend of quality. With the likes of Phil Jagielka and Marouane Fellaini, they are fiercely committed and aggressive, as well as physical. But not overly so, and when they have the ball Everton play some of the best football in the league. Players like Leighton Baines, the underrated Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar are capable of superb team play and they have created chances aplenty for Jelavic, Victor Anichebe and Kevin Mirallas this season. And suddenly Everton have strikers who can score. For so long they have been a team good in the first two thirds of the field, but profligate in the third. Now they are effective all over the pitch.
It all makes for a very promising season for Everton. The question will be can they keep it up? Fellaini, Baines and Pienaar are all on top of their form right now. Teams have periods when their best players are not at the best form they can produce. When that happens, there are two keys. One is to find other players to step up and add something extra. The other is getting a bit of luck. Everton have much still to do, but there are so many encouraging signs from the blue side of Merseyside right now.