What an interesting club are Everton. Ever the romantic, they have replaced 20-goal-a-season Lukaku with Rooney. They have shored up a defence, which ultimately didn’t need that much shoring. And they’ve resigned Wayne Rooney. Yes, we said it twice. We’re still not convinced.
Manager: Ronald Koeman
Squad: Pickford; Baines, Keane, Jagielka, Coleman; Barry, Gueye; Mirallas, Klaasen, Bolasie; Rooney
Well, it used to be attack. Can’t say that anymore. However, the signing of Michael Keane from Burnley, a player who many thought would end up at a Champions League club, is a win for an Everton side who’s signings have otherwise been laughable. Anyone for last season’s wooden spoon-winning goalkeeper? Everton will pay good money.
This year? Attack. Let’s talk stats. Last season, Everton’s two top goalscorers in the Premier League were Romelu Lukaku (25) and Ross Barkley (5). Ignore the fact that their second highest goalscorer only got five, and instead focus on this – Lukaku has already left, and Barkley seems to be following soon (though nobody really wants him…). Where are those 30 goals a year going to come from? Wait for it…
Wayne Rooney? Really? REALLY?? Its a romantic tale, Rooney returning to his boyhood club to challenge for the golden boot and lead Everton’s charge for the Champions League places (which is where they should be aiming by now). But we just can’t see it happening. Rooney is too much of a downgrade Lukaku, and besides – most of Everton’s goals rely on quick, energetic play and breakaways, but we can’t see Rooney doing that. In short, they should be challenging for the top four, but don’t be surprised if they end up struggling for the top ten.
Everton need a change to their style of play. We can’t imagine a manager with the nous of Koeman actually believing that Rooney could fill the shoes of Lukaku, so either there’s a plan B, or a dramatic shift in Everton’s style. Perhaps even another striker on the Koeman’s wish list…
It’s disappointing to say, but we expect Everton will really struggle to nail down a top ten position this year. With the teams around them improving in smarter (non-sentimental) ways (looking at you, Bournemouth and West Ham), don’t be surprised if the Toffees can’t match it with the best this year.
Speaking of matching it with the best, how was this performance against Manchester City last year?