The second round stage of the Capital One Cup – at which point Premier League clubs not involved in Europe join in – is just around the corner, so now may be an ideal time to take a nice price about a top-flight lesser light who have the credentials to go deep in the competition – 16/1 Everton look to be just that team.
The Toffees’ recent record in the cup of many sponsors is not a happy one, with five years passing since they’ve lasted past three knockout games.
Nonetheless, new boss Roberto Martinez posted evidence of his ability to counsel a side through the demands of knockout competition last season when his Wigan team shocked the nation by beating Manchester City in the FA Cup final.
The Latics were a side that had been struggling to keep their heads above water for several seasons in the Premier League, while suffering manfully with having their better players sold most summers.
Now firmly ensconced at Goodison Park he has inherited a top-six side that have lost only Phil Neville and Marouane Fellaini from the well-oiled machine of last season.
Having added the extra goal-scoring expertise of Arouna Kone to the mix, as well as a new ball-retention based game which should ensure that they have more control of matches this term, Martinez’s squad are in good nick.
The Toffees were tough to beat in 2012/13 under David Moyes, with only the Manchester clubs losing less games and this obstinacy will stand them in good stead if Martinez can coax it out in the knockout competitions.
Goodison Park in particular was a Premier League Alcatraz if you were trying to escape with three points, yielding just one home defeat in 2012/13 to making them the division’s least-defeated hosts.
With Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham all beaten visitors last term, Everton will be confident of giving any cup adversary a run for their money in front of their own support.
It’ll take a committed side to beat them away from their own turf too after they narrowly missed out on victory against Norwich (who had lost just four home league games last season) on the season’s opening day.
Everton are 6/5 to move into the third round with victory over Fulham.