Everton are value at 7/1 outsiders in a three-way divisional match bet against Tottenham and city rivals Liverpool, with David Moyes leaving behind a strong enough squad to improve on last season’s excellent campaign.
The new Manchester United boss bought well during his eleven seasons at Goodison Park and hands over a team capable of challenging for a Champions League place.
Everton’s mean defence leaked less goals than any other outside the top four last season – and three less than Champions United – on their way to a creditable sixth place Premier League finish.
United have been linked with influential midfielder Marouane Fellaini and made a bid for England left-back Leighton Baines, but Martinez can hardly complain having brought in striker Arouna Kone and centre-back Antolin Alcaraz from old club Wigan Athletic.
The big Belgian could be replaced by the diminutive figure of Wigan’s James McCarthy if recent reports are to be believed, while any advance on the £12 million bid rejected for Baines in July would release much needed funds for the Merseysiders.
At 19/20 Tottenham lead the market, and while the Lilywhite’s have strengthened this summer with new arrivals Paulinho and Roberto Soldado certain to step straight into the first eleven, the potential loss of Gareth Bale – and the protracted nature of his departure – could damage Andre Villas-Boas’ plans going into the new season.
Liverpool will expect further improvement this year after an erratic first season under Brendan Rodgers.
The Anfield club have players back from long-term injury and have added highly-rated young Spaniard Iago Aspas to the attack, but after missing out on top forward target Henrikh Mkhitaryan – and with the future of Luis Suarez yet to be resolved – they are a bit on the skinny side at 11/10.