Last season: 7th
FA Cup: Fifth round
Carling Cup: Third round
Opening three fixtures: Tottenham (a)*, QPR (h), Blackburn (a)
Transfers in: Eric Dier (Sporting, loan)
Transfers out: James Vaughan (Norwich, undisclosed); Iain Turner (Preston, free); Kieran Agard, Hope Akpan (released)
Key man: Tim Cahill
Title odds: 250/1
A title challenge is well beyond Everton in their current state. The lack of investment in the squad in recent years has seen the top six move away from the Toffees and Everton simply cannot compete. Until a new investor is found, they will have to make do with top-half mediocrity.
Finishing in top four odds: 14/1
Reaching the top four looks very unlikely for this current Everton squad. Injury-prone striker Louis Saha has the ability to lead any front line in the Premier League, but Everton will be lucky to get 20 matches out of him. The form of Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta will once again be pivotal in their season but a strong start can install the confidence to launch a real challenge on the top six.
Odds for relegation: 28/1
Everton are notoriously slow starters – last season it took them until October to get their first three points on the board – and another sloppy opening phase to this campaign could set early alarm bells ringing at Goodison Park. Although relegation is surely impossible, a quote of 28/1 for the Blues to face the drop is probably fair.
To finish above Aston Villa: 13/20
Everton and Aston Villa are considered by many to be the ‘best of the rest’ in the Premier League and this season will be no different. The loss of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing for Aston Villa should give Everton the edge in the head-to-head bet. However, their odds of 13/20 are plenty short enough, with Villa available at 11/10.
Everton will once again rely on their team spirit and David Moyes’ ability to get the best out of each and every player. Saha will be a key figure, while the form of Arteta will need to improve on last season if the Toffees are to stand any chance of a top-six finish.
The club have been quieter than ever in the transfer window so far this summer and the obvious lack of investment may finally catch up with David Moyes’ threadbare squad this season. Despite finishing last term in a comfortable seventh position, the likes of Stoke and Sunderland have strengthened well over the summer months and Everton’s top-eight place could well be under threat.
Having said that, I’m tipping them to finish safely in the top half and an injury free campaign could see them sneak into a Europa League place.
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*match postponed due to London riots