Saturday, August 14, 2010

Europa League Hopefuls (Everton)

Another club with a great manager in David Moyes. It is really amazing what Moyes has built at Everton, similar to Arsene Wenger or Alex Ferguson on a smaller scale. And to be honest, his club has not given him a great deal of support. There has been some money spent, but for me, Everton are a real sleeping giant in England. They may not be capable of Manchester City or Real Madrid level spending, but the squad should certainly be deeper than it is. This lack of depth places a definite ceiling on the club's potential.

The top 14 players at Goodison Park can compete with any team in the world, but winning a Champion's League spot over the 38 game league season is a test of an entire 25 man (plus youngsters) squad. When the inevitable injuries, suspensions, and fixture pile-ups arrive, can Everton cope with the demands? I can't see it. At some point in the season, they will wobble. Last season, it was a slow start. This wobble, which often coincides with an injury to Mikel Arteta (there is no Landon Donovan to replace him this time), will cost them a Champion's League spot, and might keep them out of the Europa League, depending on who wins the domestic cups.

If everyone stays healthy, and I mean every single player in the squad, for the entire season, Everton may even put a scare into the clubs fighting for a top 4 spot. But everything would have to break perfectly for that to happen. I would guess they will finish seventh or eighth.

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