Saturday, 7 August 2010
It may only be pre-season but Everton's form so far has given all Toffees fans reasons to be optimistic.
The Blues have often been slow starters in the recent past, including last season's injury ravaged shocker. But David Moyes seems determined to shake off that tag this year.
The key I feel is team stability. A few new signings early in the summer gave the current players a lift but the fans always knew they needed to keep what they had before looking elsehwere. With the likes of Mikel Arteta and now even Steven Pienaar looking likely to stay Everton have a team that can compete at the top of the table.
Injuries could yet scupper their hopes, but the absence of energy sapping Europa League games could work in their favour this season.
Plus their performances this summer suggests Moyes will have more options than before.
For starters Jermaine Beckford's form suggests his rise up from League One to the Premier League could be a smooth one. Many Leeds fans I know hold reservations about Beckford's ability to cut it at the highest level, but one thing Moyes is brilliant at it getting the best out of hungry players keen to prove a point. Beckford, released by Chelsea as a youngster, definitely falls into that category.
In midfield Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's displays gives the fans hope that we they finally see the reasons why Moyes spent so much money on him last summer. To be fair to Billy he had played almost two years straight what with EURO 2008 and then the Russian summer season, so we were always going to see the best of him this year. He certianly holds 'Sheedy-esque' abilities in that left foot of his (and even his right foot if the Norwich game is anything to go by).He just needs to sustain his performance throughout the whole 90 minutes, something I feel he is slowly improving at.
A good start this year and I believe Everton truly can compete for the top four. City apart the spending elsewhere hasn't been great and the Toffees form in the second half of last season (when players were fit) showed they could compete - and indeed beat - the best.
A win over Wolfsburg today will only increase the feeling of optimism around Goodison, until all eyes move to Ewood Park for the big kick off on August 14th.