Football News: Everton Season Review

 

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Everton Season Review
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Everton Season Review

This season was a huge leap forward for the Toffees under Ronald Koeman, more so than just stepping up to the top half of the table and qualifying for European competition would suggest. It was the way they pushed the top 6 throughout the season and put a clear gap between them and the rest of the Premier League. 15 points separated Everton in 7th and Southampton in 8th. That is a massive gap, no matter how you try to spin it and bodes well for next season.

Gone was the team that rolled over to have its tummy tickled by any team that went at them, now there was a real steel to the team and a defensive solidity. Maybe they tried too hard to stay solid defensively away from home, if there was anything to criticise from them last season. They certainly did not score enough in away games, 20 goals in 19 matches is poor by any team, but especially one that has pretensions of Champions League football. That will have to be addressed ahead of next season. However for a first season under Koeman, with new majority owner Farhad Moshiri injecting some much needed funds and Steve Walsh to direct spending, it was a great start to a new era.


Ronald Koeman

This was mainly an excellent season for Koeman, he turned round a struggling, underperforming team, and got them to play to the level expected of them, maybe even overperforming at times. Qualifying for the Europa League was a bonus, as was the emergence of young midfielder Tom Davies, plus the finishing position of 15 points ahead of 8th, with 7th pretty much cemented in as certain by January was a huge plus point for him. There were a few negatives.

There was his inability to deal with the circus surrounding Romelu Lukaku or to get him to break sweat in a major portion of games. The treatment of Ross Barkley was odd, to say the least, almost forcing him to go at the end of the season. There was also a tendency to tap up players via the media that has been a hallmark of Koeman's career in management. None of that is really a major problem though, Lukaku still scored a huge number of goals, Barkley still had one of the better seasons of his career and he led the team to European qualification.

Marks out of 10: 7.5


Joel Robles

Finally given a chance to get a run of games and prove he is worthy of being Everton's number one, Robles merely showed why he has been a number two for so long and it was little surprise that the Toffees moved to sign Jordan Pickford from Sunderland in the summer. While the bare stats suggests Robles did well, only conceding 23 goals in 22 games, keeping 10 clean sheets in the process, but that was down to good protection from the team in front of him.

Robles looked anything but a solid keeper, more of a dodgy keeper who made you nervous every time anything was hit in the direction of the goal. An overly large percentage of the goals he did concede were ones he should really have stopped.

Marks out of 10: 4


Maarten Stekelenburg

After spending last season in the Premier League with Southampton on loan, Everton moved to secure the veteran Dutch keeper on a permanent deal in the summer, immediately making him their number one. An injury saw him lose his place to Robles and he struggled to get it back afterwards.

Marks out of 10: 3


Ramiro Funes Mori

The Argentine defender was in and out of the team a fair bit last season, as he is clearly not Koeman's first choice centre back. However he very rarely let the team down when he played, up until a knee injury saw him miss the run in.

Marks out of 10: 5


Ashley Williams

After a prolonged chase in the transfer window last summer, the Welsh captain eventually joined from Swansea City to provide leadership and stability to the backline. It did take him a while to settle in, as the team as a whole took time to adapt to the way Koeman set them out defensively, and at times the whole backline did look exposed for pace. As the season went on, he did improve, as did the Toffees defence as a whole, and there were signs for optimism ahead of the new season.

Marks out of 10: 6.5


Phil Jagielka

Jagielka may well be the Everton captain, but he is finding it increasingly difficult to hold down a regular place in the first choice side. At 34 it seems his time is coming to an end, after he spent a large chunk of the season on the bench last time out. When he does play, he never lets the club down, but it is clear his legs have not got much more left in them.

Marks out of 10: 4.5


Mason Holgate

The youngster was on the fringes of the first team until the injury to Seamus Coleman gave him a run of games at right back at the end of the season. While not the most comfortable attacking, his defensive qualities were useful but it was clear his future is in the centre of defence.

Marks out of 10: 4


Matthew Pennington

Having come through the academy at Everton, the youngster was probably delighted to get his chance in the Merseyside Derby due to injuries, however he struggled badly and was taken off. He did get a couple more games in the Premier League before spending the rest of the season on the bench, but he never really looked entirely comfortable. It was little surprise he was sent out on loan for this season to Leeds United, he clearly needs more experience of regular first team football to be ready.

Marks out of 10: 2


Leighton Baines

Baines has been a great servant to Everton since he joined the club from Wigan Athletic ten years ago. He has been a source for so many chances and goals with his marauding runs down the left and good quality delivery from wide areas. However there are signs that he is beginning to slow down now and the chances are not being provided as often as they once were. Still a highly effective left back/left wing back, it is just that he has slipped below the high standards he once set.

Marks out of 10: 6


Bryan Oviedo

The Costa Rican left sided player has mainly been a back up to Baines since signing for Everton, a back up that has shown himself to be serious competition for the left back berth, if only he could have stayed fit consistently. Unfortunately injuries plagued him constantly and, despite a handful of appearances in the first half of the season, he moved to join former manager David Moyes at Sunderland in January.

Marks out of 10: 2


Seamus Coleman

Coleman has turned out to be one of Everton's best ever signings, not just because he has matured into a top class attacking fullback, but because he cost (comparatively speaking) peanuts from Sligo Rovers. Even with an injury making him sit out the first 3 games and a broken leg ruling him out of the end of the season, Coleman still picked up 4 goals and 4 assists. In recent years Coleman has picked up the attacking slack left by Baines, becoming the focal point of a large portion of the Toffees' attacking play. They look a much weaker side in the final third without him.

Marks out of 10: 7.5


Jonjoe Kenny

A young right back who made one first team appearance in the Premier League as a sub, but failed to do enough to impress Koeman into believing he was ready to be Coleman's back up for the new season.

Marks out of 10: 2


Morgan Schneiderlin

After a difficult period at Manchester United, the former Southampton player joined Everton in the January transfer window and instantly made a huge impact on the way they played. From barely being able to get a look in at the Red Devils, the French midfielder was suddenly the main cog in the team and he repaid Koeman's faith with some excellent performances.

Marks out of 10: 7


Gareth Barry

An Everton mainstay since joining from Manchester City, despite his advancing years, Barry started the season as a regular once again. However, the arrival of Schneiderlin in January saw his time on the pitch more restricted, as he was no longer required to play the full 90 minutes each week. That has given the former England international a new lease of life, as it was clear he was struggling to keep up with the pace over a full match.

Marks out of 10: 5


James McCarthy

His season is probably better remembered for the fall out from the dispute between Koeman and Republic of Ireland management duo Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane, as injuries blighted his season, particularly after being picked for international duty while injured. Unfortunately for McCarthy, the Everton team have just grown past him and improved to the point where he is simply not good enough to hold down a first team spot on a regular basis, even when fit. That he aggravated the situation by choosing to represent his country against his club's wishes just made matters worse.

Marks out of 10: -4


Tom Cleverley

Cleverley was mainly starting on the bench, often staying there for the full duration, as the early part of the season saw him as no more than a back up option for Koeman. That lack of playing time saw him head off to Watford on loan in the January transfer window, with the move made permanent in the summer.

Marks out of 10: 1


Idrissa Gueye

I have seen Gueye called a poor man's N'Golo Kante a few times, when he was at Aston Villa, and it is a comparison that can easily be understood. The very fact he can even stand comparison with Kante tells you a lot about just how good he has been for both the Villans and then Everton after joining them in the summer. His defensive workrate is outstanding but, like Kante, his creativity and goalscoring are not why you have them in the team. Overall though, Gueye has been excellent since arriving in English football.

Marks out of 10: 8.5


Darron Gibson

One EFL Cup appearance and some more injuries were Gibson's input into Everton's season, before a January move to Sunderland. Even when fit he was unable to make the bench in the Premier League.

Marks out of 10: -2


Tom Davies

The breakout young star of last season, who stepped out into the Premier League spotlight like he had been there for years. Davies broke up attacks, created attacks, supported attacks and got on the end of a few attacks as well, becoming a real beacon of hope for Everton fans looking to see the team step up next season. If he can improve on the excellent showing of his first season, then the fans have every reason to be hopeful.

Marks out of 10: 9


Ross Barkley

While the Everton academy graduate has decent stats, 6 goals and 9 assists last season, it was not what you might call a vintage season, with the player in dispute with the club over a new contract. Publicly criticised on a number of occasions by his manager, Barkley put in some mixed performances, sometimes providing a bit of quality but sometimes he was anonymous, or worse a liability in the derby matches. There were many signs of a frustrated player in need of a move.

Marks out of 10: 4.5


Yannick Bolasie

Joined in the summer from Crystal Palace to provide some guile and pace down the flanks. Bolasie was unable to really show what he could do before he was struck down by an ACL injury at the start of December which ended his season then. Always inconsistent, but there were some promising signs that he could make a real difference before the injury.

Marks out of 10: 3.5


Ademola Lookman

After arriving from Charlton Athletic in League One in the January transfer window, the young attacker made a big enough impression to be handed 3 starts and a handful of sub appearances. Always looked busy and usually looked a genuine threat, with pace and power.

Marks out of 10: 6


Kevin Mirallas

Mirallas must be one of the most frustrating players to manage in the world. The Belgian forward clearly has a lot of talent, at times he can be exciting and incisive in his play. However, most of the time he just runs around a lot achieving little but turning the ball over or throwing himself into reckless challenges. There is so much more in his locker, but no one has been able to find a way to get him to produce it consistently yet. At 29, age is against Mirallas as well.

Marks out of 10: 3.5


Gerard Deulofeu

If we are talking about frustrating, talented but inconsistent players, then Deulofeu must be up there as one of the most obvious examples. He has incredible amounts of skill but absolutely no football brain and so his skills go to waste. The big surprise about him going out on loan in January, after just 4 starts, was that it was AC Milan that took him. Even more surprising was Barcelona's decision to activate their buyback clause and take him back to the Catalan giants in the summer.

Marks out of 10: 1


Aaron Lennon

Personal troubles tore apart his season.

Marks out of 10: 2


Dominic Calvert-Lewin

A young forward signed from Sheffield United, mainly with an eye to the future, but he did manage to make a handful of starts and came off the bench a few times too. Never able to get a run of games to truly show what he could do, but did look promising.

Marks out of 10: 5


Romelu Lukaku

When he is in the mood to be bothered, Lukaku scores goals for fun, 25 in 37 Premier League games last season to be precise. The problem comes when he is not in the mood. Then he will just stroll around the pitch, never breaking sweat and generally looking like a man who wants to be anywhere else but on the pitch. Then his heavy (though heavy is probably an understatement of just how far the ball can bounce off him) first touch can be a real problem, as he will not even make the effort to chase after it.

A player scoring 26 league goals should be getting rated a 9, at least, but there have been far too many matches that have passed him by, while he stands hands on hips on the halfway line. If he could drop the sulks, put in effort every week, then his sale to Manchester United after the season might seem like a bargain. If that kind of obscene amount of money could ever be seen as a bargain!

Marks out of 10: 7.5


Enner Valencia

Valencia spent the season on loan from West Ham United but it was a mixed spell, sometimes he came on from the bench and turned a game, other times he was totally ineffective. If he had scored more goals than the 3 he managed, he might well have done enough to stay in English football. As it was he is now in Mexico with Tigres.

Marks out of 10: 4.5


Arouna Kone

The Ivorian has suffered with a succession of injuries, but this last season he struggled to get in the squad even when fit. His entire contribution was 9 substitute appearances in the entire season, though he did manage to grab two of the goals in a 4-0 win over Yeovil Town in the EFL Cup 2nd round. It was little surprised he was released at the end of the season.

Marks out of 10: 1.5

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