The second half of the title charge is well on its way, and we can unequivocally concur Everton is out of the title and top 4 race. The controversial appointment of the former Liverpool gaffer, Rafael Benitez, has turned Everton into a shadow of the formidable Ancelotti’s Toffees. However, we can ascribe injuries to star man Dominic Calvert Lewin (DCL) as the principal cause for their downturn. We present a piecewise analysis of Everton’s finish in the 2021/2022 English Premier League Season.
Where Did The Rain Start?
As of this writing, Everton is lingering above the relegation zone, just 8 points clear.
Everton started the season as they need to continue with three wins in four. However, the merry start came to a halt after they picked up a draw with United despite a not fully fit squad. It was then that the rain started beating Benitez’s boys. Successive defeats and losing players to injury spelled doom for the Toffees.
The final nail on the coffin was DCL’s quadriceps and toe injury which he sustained on the August 28th victory against Brighton. Richarlison sustained a knee injury shortly after due to Tarkowski’s wild tackle in the Burnley clash. If the injury wave could not worsen, it was the first wave. The rest of the games have been misery upon misery. But you can’t condemn the toffees to relegation just yet. TheThe young core of playmakers and potent strikers (and to get one match against their counterparts not postponed) are the lifeline Everton desperately needs.
The recent win against Arsenal and a draw with Chelsea despite 12 of their key players sidelined with injury breathed fresh life into the Toffees camp. If not due to increased Covid cases, maybe they would have ridden on the lucky wins and regained their spot as a European competitor.
We can pick up some players who stepped up to fill Calvert’s and Richarlison’s big boots despite the injuries. Demarai Gray, Andros Townsend, Abdoulaye Doucure, and Jordan Pickford are at the helm of the Everton ship. Gray, in particular, adds flair to the permanent underachievers and finds the target when he’s handed the chance. Doucure is the team’s workhorse while he leads in assists for the Toffees.
Another star performer, albeit inconsistent, is Richarlison. The pacy Brazilian doubles up as a winger and a striker now that his compatriot is injured. Recently he scored an offside brace but still got the goal to give him a confidence boost. The boat hasn’t yet capsized for Everton, but they need to reinvent their tactics come January 2022.
Everton is only nine points behind Manchester United, who sit in 7th place.
Rafa Benitez’s stay may be short-lived. The tactician’s hands-on approach does not resonate with the players. Although there is no outright rift in the camp, you can see it on the pitch. Misplaced passes, lack of fighting spirit, and failure to control games manifest what happens in the dressing room and the camp.
Come January, Everton plans to make transfers within Financial Fair Play rules and secure a striker to play second fiddle to DCL. With all of their remaining 2021 matches postponed, Everton have received the much-needed rest, and it will be a delight to see old faces of Richarlison, Yerry Mina, Tom Davies, and Andros Townsend back in camp.
“It’s been too long since this club won silverware, and it’d be incredible to be part of the next team to do that. That has to be the aim.” Gordon’s optimistic remarks show that there is some spirit left. However, Everton may part ways with Benitez to rekindle the European competition spot charge. However, Benitez’s track record paints a different picture. The Spaniard tends to spur teams to much-improved performance in the second half of fixtures. If you can recall Benitez’s stint with Extremadura, then you will have faith in the gaffer’s tactics. He speared Extremadura into Spain’s top-flight, albeit a poor first-leg display.
January signings, injury-free players, Covid free players, games in hand against inferior opponents, and a long rest period coupled with Benitez’s history are sure to improve the status of the Toffees. We foresee a decline in Unibet football odds by the end of the season. However, it may be too late before the unit clicks in and causes ripples in the English Premier League.
Everton odds to win the Premier League: +200000
The odds are long; therefore, you know they will get shorter as the season progresses. Everton finished 10th last season, and their fellow mid-table teams seem to be having the same losing problem, albeit inconsistently. Right now, it is a race with time to see if they can abate the relegation chances. However, come May, if the pandemic doesn’t significantly interfere with the fixtures, Everton will finish 13th place bordering Brighton and Brentford.
Everton will undoubtedly improve; however, their long Unibet football odds mean they won’t play in any European competition. A similar finish to last season is honestly the best they can achieve. That being said, the Toffees need to tie their laces and bang in goals to salvage the season.
Image from: unsplash.com