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Everton poised to make top six push

Everton v West Ham United, Britain - 6 Jan 2015

Following a tough 2014-15 season, Everton entered the current campaign in search of cohesiveness and stability.  The Merseyside club sputtered for much of the previous season and winded up finishing in the bottom half of the table. While some predicted that they would have a similar finish in this year’s standings, Everton are showing that they are in fact an improved side.

Although manager Roberto Martinez didn’t make a gigantic summer signing during the transfer window, he did make a few shrewd purchases to make his team more competitive.  Midfielder Gerard Deulofeu has most likely been the marquee signing of the season as of right now.  The former Barcelona player (who was previously on loan with Everton two seasons ago) has been outstanding over his last handful of matches with the club.

While the Spaniard certainly needs to cut out diving from his game, Deulofeu has recorded four assists and one goal over his last five Premier League games.  The winger was particularly good on Sunday against Sunderland, as he netted his first goal of the season and added an assist as well.

Ramiro Funes Mori, who is now filling in for the injured Phil Jagielka, has also been a welcome addition to the team.  The partnership of Jagielka and John Stones was supposed to be formidable pair in central defense. However, it does not appear that Funes Mori is out of place in this starting XI (while it is admittedly still early in his Everton career).

Everton began the season winning only three out of their first 10 Premier League matches; however, the Toffees have endured a brutal schedule during this stretch.  Out of their first 10 league games, Everton have faced every club in the top eight from a season ago.  Even though the Merseyside club did not come out of the gate firing on all cylinders, they didn’t particularly need to.  With the extremely tough part of their schedule to begin the campaign, all Everton needed to do was tread water and that’s exactly what they did.

Following a hard-fought 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on October 24th, Everton bounced back with a 6-2 trouncing of Sunderland. Though the Black Cats are not exactly a very formidable side at the moment, the victory for Everton was crucial and should help see them get on track heading into a pretty favorable series of matches over the next two months.  The Toffees next eight Premier League opponents are: West Ham, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Norwich City, Leicester City, Newcastle, and Stoke City.

Although the club’s defense may need some adjustments (including perhaps a change at the goalkeeper position), Everton clearly have the necessary fire power in this team to succeed.  The young trio of Romelu Lukaku (22), Ross Barkley (21) and Deulofeu (21) are a decidedly daunting force up front.  In fact, the three aforementioned players have accounted for 10 goals and 11 assists during league play by themselves.

With Everton currently sitting in ninth place in the table, and with the upcoming fixture list looking the way it does, Toffee fans could see their club climb near the top four heading into the New Year.

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