Five Star Everton Set Early Top Four Aspirations

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Everton have started the 2020/21 season in emphatic form. The Toffees have racked up five straight wins in all competitions, their new signings are bedding in nicely and Carlo Ancelotti is making his mark on the team.

On Saturday afternoon, Everton went top of the Premier League after their third league win in a row, beating Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park. It was the first time in 26 years Everton have won their first three Premier League games.

Although Leicester City displaced Ancelotti’s side on Sunday evening at the top of the table, Everton will be excited about their promising start.

In areas where they may have faltered in previous years, Everton appear to have filled the gaps in their squad, which could lead to a top-four finish for the first time since 2005.

Everton Heading for Top Four Finish

Exciting Squad at Everton

Everton’s marquee summer signing, James Rodriguez, has made a positive start at Everton. The 29-year-old is providing quality on the ball and the ability to unlock defences going forward.

James again proved to be a key figure in the win over Crystal Palace. The Colombian completed the match with an 89% pass accuracy and nine penalty box entries. He capped his excellent performance with a perfectly weighted pass for Seamus Coleman, who then set up Dominic Calvert-Lewin‘s opener.

Overall, Rodriguez has played 3.3 key passes per game and was the first player to created more than 10 chances in the 2020/21 Premier League season.

Although Rodriguez is providing additional creativity in the final third, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucour√© are Everton’s balance in defence.

Allan’s discipline in particular has been exceptional. His work allows the likes of James and Richarlison to get into dangerous positions. The Brazilian midfielder has made the most tackles for Everton in the Premier League, averaging four per game.¬†

Old Guard Improving

While the new signings have started brightly, some of Everton’s players from last season have also improved their game.

Seamus Coleman has returned to his threatening best in the opening fixtures. The 31-year-old continues to provide plenty of attacking width for Everton, whilst also disrupting the opposition in defence.

Against Palace, Coleman surged forward and pulled the ball back for Calvert-Lewin to score in the first half. But, in defence, he also kept the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze quiet all afternoon.

Richarlison, now in his second season with Everton, has also started confidently, having scored two and assisted one in his first two games.

The Brazilian’s work rate is also noticeable. In his first three games, Richarlison has attempted five dribbles per game, three more than any of his team-mates. He is also fouled four times per game on average and has had more shots on goal than any other Everton player (13).

The likes of Yerry Mina and Michael Keane are also improving and are clearly Ancelotti’s first-choice centre-back pairing. Similar to Coleman, the duo disrupted Zaha, Eze and Andros Townsend well against Crystal Palace. Both Mina and Keane also top the charts for Everton for interceptions and clearances in the Premier League this season.

Experienced Manager

Despite a poor end to the 2019/20 season, which saw the Toffees slip to a 12th place finish after one win in their last seven fixtures, Ancelotti has bonded his team well this season.

The experienced Italian has embedded quality players like James and Richarlison well, whilst also improving Calvert-Lewin, Coleman and Mina.

Ancelotti is a manager who has experienced it all and his balanced approach will benefit Everton as the season wears on. The Premier League is a competition he knows well after winning the title with Chelsea in 2010.

Although his 2009/10 Chelsea squad may have contained more quality, if Ancelotti can keep his first-team fit and injury-free for the season, Everton could be on course for their best season in 16 years.

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