Everton's impressive deadline-day acquisitions has lifted the expectations for this season and turned them from possible top ten finishers to possible champions league hopefulls.
Three games into the new season and Everton have recorded three successive draws, while keeping two clean sheets. For a club who have Champions League ambitions their early season-form suggests a fight for a Europa League spot is more realistic. That is however, until three deadline-day signings arrived.
Everton sealed a trio of signings on deadline-day which consists of Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku on season-long loan deals and James McCarthy, who signed for £13M form Wigan Athletic .
Along with Arouna Kone, Antolin Alcarez who arrived from Wigan Athletic with their new manager Roberto Martinez, they also brought in Joel Robles from Atletico Madrid as cover for Evertons number one shot stopper Tim Howard and the promising Spanish forward Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona.
With Marouane Fellaini leaving for Manchester United, Gareth Barry will fill the void left by the Belgian. Barry is a experienced Premier League campaigner and will bring experiece and calmness to a side who will adapt more "tika taka" style approach to their football, with the emphasis on short passing and movement.
Along side Steven Pienaar, Leon Osman, Kevin Mirallas and promising young attacking midfielder Ross Barkley, the Toffees possess a strong midfield which can will cause problems any defence in the Premier League.
Alongside them will be Everton;s new £13million midfielder James McCarthy, who flourished under Roberto Martinez at Wigan Athletic and was one of the stand out performers in last season's FA Cup final.
His pace and ability to beat defenders one-on-one makes him a prize asset to the Everton set up and will undoubtedly grow further into a fine footballer for Everton and Scotland.
Romelo Lukaku scored 17 goals in 35 appearances while on loan for West Bromwich Albion last season and it appeared that the he might return to The Hawthorns. But Everton made a more attractive offer for the player and Steve Clarke missed out on a promising forward who showed what he can do last season while at The Hawthorns.
Lukaku will give Everton the edge they have been missing in the last three games, a pure, natural goalscorer.
Nikica Jelavic has has been in bad form, and his last goal was against Manchester City in their 2-0 vicory at Goodison Park last season, while Kone is still finding his feet at Everton.
Lukaku can hold up the ball, his big frame makes it hard for defenders to get the ball away from him and he is very good in the air. And considering his size he has tremendous pace to match that power.Comparisons with Didier Drogba definitely make sense.
In Lukaku Everton have a striker that can bag them 15 to 25 goals this season if given the opportunity to him.
Here is a possible Everton Starting Line Up:
GK- Tim Howard
RB- Seamus Coleman
LB- Leighton Baines
CB- Sylvian Distin/ Phill Jagielka
CM- Gareth Barry/ Leon Osman/Ross Barkley
RM- Kevin Mirralas or James McCarthy
LM- Stevn Pienaar
ST- Romelu Lukaku
Everton Possess a strong midfield with the energy and experience to compete for a Champions League spot, alongside a solid defence that have already kept two clean sheets and Lukaku in attack.
Under Roberto Martinez, " a tactical genius" according to James McCarthy, they certainly have what it takes to compete for a top four finish.
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