Highly impressive. Roberto Martinez’s trademark expansive style hasn’t been detrimental to an Everton side who have been beaten only once this season, and the loan capture of Romelu Lukaku has proved to be a masterstroke as he continues to score goals much like at West Brom last season.
Currently sitting just outside the top four, the Toffees will be dreaming of a Champions League spot this season and could very well achieve it despite being written off at the beginning at the start of the campaign.
Belgian powerhouse Romelu Lukaku was the stand out star during his loan spell at West Brom, and is replicating that form on Merseyside. He’s scored eight times already, including a memorable double in the derby against Liverpool, and could be the forward Everton need to pursue European qualification.
Many find it hard to believe a Chelsea side struggling for a top class striker let him leave, and he’s continuing to prove he’s got Premier League quality. He’s expected to return to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season but, if Everton qualify for the Champions League, he could be interested in making his switch to Goodison permanent.
One to Watch
Another loan capture made by Martinez, Gerard Deulofeu has come into his own in recent weeks and has shown himself to be a shrewd signing. Before his recent injury he was pressing to make the Everton starting XI after mainly appearing from the bench, and he has proved to be a deadly attacking threat with his blistering pace and outstanding skill.
He stood out against Stoke, scoring one and setting up another in their 4-0 victory, and also netted a late equaliser against Arsenal with a delightful finish. In a season when anyone can beat anyone, Deulofeu’s individual brilliance may just lead to some vital match winners for Martinez’s men.
Top of their Christmas list?
Everton may be happy to secure their three loan signings (the aforementioned Lukaku and Deulofeu, as well as City’s Gareth Barry) on permanent deals after the impact they have made.
Barry’s work screening the back four has been pivotal and compliments Martinez’s expansive style perfectly; his ability to sit and even drop in as an auxiliary centre half allows Everton to play to their strengths and get the ball out wide without having to worry about being outnumbered on the counter.
Everton have done very little wrong this season, and may just need some cover for Lukaku going forward as Nikica Jelavic is far from the form he showed when he first arrived.
The consistency of last season under David Moyes has been carried through and even improved upon by Martinez this year, and so it is probable Everton will be knocking around the top six.
Many would credit their loan signings with being the only reason they find themselves in the Europa League place at the moment, but Martinez’s starting team tends to be consistent and there is a wealth of experience amongst their ranks; unlike many, the manager knows his best team and they have adapted to the way he wants to play.
They may not have the quality to challenge the top four, but there is no reason why they can’t qualify for the Europa League.
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