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Everton season preview - predictions, fixtures, summer signings, starting XI

Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Everton ahead of the start of the 2020-21 Premier League season.

The upcoming Premier League season will be greeted with optimism by most Everton fans following a summer which has seen some high-profile signings.

Add to that the presence of manager Carlo Ancelotti and the Toffees will certainly be expecting to improve on last season's 12th-placed finish.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at the blue half of Merseyside ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.



How did they fare last season?

Everton players celebrate Richarlison's goal against Sheffield United on July 20, 2020© Reuters

Underwhelmingly on the whole, but with cause for optimism going forward.

Everton once again began the campaign with designs of challenging for the top six - perhaps even the top four - after a summer of big spending.

A poor pre-season in which they won just one of seven matches offered an insight of what was to come, though; the Toffees lost nine of their opening 15 games, with a 5-2 defeat at Merseyside rivals Liverpool leaving them in the relegation zone on December 4 and spelling the end for manager Marco Silva.

Duncan Ferguson's appointment as interim boss brought about an immediate improvement which Carlo Ancelotti continued after Everton pulled off a coup by bringing in the three-time Champions League-winning manager.

Everton lost just one of their next 11 games - away to Manchester City - and, while they then won only three of their final 12 games of the campaign, they still showed plenty of signs of improvement compared to their early-season form.

A 12th-placed finish was disappointing compared to their pre-season expectations, but in the end there was no threat of relegation, which looked like it may be the case under Silva.

The low point of the campaign was undoubtedly their 5-2 defeat at Anfield to leave them in the bottom three, and a 1-0 loss to a very youthful Liverpool side in the FA Cup third round was also tough to take, while the high point was arguably their victory over Chelsea in the first game after Silva was sacked.



Biggest improvement needed

Greater consistency.

Everton did not win three Premier League games in a row at any stage throughout last season and only registered back-to-back victories on three separate occasions.

Sacking Silva did appear to help with that - all of those back-to-back wins came after he left and they lost only six games after his departure compared to nine before - but even under Ancelotti they dropped points too regularly.



Manager: Carlo Ancelotti

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti pictured on July 9, 2020© Reuters

The Premier League boasts plenty of world-class managers including the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho, but Carlo Ancelotti's career achievements are right up there with the best.

The Italian is one of only three men to have won the Champions League three times as a manager, while he has also lifted four league titles in four different countries.

Previously in charge of some of the world's biggest clubs including Real Madrid, Chelsea, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, Ancelotti faces a different challenge at Everton as he tries to turn them into a team that can challenge for the top four.



Key player: Richarlison

Richarlison celebrates scoring for Everton on February 8, 2020© Reuters

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is enjoying a growing importance to the Everton team, while new signing James Rodriguez is immediately the star attraction, but Richarlison remains their main man going forward.

The Brazilian has been the Toffees' joint-top scorer in both of their last two seasons, netting 13 times in the Premier League last term and 15 in all competitions.

Still only 23 years old, Richarlison committed his future to Everton in December by signing a new five-year contract and Ancelotti will no doubt look to build his team around him.



Summer transfer business

James Rodriguez signs for Everton in September 2020© Everton FC

In
Niels Nkounkou (£243,000, Marseille B)
Allan (£22.5m, Napoli)
James Rodriguez (free, Real Madrid)
Abdoulaye Doucoure (£19.9m, Watford)
Ben Godfrey (£24.8m, Norwich City)
Robin Olsen (loan, Roma)

Out
Morgan Schneiderlin (£2m, Nice)
Maarten Stekelenburg (free, Ajax)
Cuco Martina (released)
Luke Garbutt (free, Blackpool)
Oumar Niasse (released)
Kieran Dowell (£2m, Norwich City)
Leighton Baines (retired)
Morgan Feeney (free, Sunderland)
Nathangelo Markelo (loan, Twente)
Lewis Gibson (loan, Reading)
Dennis Adeniran (loan, Wycombe Wanderers)
Moise Kean (loan, Paris Saint-Germain)
Theo Walcott (loan, Southampton)
Sandro Ramirez (free, Huesca)
Callum Connolly (loan, Fleetwood Town)

Everton total spent to date: £67.4m
Everton total received to date: £4m

Everton net transfer balance: -£63.4m




Squad

1. Jordan Pickford (GK)
2. Mason Holgate (DF)
5. Michael Keane (DF)
6. Allan (MF)
7. Richarlison (FW)
8. Fabian Delph (MF)
9. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (FW)
10. Gylfi Sigurdsson (MF)
11. Theo Walcott (FW)
12. Lucas Digne (DF)
13. Yerry Mina (DF)
14. Cenk Tosun (FW)
16. Abdoulaye Doucoure (MF)
17. Alex Iwobi (FW)
19. James Rodriguez (MF)
20. Bernard (FW)
21. Andre Gomes (MF)
23. Seamus Coleman (DF)
25. Jean-Philippe Gbamin (MF)
26. Tom Davies (MF)
27. Moise Kean (FW)
31. Joao Virginia (GK)
32. Jarrad Branthwaite (DF)
34. Beni Baningime (MF)
42. Anthony Gordon (FW)
43. Jonjoe Kenny (DF)
49. Jonas Lossl (GK)
- Niels Nkounkou
- Muhamed Besic
- Sandro Ramirez
- Yannick Bolasie



Possible starting XI

EVEXI



Fixture list

Everton's 2020-21 season begins with a trip to North London to face Tottenham Hotspur, before welcoming newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion to Goodison Park for their first home game of the campaign.

The Merseyside derby at home to Liverpool stands out in their fifth match as they look to end a long winless record against their near neighbours, with the return fixture against the champions coming in February.

It promises to be a difficult festive period - every match in December comes against a team that finished above them last season, including three home games in a row which see them welcome Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City to Merseyside.

Man City are also the opponents on the final day as Everton conclude their campaign with a trip to the Etihad Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur players celebrate an Everton own goal on July 6, 2020© Reuters

SEPTEMBER

12: Tottenham Hotspur (a)

19: West Brom (h)

26: Crystal Palace (a)

OCTOBER

3: Brighton (h)

17: Liverpool (h)

24: Southampton (a)

31: Newcastle United (a)

NOVEMBER

7: Manchester United (h)

21: Fulham (a)

28: Leeds United (h)

Everton forward Richarlison celebrates with teammates after scoring against Leicester on July 1, 2020© Reuters

DECEMBER

5: Burnley (a)

12: Chelsea (h)

15: Leicester City (a)

19: Arsenal (h)

26: Sheffield United (a)

28: Manchester City (h)

JANUARY

2: West Ham (h)

12: Wolves (a)

16: Aston Villa (a)

26: Leicester City (h)

30: Newcastle United (h)

Liverpool's Joe Gomez in action with Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the FA Cup on January 5, 2020© Reuters

FEBRUARY

2: Leeds (a)

6: Manchester United (a)

13: Fulham (h)

20: Liverpool (a)

27: Southampton (h)

MARCH

6: Chelsea (a)

13: Burnley (h)

20: West Brom (a)

APRIL

3: Crystal Palace (h)

10: Brighton (a)

17: Tottenham (h)

24: Arsenal (a)

Everton's Theo Walcott celebrates scoring against Aston Villa on July 16, 2020© Reuters

MAY

1: Aston Villa (h)

8: West Ham (a)

11: Sheffield United (h)

15: Wolves (h)

23: Manchester City (a)



Prediction: 9th

Not all of Everton's recent transfer business has proven to be money well spent, but there is huge excitement surrounding the arrivals of Allan and especially James Rodriguez, whose signature is a major coup for the club.

Both are players Ancelotti knows very well, and for the veteran boss to be sculpting a team to fit his desired playing style can only be a good thing considering the success he has had in his career.

It would be a huge surprise if Everton did not improve on last season and the top six will be the aim, but the likes of Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers are further along in their progression than Everton and so the Toffees will do well to finish above them.


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Richarlison celebrates scoring for Everton on February 8, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38275683325186
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd382111673442974
3Liverpool38209968422669
4Chelsea381910958362267
5Leicester CityLeicester382061268501866
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham381981162471565
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs381881268452362
8Arsenal381871355391661
9Leeds UnitedLeeds38185156254859
10Everton38178134748-159
11Aston Villa38167155546955
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174662-1645
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38129173652-1645
14Crystal Palace38128184166-2544
15Southampton38127194768-2143
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914154046-641
17Burnley38109193355-2239
RFulham38513202753-2628
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38511223576-4126
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3872292063-4323

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