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Season preview: Everton

Season preview: Everton
© PA Photos
Ahead of the new Premier League season, Sports Mole assesses Everton and their chances.

With the new Premier League season starting this weekend, Sports Mole looks at Everton and their chances for the campaign ahead.

In:

Arouna Kone (Wigan Athletic, £6m), Joel Robles (Atletico Madrid, Undisclosed), Antolin Alcaraz (Wigan Athletic, Free), Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona, Loan)

Out:

Jake Bidwell (Brentford, Undisclosed), Johan Hammer (Released), Thomas Hitzlsperger (Released), Sam Kelly (Released), Jan Mucha (Released), Phil Neville (Retired), Jasper Johns (Sheffield United, Free), Conor McAleny (Brentford, Free)

Last Season: Sixth

Manager: Roberto Martinez

Three key players:


Everton's Leighton Baines celebrates a goal against West Brom on January 30, 2013© PA Photos
Leighton Baines - The biggest question surrounding Leighton Baines is whether he will still be at the club come the end of the transfer window. The England international has been linked with following David Moyes to Manchester United this summer, but it would be a big boost to the Toffees if they can keep hold of him. Baines is everything you want in a modern full-back: dogged at the back while providing a dynamic attacking option. In what is expected to be a transitional campaign for the Blues, his experience could prove valuable.


Marouane Fellaini celebrates scoring Everton's fifth goal against Cheltenham in the FA Cup on January 7, 2013© PA Photos
Marouane Fellaini - Similar to Leighton Baines, there is a hint of uncertainty over the Moroccan midfielder's future at Goodison Park. Manchester United and Arsenal are both thought to be interested in Fellaini, though it is sure to take a serious wedge of money before Everton consider selling. Robust yet skilful, as useful in defence as in attack, he has been an integral part of the club's success in the last few seasons and they will be desperate for him to stay.


Arouna Kone, Aaron Hughes© PA Photos
Arouna Kone - Roberto Martinez went back to former club Wigan Athletic this summer to boost his attacking options by signing Arouna Kone. The £6m striker netted 13 goals last season and will be expected to hit the ground running at Goodison Park for the upcoming campaign. His pace and nous in and around the penalty area could well flourish at Everton with quality service from the likes of Leighton Baines, Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar.

First game: Norwich (A), Complete fixture list

Sports Mole says: Of all the Premier League teams with new managers this season, Everton's fortunes are arguably the least easy to predict. Roberto Martinez earned plenty of plaudits for his attacking style of football at Wigan Athletic, but the reality is they were relegated last term. Fortunately for him, he is joining a club with a squad rich in quality and has acted shrewdly in the transfer market to add to it. However, they are unlikely improve on last season in what is sure to be a very competitive campaign.

Predicted finish: Eighth

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea97112332022
2Liverpool96302762121
3Manchester CityMan City96212041620
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham95221610617
5Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton943299015
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs9504913-415
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd94231615114
8Everton94231514114
9Leicester CityLeicester94231515014
10Arsenal94231013-314
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves941499013
12Brentford9333119212
13Aston Villa93151315-210
14Watford93151217-510
15Crystal Palace91621114-39
16Southampton9153812-48
17Leeds UnitedLeeds9144816-87
18Burnley9045715-84
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle90451120-94
20Norwich CityNorwich9027223-212

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