Everton: 5 Reasons Why They Should Be Breaking into the EPL Top 4
At the midway point of the EPL season, perennial slow starters Everton are sitting in a loft 5th position. The Toffees do not normally begin their quest for a European place until January, so this year the team have been a revelation.
This impromptu assault on the Top 4 has left many Evertonians daydreaming of European football gracing the hallowed turf once again. Supporters have been starved of this excitement since 2010, but with the club shaking off their customary slow start to the season, they are in prime position to finish in at least a Europa League spot.
However, whilst the Europa League is far from being the booby prize in the football raffle, it is the Champions league that David Moyes has his piercing blue Scottish eyes locked onto.
And, to be honest, along with many other Everton supporters, I have been caught up in the feel-good factor and am now beginning to dream the European dream.
With that in mind, here are my 5 reasons to why now is the time for Everton to break into the EPL Top 4.
1. There Are 2 Places Up for Grabs
Rafa Benitez knows Everton are breathing down his neck for one of the CL qualification spots
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Normally the EPL elite occupy for the top-4 places with relative ease, cruising their way into the Champions League qualification year after boring year.
But recently there has been a shift in power, bringing some much needed enjoyment at the “business end” of the season.
There are two places up for grabs, so Everton’s players and management need to believe they deserve to join the two Manchester clubs in Europe’s elite competition.
It is all about taking opportunities when they present themselves–this year should be Everton’s.
2. This Is the Best Everton Squad in Years
Pienaar's second spell at Everton has seen the club propel up the EPL table
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When you look at the squad roster, it would be hard to formulate an opposing argument to his comments. Everton have shifted emphasis significantly from their previous image of a hard-working, organized side molded very much in the image and likeness of their manager.
Following the additions of Steven Pienaar, Nikica Jelavic and Kevin Mirallas, Everton have become an attractive outfit, pleasing on the eye team whilst retaining their resilience. It is proving to be a potent combination.
Leon Osman, another ten-year veteran at Goodison Park, suggested that teams find Everton’s variety difficult to defend against, and that is the crux of their current success in my opinion. In recent years, Everton did not appear to have a Plan B—now they do.
This shift in mentality has allowed the club to dream of a Top-4 finish this season.
3. David Moyes Could Walk If Everton Fails
A lot of ponder for David Moyes.
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If Everton fails to qualify for Champions League football, I can seriously see Moyes walking away from the club. It sounds heartbreaking and unthinkable, but will he see another missed opportunity being enough of a reason to depart to pastures new?
Yes is my answer.
But, to be fair, can you blame him? After ten years, he has turned around Everton’s fortunes, enabling him to become one of the most respected coaches in European football. He deserves to pit his wits against the likes of Jose Mourinho and Tito Vilanova, rather than being stuck scouting at Newport County on Wednesday nights.
If Everton fail to obtain a Top-4 position, it will not be Moyes fault.
He deserves his spot on the big stage and, in one way or another, he will get it next season.
4. Everton Fans Deserve Their European Nights
Long-suffering Everton fans deserve something to cheer about.
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Everton supporters are some of the most hardened in England.
Whether it was the near relegation in 1994 and 1998, or the heartbreaking FA Cup Final defeat against Chelsea in 2009, Evertonians’ loyalty have never wavered.
The players owe it to the long-suffering supporters to bring back the glory days to a club in desperate need of European football. Everton have only broken into the top-4 in the EPL once, and that only lead to abject failure the following season.
There is nothing like Goodison Park on a European night, just view old clips of the Bayern Munich match from 1985, and it is up to both the players and Moyes to make that happen this season.
If ever the players want to repay the fans for their die-hard support, now is the time.
5. Liverpool Will Be Looking Up at Their Rivals
Everton fans would love to get one over their city rivals.
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Yes, yes I know it sounds petty and small-minded, but wouldn’t it be great for Everton to break into the top-4 at the expense of their city rivals Liverpool?
Since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, Liverpool have dominated Everton season after season, finishing above them for 18 out of the 20 campaigns.
However, so far this season, blue is the colour on Merseyside as Everton’s superior consistency has lead to Liverpool being a sizable six points behind, with 16 games to play.
The EPL still has a long way to go, with more twists and turns than a roller coaster, but, for now, Everton supporters can dream of finishing in the top-4 instead of Liverpool come May.