The Keys to Success: Everton's 2009-10 Premier League Season
Well, here it is.
The Premiership 2009-10 season.
It all begins again.
Each year every team and its supporters start off with high optimism, though that optimism can quickly turn sour.
However I'm going to look at the one team who are often one of three, possibly four thorns in the side of the Big Four: Everton.
Looking at the keys to success for them this season, and things that must go right for Everton to secure that coveted fourth Champions League spot.
In recent years, injuries to key players have demolished Everton's chances of progressing further than 5th in the Premiership.
I personally feel that if Tim Cahill did not get injured at the end of the 2007-08 season Everton would've snatched fourth place.
Injuries to key players such as Phil Jagielka, Yakubu, and Mikel Arteta didn't effect Everton as much as one would've thought, but it's a great sense of relief to all Evertonians when they're on the pitch.
So if the team can stay healthy, then there's no reason why Everton can finish in fourth.
The development of young players
Youth will be vital to Everton's success this year.
The development of future prospects Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell will provide depth, so should another key player get injured, these guys can step in right away and do just as good a job.
These guys are also capable of starting and playing well every week as well.
But the likes of James Vaughan will have to stay healthy to keep Everton up there with the Big Four, and also perform when called upon.
What David Moyes can do between now and the Transfer Deadline?
Last year's acquisitions, all within a week of the transfer deadline, were for undisclosed fees, and also loans, with the exception of Belgian Midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who's quickly becoming a cult hero at Goodison Park after signing for a club-record £15 million fee from Standard Liege at, quite literally, the 11th hour, a sum that was equivalent to 80% of Liege's entire yearly budget.
Whilst those signings worked out better than any Evertonian could've hoped, considering the timing and the fees and whatnot, it's important that the same thing doesn't happen.
So far the only acquisition has been Manchester City failure Jo on a season long loan, after he impressed at the end of last season.
So again, no money has been spent. However Evertonians can only hope that David Moyes can pull off yet another few bargain basement signings, due to the lack of money available for big money transfers in this modern football climate.
Good cup runs and victories over some of the best
Good cup runs in the Carling Cup, FA Cup and the Europa League will bring confidence to the entire Everton team and it's fans.
Perhaps especially to right back Tony Hibbert, who had a shocking FA Cup final, and enduring a fairly disappointing preseason.
Good cup runs will be one thing, however the real confidence boosters could come against teams like Liverpool, Aston Villa and Chelsea. If Everton can beat any of the teams above them and around them, then it provides a great sense of optimism for the fans and, more importantly, the players.
Eliminate all distractions
With moneybags City on the loose and running wild with their transfer spending, it's hard to resist selling the best players who are targeted, particularly when the team isn't exactly loaded with cash, and when the player wants to leave.
Now I must commend David Moyes for his stern resistance, and fully stand by him in this instance.
But if Lescott does stay, Moyes has to sort his head out.
It is likely that Lescott will probably not be willing to play for Everton until he gets a huge payday and leaves Man City, or at least not to his full potential.
But in Moyes we trust. One can only hope Lescott stays and gets his head right.
All in all...
The footballing genius that is David Moyes will find some way for the club to be successful.
However, to what extent?
Well I think it's fair to say that anything between fourth and eighth will be reasonable, but I personally think fifth or sixth is the most likely.