Everton's Premier League Start Is Reason For Concern: Can Moyes Right The Ship?
Everton is not traditionally a quick-starting team in the Premier League. In fact, last year, after five games, they had six points; the year before, in the 2008-2009 season, seven points.
However, even slow-starting Blues teams of the past have nothing on the 2010-2011 Everton squad.
The current version of the Blues has managed just two points after five games. Everton, along with West Ham, are the only two clubs in the Premier League without a victory.
Not exactly the way manager David Moyes had planned the start to the season.
Moyes was impressive in the offseason, re-signing key players like Tim Cahill, Jack Rodwell, Mikel Arteta, and Leighton Baines, while adding a nice mix of new blood in newcomers Jermaine Beckford, Magaye Gueye, and Joao Silva.
But things have not clicked. Outside of an impressive come-from-behind tie against Manchester United, the season's start has been a disaster.
It got even worse on Tuesday, when Everton crashed out of the Carling Cup, eliminated by League One opponent Brentford on penalty kicks. Although they outplayed Brentford for much of the game, they managed only one goal and found themselves in the shootout, where of course anything can happen.
Can the ship be righted? Of course. Moyes was able to right the ship in a similar situation a year ago. Much deeper into the campaign last season, Everton sat in 16th place at Christmas, just two points from safety and relegation talk surrounding them. But a strong finish to the season bolted the Blues up the table to an eighth place finish, and they narrowly missed Europe.
But is this a pattern you really want to keep reliving? What if you don't catch fire like last year? There are good, talented teams in the middle of the table this season, and catapulting them all to the top half of the standings is far from guaranteed.
This team is too deep and too talented to even think about relegation, but they are also too deep and too talented to be sitting in 19th place right now. They are underachieving, and this all comes back to the manager. It is Moyes' job to light a fire under this club and get them moving.
Following the loss to Brentford, Moyes owned up to the task at hand.
"I've got a job on now to lift the players," he said. "I'll need to manage and get to work. I will take responsibility. I pick the team.
"It has been a poor start. But that's my job and I'll need to try and get things changed around."
Moyes, often rumored as a strong candidate to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United when he steps aside in 2012, has not only his current squad to think about, but the future of his professional career as well.
Moyes can take his first step in trying to right this ship on Saturday when Everton plays Fulham on the road in London.
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