Everton FC: Should a Top-7 Finish in the Premier League Be Applauded?

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIApril 14, 2011

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 09:  Phil Neville of Everton celebrates scoring the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton at Molineux on April 9, 2011 in Wolverhampton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

It sounds good, seventh on the table. In all reality, although Everton people would never admit this, it was most likely the goal before the season started.  Everton had little chance of a top-four finish, and they were certainly good enough not to finish in the bottom half.

So what does that leave? Well, it leaves a top-seven finish as the goal and a chance to get back into Europe competition next year.

Of course, the season started out disastrously.  Everton was flirting with the bottom of the table a couple of months into the season.

Although relegation was never a serious threat to the Blues, it was the most disappointing of starts, to say the least.

Manager David Moyes has gotten his club into the seventh spot and basically into a battle with Bolton (43 points) and Liverpool (48) for the No. 6 and 7 spots. Sixth would be great, but seventh is essential.

Last year, Everton missed on Europe by one spot, finishing in the dreaded eighth spot.

Although they sit in seventh, which sounds good on the surface, consider this fact: Everton is only 13 points from the very bottom of the table.  Thirteen points separate the bottom 13 teams.  I mention this not to say Everton has any chance of slipping down (only six games on left on the schedule), but because the seventh-place position is perhaps less impressive than one might think.

Moyes will need to do some work in the summer to make this team better.  Right now injuries are hampering his efforts, but even when healthy, this team did not live up to expectations.  It has been a disappointing season, despite the misleading position on the table.

Perhaps the injuries to some of his key veteran players right now, at the end of the season, is a blessing in disguise.  It is allowing Moyes to get a good look at some of the youngsters on the club and giving him a chance to determine if they are indeed going to help in the future.

Youngsters like Apostolos Vellios and Magaye Gueye are getting playing time that they probably wouldn't be getting if Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Louis Saha and Marouane Felliani were healthy.

Moyes has two goals for the remainder of the season: stay in the top seven and see what these youngsters have in them.

Maybe a third goal as well: Finish ahead of Liverpool.