Since David Moyes has taken over in March 2002 Everton have become a consistent force in the Premier League, only three times in 9 seasons have the Goodison outfit finished outside the top 7 although the fourth place of 2005 remains his best season to date.
Home form has often been the key to their success and last season saw them maintain fortress Goodison with only 3 teams taking maximum points at Goodison.
In recent years a poor start to the season has been Everton’s Achilles heel and 2010/2011 was no different as they lost to Bolton, Aston Villa and Newcastle as well as drawing with Wolves, Manchester United (a thrilling comeback from 3-1 down heading into injury time) and Fulham.
In fact it was October before they managed to get their first win of the season a 2-0 win over Birmingham at St Andrews and the next time out they achieved their first home win, another 2-0 score line but this time a sweeter victory against their rivals and neighbours, Liverpool.
Like most clubs looking to break into the top 6 goal scoring proves to be their downfall, if Everton had a 20 goal striker they would be up challenging for Champions League spots. A 5-3 win over Blackpool aside, 2-0 was their biggest win of the season.
Australian Tim Cahill was top scorer last season with nine goals with Jermaine Beckford finishing the season strongly to follow up closely with 8 goals.
After a tough introduction to life in the EPL more will be expected of Beckford this season; the former Leeds player only made 14 starts last season with Moyes juggling the task of easing the 27 year old in to life in the Premiership with his preference for a 4-5-1 system.
With Louis Saha proving as injury prone as ever and Victor Anichebe and Yakuba failing to impress, Moyes will hoping that Beckford can continue his impressive end to the season.
So far this summer David Moyes has been very quiet in the transfer market, a trend in keeping with the windows of summer past.
James Vaughan’s 2.5 million move to Norwich the only major piece of business in or out of Goodison and the word on the grapevine is that the former Preston manager is operating on a sell before you buy model.
However with talks of moves for some of his more sellable assets in Phil Jagielka, Marouane Fellaini, Mikel Arteta and Jack Rodwell Moyes might be wishing that things stay this quiet.
The loss of Seamus Coleman will be a blow to Everton’s hopes for a fast start as the young Irishman was impressive last season and looks a good prospect. The absence of young Irishman should mean that Rodwell, now injury free, should come into the side in the centre of midfield alongside Fellaini with the reliable and unheralded Leon Osman moving out right.
With a small squad to call upon, challenging for a European spot might be a big ask of Everton with suspensions and injury surely going to play their part and while the financial side of things might not be as fans would like it, the academy production line is ticking along nicely with young talent Ross Barkley looking like the latest starlet to follow in the footsteps of Wayne Rooney and Rodwell and carry the next big thing moniker.
Hopefully Moyes won’t have to rely too much on the youngsters and there are times when you wish that both Everton and David Moyes, more so than most, could find a rich sugar daddy to catapult them into the big time, if there was a duo that deserved success it’s these two, hopefully they can achieve it together, maybe not this season though.
Moyes record at Goodison: