Everton: Give Us Some Respect

Perennially slow starters, the Toffees have raced out of the blocks this season and played some superb football. But you shouldn't be surprised by their impressive form...
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Perennially slow starters, the Toffees have raced out of the blocks this season and played some superb football. But you shouldn't be surprised by their impressive form...

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A lot is made of the opening games of a new season, plenty of ‘the best/worst start in 100 years’ type of shouts and unnecessary pressure piled on to players, teams and managers. It is in this period when the press choose their victims, the poor people who have had three games to impress and when they don’t they’re history. It’s a time when people start to pick their relegation ‘favourites’, their champions and their teams to beat. For Everton, this season has seen an unfamiliar attention from the press, one that, let’s face it, is quite patronising.

Everton, you know, that happy go lucky team, the ones who are little fighters, constantly punching above their weight. The ones who should be grateful for anything and everything that goes their way. The small team. That cute little team who always like to compete with the big boys but it’s not real. Yes, those. Suddenly that little cheeky team could get fourth place! I can almost hear the sniggers of the pundits as they spit it out, halfheartedly, backing the underdogs and outsiders for an over achievement that would shock the world.

It seems that everyone has forgotten that within the last few years Everton have finished 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th, but that’s all a big coincidence right? They’re just riding their luck.

Now, it is a fair point that Everton constantly have a bad start to the season and at the end of the season, without fail, there will be some kind of stat that will show that ‘if the season started in January’ Everton would be first or second or third and we all bask in the ‘what ifs’, ruffling the hair of David Moyes, the little scamp, he’s nearly done it again.

Well, the season doesn’t start in January and, believe it or not, Everton know that. The players know that, the fans know that and more importantly, the manager knows that.

It seems that everyone has forgotten that within the last few years Everton have finished 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th, but that’s all a big coincidence right? They’re just riding their luck.

That’s why this season, he’s changed tack somewhat. The biggest change by David Moyes was undoubtedly, doing business early on. The transfers of Steven Pienaar and Steven Naismith meant that the squad was able to settle. The fact that Pienaar was no stranger to the club and Naismith was teaming up with his former strike partner has meant that there was no real initiation process required, something that the majority of Moyes’ big signings could’ve benefited from; Jagielka, Heitinga, Fellaini were all victims of the initiation curse which took a good few months to get over.

Add that to the later signings and the new attacking feel to the club, there is a undoubtable positive, no messing atmosphere surrounding Goodison Park. The players at the club are no longer the type of player who would be a squad player in the majority of other teams. The first team is made up of internationals, on the top of their game. Players on the wish list of championship winning teams. Players to be taken seriously. Players who want to win.

Tactically Moyes has upped his game, so far anyway. He is often criticised for his defensive tactics but the opening games to this season has proved otherwise. Despite many arguing otherwise, Marouane Fellaini is in fact a defensive midfielder - he was bought as a DM and played as a DM. In a period when Everton were short on strikers, Fellaini was pushed up the field to give a helping hand. Now he has become than a helping hand and the presence of Darron Gibson in midfield has given David Moyes the license to use Fellaini’s abilities in the final third of the pitch. The Belgian is more than a handful for defenders, his size alone requires two markers, freeing up time and space for the likes of Jelavic to get into a goal scoring position.

Everton and everything connected to the club are fully aware of the sniggering, patronising comments that fly around from the ‘bigger teams’ and pundits, and are happy enough to do their talking on the pitch.

Defences are becoming increasingly frightened of Everton as they become harder to crack. Gone (hopefully) is the necessity of route one football. There’s no big lump up top, a hit and hope. Suddenly goals can come from anywhere and anyone. The link up play between Baines and Pienaar, Osman and Gibson, Fellaini and Jelavic has seen some of the best pass and move football at the club for a long time. There’s real creativity in the side which can only get better with the players brought in.

The squad is building and is gradually becoming more exciting and more attacking. There is no need to pin all the hopes of the club on youth players coming through the ranks, giving the manager time to nurture young talent, even having the chance to send them out on loan; something many would’ve frowned upon last year.

Everton and everything connected to the club are fully aware of the sniggering, patronising comments that fly around from the ‘bigger teams’ and pundits, and are happy enough to do their talking on the pitch. Yes, they enjoy being underdogs, yes they’ll keep their heads down and mouths shut and yes they’re happy enough to plod along without people taking much notice. But you’d be a fool to think that the words and opinions that are flying around go unnoticed. They are probably plastered on the dressing room walls.

I can’t say where Everton will finish this year but I will say this, if they were to finish lower than 8th, it would certainly be a bigger shock than if they were to finish fourth. Those little rascals are here to be taken seriously, no matter how bitter a pill it may be to swallow.

More great articles on Everton...

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Everton's Marouane Fellaini: All Hail The Divine Afro

Everton: Losing Jack Rodwell Isn’t That Bad, Is It?

Steven Naismith Signs for Everton: Here’s Everything The Toffees Need To Know

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