Everton and Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, what’s been the similar theme over the last decade. The less successful of each of those rivalry pairings have grown to become much more competitive than they once were.
For most of the club’s history they have somewhat been in Liverpool’s shadow, almost like a younger brother. But with the older brother now being failing to bring big Champions League nights home for so long could their younger brother be about to bring home the goods in the near future.
Ever since United’s ‘Chosen One’ David Moyes’ tenure in Merseyside there have been questions whether Everton could challenge Liverpool in the Premier League and push for Europe. They have once featured in the Europa League under Roberto Martinez but are they any closer to consistent European nights now.
Much like two brothers the two clubs share quite a few similarities other than the city they’re located. Both teams have a taste for attacking but seem to resent the important job of defending, almost like two children who crave the taste of sugary treats but make any excuse to not eat their vegetables.
With Everton possessing fantastic beasts found in attack like Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas along with others going forward, the Toffees look very strong in attack but less often than they should. The two main players in Everton’s attack are without a doubt Barkley and Lukaku, with Lukaku becoming their top scorer in the Premier League (61 goals), the pair have shown a number of times over the last couple seasons that they are capable of great things but are often criticized for their inconsistency. This was on show going into the winter months the season when their form, like the teams was as erratic as a new born during the night.
But is that their fault. Some would say if they want to prove they are big players they should be able to perform well no matter what and pull their team through difficult patches. In my opinion both are close to being top players but they also need top players around to improve them.
If January proved anything it was that this is possible with the signing of Morgan Schneiderlin from Manchester United. Now that Everton are able to attract attention from players at big clubs like United rather than lose key players like Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini, whose afro shaped whole and presence in midfield hasn’t been replaced despite Barkley growing his hair out.
Also, with the financial backing of Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov which Everton are looking to improve facilities at the club they could be going from strength to strength. The Russian may not have quite the Abramovic effect on Everton but his connections with current shareholder Farhad Moshiri could help Everton strive for better. With this extra pocket money apparently being used on facilities inside the club this could attract players they need in key positions.
With a new fairy godmother at the club I’d ask for a new goalkeeper along with replacing Everton’s ageing defence. Without a Delorean from Back to the Future it is hard to prevent the Everton defence ageing and even though Ronald Koeman brought in a new defender in Ashley Williams last summer, there’s no escaping his age of 32 which seems bizarre seeing that he was replacing a 22-year-old John Stones. With 3 of their best back four over the age of 30 it only seems logical to strengthen in the summer to avoid having a nursing home of a back four next season.
Also with rumours that Wayne Rooney could be on the move the extra financial pull might cause the former Everton man to return. This would see him go full circle in terms of his career as well as with the hair transplant situation.
On the other hand with Usmanov now involved with the club this could give players there more confidence in staying with them rather than having their best players leave for more attractive offers. With Lukaku’s future at the club under speculation this could be crucial to ensure that he doesn’t leave for a new club at the end of the season instead of having another John Stones situation.
With the direction Everton look to be heading in on and off the pitch it does look promising that they can join those top 6 teams in the challenge for Europe. If Koeman chooses rainy Liverpool and Everton over a return to sunny Spain and Barcelona this could truly help the course with the Dutchman being very ambitious which he has showed by saying “I signed a contract with Everton for the project. We know we need time to change.” As well as agreeing with Moshiri’s view that Everton should become known for their present rather than their past.
So we’ve had the noisy neighbours up in Manchester but could Everton deliver some knock out blows like boyhood fan Tony Bellew.