Everton head into the 2019/20 Premier League season with fans once again dreaming of breaking into the top six.
The Toffees have finished eighth for the last two years, but the prospect of some impressive summer transfer business has sparked talk that they can kick-on this time around.
It took manager Marco Silva a little while to make his mark on the team, but the signs were certainly promising towards the back end of last season.
Read on as we assess Everton’s hopes of success this term.
Silva building an improved squad
The departures of Ademola Lookman and Idrissa Gueye left Everton’s squad looking a little thin, but the club are likely to have addressed the situation by the time the transfer window closes.
The Toffees have already made Andre Gomes’ loan deal permanent, while Fabian Delph’s signing from Manchester City for £10 million looks an excellent addition.
Everton are trying to conclude a deal for Juventus striker, Moise Kean, and he would undoubtedly strengthen their forward options.
Everton’s Director of Football, Marcel Brands, is a shrewd operator in the transfer market and it would be no surprise to see more new arrivals before the season starts.
Early fixture list has been kind
Everton got off to a slow start last term, but this season’s early fixtures schedule appears to be fairly favourable.
A visit Crystal Palace on the opening weekend should hold no fears and Everton will be a popular pick on football tips websites to pick up three points at Selhurst Park.
Subsequent matches against Watford (H), Aston Villa (A), Wolverhampton Wanderers (H), Bournemouth (A) and Sheffield United (H) should also yield a healthy points return.
The home match against Manchester City on September 29 is unquestionably the toughest test Everton face over the first few weeks, but they should be around the top six regardless of the result in that one.
Top six looks a tall order
Everton finished 12 points adrift of the top six last season and they will be eager to close that gap this term.
However, the ‘Big Six’ are strongly fancied to dominate once again and securing seventh place may be the most realistic target for the club.
Wolves, Leicester City and West Ham United are likely to be challenging to finish ‘best of the rest’ but Everton are certainly capable of winning that battle.
Their hopes are likely to hinge on whether the club can boost their squad before the season starts, but if Brands works his magic the Toffees should finish no lower than seventh.
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