Why Champions League football is not a pipe dream for Everton

Gareth Barry has claimed that Everton can make it into the top four by the end of the season.

It’s only natural for players to speak enthusiastically when the join a new club, making all of the right noises to impress the fans, the boss and the press before they’ve kicked a competitive ball.

That’s exactly what Gareth Barry has done upon joining Everton, stating that the Champions League is a distinct possibility for the current group of players at Goodison Park.

“There are some fantastic teams out there who have spent a lot of money on improving their squads. But looking at the squad here and the ambitions of the club, there’s no reason why we can’t compete for that fourth spot,” said Barry.

Plenty of people will laugh at that statement but there are several reasons why Everton could pull off what would be considered a shock by the end of the campaign.

It all starts with the boss, Roberto Martinez, who proved with Wigan at times last season that he can get any group of eleven players to outperform the biggest teams and some of the best talent from all over Europe.

The combination of attractive football that he likes his teams to play along with logical tactics can be very difficult to deal with as Manchester City found out in the FA Cup final.

Fair enough Everton have drawn all of the Premier League games so far but it’s the start of the season, the side is still taking shape but importantly the team have proven very difficult to beat.

Martinez also makes all of his players feel valuable, emphasising the need for a very solid team spirit which ensures that the key players in the squad play for and stick up for each other.

The squad has just been improved considerably with the midfield additions of Barry and James McCarthy from Wigan, as well as the addition of Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku in attack.

It was very important for Everton to retain that strength through the middle of their side once it emerged Marouane Fellaini would be joining Manchester United and Everton have managed just that.

Are their weaknesses in the squad? Of course, Everton don’t have the budget for a squad similar to Manchester City, Chelsea or Manchester United but if their first choice eleven are regularly available, they can beat anyone.

For that to happen they are going to need a little bit of luck and fortune on their side because if key players go down injured, Martinez is going to be under a lot of pressure to stop Everton from a rapid decline.

Finally the club need to win the key fixtures, the derby matches against Liverpool and the key fixtures against sides in and around them competing for Champions League football.

Of course it’s a difficult task but it’s not impossible.

Everton fans, do you think you have any chance of the top four?

image: © illarterate

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