Champions League football for Everton? Certainly contenders

Roberto Martinez's side's victory at Old Trafford last night has done nothing to dampen the optimism surrounding Goodison Park over what they can achieve this season.

There were some sceptics about the appointment of Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park. Some wondered whether a manager who had just been relegated with Wigan Athletic was really the man to take Everton to the next level after succeeding David Moyes.

There were those that thought if he could win the FA Cup with Wigan, then maybe he could do the same and more at Goodison Park, and if the start of Martinez’s tenure is anything to go by it bodes well for the blue half of Merseyside, and if he keeps Everton ticking over at the same rate for the rest of the campaign, it is likely to be a fruitful season for the Toffees.

Martinez did some great transfer business over the summer by significantly strengthening the midfield with the signings of Gareth Barry and James McCarthy and strengthening his forward line by bringing in Romelu Lukaku on loan. On paper they have a first eleven that is capable of beating any side in the league over 90 minutes and if injuries strike they have quite versatile cover players who are capable of doing a decent job.

There are of course other players in the squad of a very good standard with centre-halves who have experience, a left-back who may well be England's first choice going into the World Cup plus an exciting young talent in Ross Barkley.

Former Wigan boss Martinez believes that 71 points is the tally that will strike gold for Everton this season and bring them Champions League football.

Given that Everton have proven themselves very hard to beat this season – having lost on just the one occasion against a side that has a 100% home record in their own backyard in Manchester City.

Not only has his side gone to Old Trafford and taken a massive win, they have managed to beat Chelsea at home, go toe-to-toe with Liverpool in a thrilling Merseyside derby.

Their ability to score goals quite freely, look solid defensively but can also dig in and show some character is a great blend for any club to have, and if they keep their players fit they could have a very successful season.

Champions League qualification? You’d be foolish to write them off.

image: © rolando.m

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