Former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie Redknapp believes that Everton can challenge for a place in the top four of the Premier League this season.
The Toffees are currently ninth in the league table with 17 points from 12 matches, just two points behind fourth-placed Manchester United.
Roberto Martinez’s side came close to breaking into the top four last season and much is expected of them this campaign, but things have not been going according to plan.
Everton have struggled for points and consistent this term, but they returned to winning ways on Saturday when they got the better of high-flying West Ham United 2-1 at Goodison Park.
England international midfielder Leon Osman scored the winning goal for the Liverpool-based outfit in what was his 400th appearance for the club.
Redknapp has singled out the 33-year-old for special praise and has backed Everton to fight for a Champions League spot.
“There can’t be many better ways to cap your 400th club appearance than by scoring a winner at home,” wrote Redknapp in The Daily Mail. “Leon Osman has been a great servant and a classy player for Everton.
"They are now two points off the top four and with teams around them stuttering, there’s no reason why they can’t target a Champions League place.”
Many would sneer at Redknapp’s suggestions that Everton can finish the season in the top four, but their performance of last campaign suggests that they can.
On paper, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur should probably be ahead of Martinez’s side, but the Toffees do have a team spirit and self-convinction that can be crucial.
With all the aforementioned clubs struggling for consistency, Everton can indeed race ahead. But to do that, they need to put together a run of positive results in the coming weeks.