Lukaku sees Everton as title challengers - here's why they ARE

Everton have surprised a few people with their impressive start to the season which sees them sit fourth in the Premier League table.

Everton’s on loan striker Romelu Lukaku believes they are in with a chance of winning the title after their impressive start to the season has left them five points behind Arsenal in fourth place.

Without doubt Everton have made great strides in the infancy of Roberto Martinez’s reign at Goodison Park which has led them to be contenders for the Champions League spots – and there are those who dare to dream of a first league title for the Toffees since 1987.

With the league tight at the top in the first half of the season, several sides including Everton have every right to think they have got a chance of pulling off a shock at the top.

Lukaku said, as reported by The Mirror: ‘You can say we are outsiders for the title now, you don’t need to by shy about that.

‘If we are more ruthless we will end definitely in the top four, definitely. We have two losses and a lot of wins. In the games we drew we weren’t ruthless enough, so if you change that and become more ruthless it becomes more wins and then we are up there. I am not surprised we are top four contenders.’

Performance so far

Everton have been incredibly difficult to beat, having only lost two games so far this season. The team is over-achieving this term (again), and a Champions League berth isn't out of the question.

Manager rating

9/10. Everton manager Roberto Martinez has combined the solid element his predecessor's defensive play along with the slick, high tempo possession football going forward that now troubles every side in the league.

Best game Everton have been involved in

Everton 3-3 Liverpool. One of the most pulsating Merseyside derbies in years. Everton came from behind twice, and even led late on, before Liverpool equalised in a game full of twists and turns that was incredibly open.

Everton's stand-out player

Ross Barkley – and he’s beaten off some great competition. Barkley looks the real deal, and is popping up with some important goals at critical times, as well as providing a lot of creativity in the middle of the park. Honourable mentions also go to Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry for their contributions.

New signings (loan or otherwise)

We haven't seen much of Wigan signings Arouna Kone and Antolin Alcoraz, because of injury. James McCarthy, however, has made a good start to life at Goodison Park - very comfortable on the ball and hard working. Gareth Barry has provided some good experience and control in the middle of the park, whilst Romelu Lukaku is Everton's top scorer and a handful for any defence. Gerard Deulofeu has also shown some great promise.

Most significant win of the season

Manchester United 0-1 Everton, ending the 21-year hoodoo - and against Everton's old boss too. This was a real signal of how far the Toffees have come Martinez.

Everton's low point so far

Everton 0-1 Sunderland. The home defeat to bottom club Sunderland was a sucker punch, just when it looked as if the Toffees were building up a head of steam and might even mount a title challenge. 

Strengthening in January

Everton will want another striker to cover for Lukaku, with Kone out for the season and Jelavic likely to leave in the transfer window.

The rest of the season

A resilient team driven by a creative and ambitious manager. A top four finish is not out of the question.

image: © Erik Daniel Drost

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