Premier League previews - Everton 4 years ago

Premier League previews - Everton

Manager: The universally loved Roberto Martinez

Last season: Fifth

Major signings: Gareth Barry (free, Manchester City), Muhamed Besic (undisclosed, Ferencvaros), Romelu Lukaku (£28m, Chelsea).

Players out: Mason Springthorpe, Ibou Touray (released), Apostolos Vellios (free, Lierse), Magaye Gueye (free, Millwall)

Expectations? Roberto Martinez said he would qualify Everton for the Champions League upon getting the job at Goodison Park and at one point it looked like they were serious challengers. His first season was stellar. Anything is possible.

Prior to Romelu Lukaku's record breaking transfer, there wasn't a lot of activity at Everton and rightfully so.

It seemed that Roberto Martinez was delighted to maintain the fantastic levels that they reached last year, the club achieved their highest ever points tally in the Premier League.

Despite his failings at Man Utd, David Moyes did a fine job during his tenure but Toffee's fans can't help but agree that Martinez's arrival felt like a much needed breath of fresh air.

The Spaniard cleverly used the loan market last summer and we fully expect him to do the same again this year.

Under is guidance, Everton became one of the most tactically flexible sides in the Premier League as they constantly switched from a back three to a five at times.

Possession was key and some of Everton's football last year was a joy to behold especially during their 1-0 win at Old Trafford or the 3-0 demolition of Arsenal.

Only Chelsea and Man City conceded fewer goals than the Toffee's and signing Gareth Barry on a permanent deal could prove to be the best transfer deal of the summer. Barry and McCarthy played together as if they were paired for the last 10 years.

Romelu Lukaku’s form did drop in 2014 yet he was still their top scorer with 16 goals and remains a hugely exciting prospect. The fact that Everton has splashed out so much on the Belgian striker is a sign that Bill Kenwright is willing to back his manager in the market.

If Everton are to seriously challenge for a Champions League place then they will need to add more depth to their squad. John Stones and Ross Barkley have already proven their worth but more bodies are required to compete with the 'bigger' sides.

We expect to see more players arriving on Merseyside soon and knowing Martinez they will probably be very astute technically and easy on the eye. Just like last season, transfer deadline day could be very interesting on Merseyside.

Irish angle… They have our key players. Seamus Coleman was the best right-back in the Premier League last season and even managed to chip in with 7 goals.

James McCarthy seems to be getting better each week and we are all hoping that Darron Gibson stays injury free.

Shane Duffy will be pushing for a regular first team place but he may find it hard to dislodge the reliable Distin and Jagielka.

If they were a fictional character… Captain America and not just because of Tim Howard's World Cup heroics. Like the captain, Everton are universally liked, have great history, do things the right way, stick to their principles yet ultimately will never be as famous as the other avengers.

Where will they end up? Either 5 or 6.