In this series of 20 articles, we take a look back at the Premier League season, focusing on each team individually. We take a look at transfer window activity, managerial changes, and key points throughout the season.
Everton kept themselves rather busy in the transfer windows this season, and they had to be. Over the course of the season, they lost Jonjoe Kenny, Allan, and Anthony Gordon to Newcastle, and 3 strikers, Tosun, Rondon and Richarlison who went to Spurs. They did make a lot of money from the Richarlison and Gordon transfers, and they did reinvest most of that money.
They bolstered their defence by bringing in Vinagre and Conor Coady on loan, and James Tarkowski on a free. They then turned to their midfield, bringing back Idrissa Gueye from PSG, James Garner from Man United and youngster Amadou Onana from LOSC Lille. Dwight McNeil arrived from Burnley, and Neil Maupay made the switch from Brighton to round off Everton’s transfer windows.
Overall, it looked like good business from Everton. A mix of youth and experience, most importantly, Premier League experience. But, they lost most of their forwards. Tosun and Rondon were never going to be starting for them this season, but Richarlison was a big player for them. Is Neil Maupay an appropriate replacement for him? Not really.
They needed to bring in a striker that was going to fire them to safety, that could come in and score 10-15 goals. When they had to rely on youth graduates such as Ellis Simms when injuries flared up, the board must have been kicking themselves for not investing in a quality striker.
Frank Lampard’s tenure at Everton was one of the most controversial, in terms of fans, that I have seen at a Premier League club lately. When he got announced, Everton fans were extremely happy, hoping he would do a good job and push them higher up the table.
When he started struggling, the fans divided. Half the fans wanted him gone, convinced his football was not good enough, he could not get the best out of the players and that he should be nowhere near the club. The other half did not blame Lampard at all, and instead turned to the board, stating they had not backed him enough, they did not give Lampard the players he wanted, they had not invested enough into the club, and that the clubs’ position was all down to them.
This divide went on for months. Fans argued about Lampard’s tenure at the club, and who was to blame for their dire situation. After just 3 wins all season, the board did decide that enough was enough, and Lampard received his marching orders on the 23rd of January, with the club sitting in 19th.Embed from Getty Images
It took 7 days for Everton to name their replacement, with former Leeds manager Bielsa and former Burnley manager Sean Dyche heavily linked with the job. On the 30th of January, the board decided on Sean Dyche. His tenure started off perfectly, with a 1-0 win at home against table-toppers Arsenal.
The rest of the season was complicated, to say the least. A mixture of results left Everton relying on others at times, but come the final game of the season, Sean Dyche and Everton pulled through with a 1-0 win against Bournemouth to keep them in the Premier League for another season.
Under Lampard, Everton could have been relegated by March, with their form. The managerial change was needed, and they picked the right manager in my mind. Dyche brought more defensive stability, although this was not on show at all times, and his side knew how to grind out a win when they needed to.
As late into the season as it was, the key game for me in regards to Everton has to be that surprise 5-1 away win against Brighton. They were chasing a European spot and had a fairly straightforward game against Everton who had not won in their last 7 games. Everton turned up and showed everyone that if they were going to go down, they were going to fight.
Everton had just 22% possession all game but still managed to match Brighton’s attempts when in front of goal, with both sides having 5 shots on target each. Everton had a perfect start when Doucoure scored within 34 seconds. Doucoure then doubled Everton’s lead just before the half-hour mark.
6 minutes later, Jason Steele put through his own net to give the visitors a commanding 3-0 lead at halftime. Dwight McNeil made it 4-0 with around 15 minutes to go, as Alexis MacAllister pulled one back 4 minutes later. McNeil had the last laugh, however, as he scored Everton’s fifth goal in the 96th minute.
The result came out of nowhere and was simply down to good finishing from Everton. It hauled them out of the bottom 3, and put them in the driving seat with just 3 games to go. It was a result that effectively kept Everton up.Embed from Getty Images
Everton entered the Carabao Cup in the second round, with an away tie against League One opposition Fleetwood Town. It was a poor performance by a relatively strong Everton side, as they struggled to a 1-0 win, courtesy of Demarai Gray, registering only two shots on target.
After their slender win, they were handed another away game, this time against Premier League opposition Bournemouth. Everton was absolutely embarrassed by them. They were run ragged as they lost 4-1 to them, just before they had to play them in the Premier League away from home.
That result sent Everton crashing out of the competition, after 2 extremely convincing performances. You could tell from these two games alone that it was going to be a difficult season for them.
Everton did not have a good time in the FA Cup either, but it was slightly more understandable. They were handed an away tie against Man United in the third round, which they lost 3-1.
It was a fast start for Man United, as Antony opened the scoring after just 4 minutes. Everton hit back 10 minutes later through Conor Coady, but that was as good as it got for the away side. Coady went from hero to villain, as he scored an own goal to give United the lead in the second half, and Rashford made sure of the result with a 97th-minute penalty.
Everton were never going to turn up to Old Trafford and win. Most people expected them to get knocked out here, but it is a shame for any Premier League club to get knocked out the first time of asking.
Season OverallEmbed from Getty Images
Overall, it has been a horrible season for Everton, full of nothing but pain. Their cup competitions ended extremely early, and they performed poorly in all the games they played in them. Lampard and the board sucked the life and soul out of the club, making the ground a very toxic place.
Some of the players they brought in did not perform, and those that did were the ones that frequently picked up injuries. Their Premier League campaign was terrible. It is good that they stayed up, but they had to rely on other results at times. They need to be in charge of their own destiny, rather than relying on other clubs to lose their games.
It will have been a brilliant feeling for the fans, to stay up and play in the Premier League next season, but Everton is too good to be fighting relegation year in and year out, but this is the direction the club is heading. If they do not sort things out at the club, they could go down next year.
Everton needs to invest next season. They need to bring the good times back to the club, where Goodison Park was a tough ground to visit, where the ground made the visiting teams nervous. They need to become a force to be reckoned with again, but this will only happen with investment in the team.