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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Everton

Everton may have reached the semi-final stages of both domestic cup competitions in 2014/15 but, even without the distraction of Europa League football, their Premier League season was one to forget. After flirting briefly with relegation, the Toffees recovered to finish 11th in the Premier League table, but it was a case of too much too little too late for manager Roberto Martinez, who was sacked just before the end of the season.

Martinez has long been known for his positivity, but some of his rhetoric during the season, not to mention his team selections and substitutions, was bordering on the absurd. Following a 2-0 home defeat by Sunderland, he told journalists Everton ‘completely controlled the game’ and described them as ‘tactically outstanding’ in the second half of a home match against West Ham, in which they conceded three goals in the last 12 minutes to lose 3-2. His description of Gareth Barry as ‘one of the best English players ever’ was another gem in a season that saw the Toffees win just five home games in the Premier League.

Anyway, the Martinez era is over, with Everton confirming Ronald Koeman as their new manager. Former Dutch international Koeman, 53, takes over at Goodison Park after two years in charge of Southampton, who will receive around £5 million in compensation. Obviously, it’s early days for the new boss, bit on the way out of Goodison Park are Tony Hibbert, 35, Leon Osman, 35, and Steven Pienaar, 34. Of course, Everton still have plenty of talent to draw on, including Ross Barkley, John Stones, Luke Garbutt, Phil Jagielka and Romelu Lukaku, to name but a few.

In truth, the 125/1 on offer from Boylesports about the Blues winning the Premier League title is probably a true reflection of their chances but, with up to a rumoured £100 million in the transfer kitty, a top four place could be within reach and, after that, who knows?

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