Friday, August 5, 2022

Everton Predictions 2022-23: A miserable season awaits us with Richarlison away and toxic mood

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Daniel Storey reviews the summer transfer business, looks at the challenges ahead and predicts where the club will end up as part of his season preview for all 20 Premier League clubs

Everton have at least one group of players who could make a decent stab in midfield (spare the wild optimism I know). And the bonus is that many of them are of an age to improve and really need to impress.

Read Daniel Storey’s previews for all 20 Premier League clubs here

If Dominic Calvert-Lewin can regain the form he was picked for England he will be a game changer for Everton, possibly the most dangerous striker in the bottom half of the Premier League. That’s because Everton are really strong in a lot of areas. Anthony Gordon is a gem and Demarai Gray, Dwight McNeil, Andros Townsend and Alex Iwobi could all be fighting for a spot.

Vitaliy Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson are forward-thinking young full-backs. Place those full-backs under or overlap and tell the four wingers to go to the touchline and cross the ball and Calvert-Lewin can flourish again.

Everton were never more than 10 minutes from a moment of defensive uncertainty last season. He may have been part of a relegation defense but James Tarkowski signing on a free transfer is a smart move. The hope is that he can raise those around him and forge a partnership with Ben Godfrey.

These are the players who need to bring Everton forward. If they all – or most – do consistently well, goodison’s morale will improve and that will set the tone for the maligned players around them.

Unfortunately, something has to be right. Selling Richarlison is such a loss for a team that has been predictable too often this past season. Only the bottom three had fewer shots than Everton and they just lost the man who scored most goals, had most shots, had most shots on target and provided most assists. Not only could Everton never hope to replace him, so far they haven’t even tried.

Squad depth is a massive problem. At the time of writing, Everton have 21 outfield players in their first-team squad, including Dele Alli, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Salomon Rondon who could be sold, as well as Niels Nkounkou.

We still haven’t fully fleshed out Lampard as a manager but it’s clear that an issue from his tenure at Chelsea has surfaced at Goodison. When Everton are faced with a deeper defense or an opponent that Everton struggle to create chances against (which frankly most were), the tendency has been to push more players forward to try and force overlaps . That’s fine until your opponent regains the ball and you get caught. Too often last season there were gaping gaps with midfielders and defenders pulling away to try and bid out some time. Expect more of it.

But the mood is also poisonous; the Yes, really Affairs. There have been sporadic protests ahead of pre-season friendlies over the huge waste that has damaged and potentially haunted recent seasons. Nothing really seems to have changed apart from offered apologies and another new manager in the dugout.

Last season, Everton took 25 points from their last 31 league games and survived relegation by just four points. They’ve lost their most valuable asset and their most effective attacker, and sentiment hasn’t improved. Which gives them hope that there will be three worse clubs next May.

Lampard was probably under no illusions that money was going to be tight this summer. They effectively had to sell Richarlison by a certain date to clear debt on the balance sheet, which could well allow for some improvement in August’s squad. But he will be alarmed that no deals have been announced.

Tarkovsky is a potentially smart signing who should bolster a defense she badly needed, while Ruben Vinagre is likely to be just a backup for Vitaliy Mykolenko. It’s surprising that Everton haven’t tried to recruit at least one more defender yet.

Dwight McNeil is the marquee signature costing the club around £20million and at 22 he still has room to grow. But McNeil’s form took a significant hit last season as he combined a league goal and assist. If that says much about Burnley’s struggles as his own, it doesn’t get much easier for McNeil at Goodison. And to reiterate an earlier point, the only thing Everton don’t need is wide midfielders.

Everton fans seemed to like Lampard, possibly because he wasn’t Rafa Benitez. Whether he improved the team during this mini-period is an open question, but it’s entirely possible that the season starts off horribly and he’s the first manager to lose his job. Given what we’ve said about Everton having wide players and a centre-forward presence, Sean Dyche is possible at Goodison to maintain them.

Lampard is ready to call his players, once accusing them of lacking “the necessary bullshit”. This was initially well received by fans, who felt that overpaid players would let them down without a fight. But there are also only so many times that you can do that. Hearing Lampard smack her again after a 4-0 loss to Minnesota United last season made you suspect players and fans may soon be wondering if the problem lies with him, just as it does those who love him criticized.

It will certainly be a tough, sometimes miserable season for Everton. But they survive again. 17.

The Score is Daniel Storey’s weekly assessment of the performance of all 20 Premier League teams. Sign up here to receive the newsletter every Monday morning this season

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