That Carlo Ancelotti would improve Everton in his first full-season was expected, but taking them into top four after 14 games is some progress. It’s marvellous.
Leicester, Everton and Spurs in the top 4. How marvellous. But what can we possibly do about Liverpool?
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) December 20, 2020
The question is — can Everton successfully retain their place?
Ancelotti in an exclusive interview with Liverpool Echo recently stated that he wants gradual progress at the club. While the Italian will aim for the top-four spot, he will be satisfied if the Toffees can get into European places.
Everton started their Premier League season brilliantly. It was a blitzkrieg and took everyone by surprise. They were flying after picking up four wins and a draw in their opening five Premier League games.
However, a slump in form post international break in October saw them picking up only four points from six games. However, the Toffees appear to have turned around the adversity, having now beaten teams like Chelsea, Leicester, and Arsenal.
The next six games are absolutely crucial to their lofty ambitions. They are up against Sheffield United, Manchester City, West Ham, Wolves, Aston Villa and Leicester. The momentum is with the Toffees, and with Seamus Coleman and James Rodriguez returning, it will be interesting to see if they can keep themselves in the hunt for a top-four spot.
Ancelotti had to tweak his system to counter the injuries suffered by Lucas Digne, Coleman Rodriguez and Allan from time to time, and players have stepped up. The likes of Ben Godfrey, Alex Iwobi and Mason Holgate have been simply brilliant while Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have been the epitome of consistency for the Toffees.
Sheffield United are badly struggling in the league, and Everton would fancy a boxing-day win to keep the momentum going.
City are in desperate need of consistency and they will face an in-form Everton side (provided they win at Sheffield) that are running high on confidence. A draw won’t be a bad result.
The match against West Ham is expected to be a feisty affair where David Moyes will be returning to his old club. The Hammers have been really impressive under Moyes, but the Toffees could edge them at home.
Wolves and Aston Villa away would come as a massive test for the Toffees, although they would fancy their chances against Dean Smith’s side who haven’t been as impressive as they are away from home.
Leicester at home would be another exciting game, especially if the Foxes continue to close the gap with Liverpool. So far, they have handled the pressure brilliantly.
If they can maintain this form till the end of January, they will be in a very good position to qualify for the Champions League.