From nervous looks over the shoulder to European football aspirations – how Everton have evolved #EFC

From nervous looks over the shoulder to European football aspirations – how Everton have evolved




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This time last year Everton’s woes were clear for all to see.

After a slow start to the campaign, form had picked up under Marco Silva but after suffering a gut-wrenching derby defeat at the hands of Liverpool in December, that form began to dip.

And by the time Silva’s side headed into February their form had nosedived and they headed into an enforced 17-day break on the back of three straight defeats.

From the prospect of challenging for European football to nervously looking over their shoulder to keep an eye on what those below them were getting up to. Everton’s season was quickly crumbling in front of their own eyes.

Pressure was mounting on Silva with fans divided on whether he was the man to lead the team forward.

Silva would survive the storm and lead Everton to an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League.

But there was to be little respite for the Portuguese as just five months into the 2019/20 season he was relieved of his duties after three straight defeats left Everton in the relegation zone.

Now, 12 months on from those nervous looks over the shoulder, the eyes of Evertonians are firmly focused in a different direction, with those in Blue dreaming of a strong finish to the campaign and securing European football as a result.

There is no question the mood and atmosphere has changed around Goodison in recent weeks.

And that isn’t just because Carlo Ancelotti is in charge.

Although there is no denying the experienced Italian is having a huge impact on his stars, a lot of the work towards fixing the divisions in the club’s fan base started under Duncan Ferguson’s interim tenure.

Simplifying things from a tactical point of view brought the Blues instant success.

Fans had become frustrated and in the end ultimately fed up of seeing their side line-up in the 4-2-3-1 formation under Silva.

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A switch to a 4-4-2 brought Everton five points in three league games under the Scot, with Ancelotti continuing to build on the foundations laid by the Blues icon.

Two players reaping the rewards of the change of formation are Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

Questions have long been asked about the pair, with Calvert-Lewin having long been criticised for his lack of goals, while no-one has ever been quite sure what the Brazilian’s best position is.

But first under Ferguson, and now Ancelotti, the pair are reborn and have forged a blossoming partnership up top.

Calvert-Lewin is now looking the goal threat many suspected he wasn’t, while Richarlison is looking the top player he often threatened to be last season, and his goal in last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace was further evidence he could become one of the best in the league.

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Only Liverpool, who look pretty unstoppable at the minute, have taken more Premier League points than Ancelotti has since his arrival at the club.

And with Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea to come after the winter break, and with the Blues five points off fourth and three points off sixth, European football is very much within their grasp.

Which is a far cry from this time last year where the Blues were preparing to head to Cardiff in what many people were branding a ‘six pointer’ for all the wrong reasons. 



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