Totally Buzzed is previewing every single Premier League team ahead of the 2021/2022 campaign and now it is the turn of Everton.

How last season went:

Everton are often a lot of people’s dark horses when it comes to breaking the status quo of the top-six, and with the highly-rated Carlo Ancelotti at the helm, everything seemed to suggest they the 2020-21 campaign could finally see them live up to that billing, yet it didn’t turn out that way. The Toffees finished 10th with 59 points, which was an improvement on their previous season but given their high-profile squad and purple patches of form at certain points during the campaign, it’s hard not to think the club fell below expectations again. As for other competitions,  The Toffees reached the quarter-final stage of the EFL Cup before Manchester United proved to be too much for them, and they also reached the quarter-final stage of the FA Cup before Manchester City swiftly ousted them from the competition. Also, it’s hard to know if the Toffees will be in a position to build on their latest campaign as following Ancelotti jumping ship to Real Madrid, it’s like the Merseyside giants are starting from square one again with Rafa Benitez moving into the hot seat.

Everton’s Premier League Stats – 2020/21:

*According to the PremierLeague.com*

Everton Player Stats – 2020/21:

Top Scorer Across All Competitions: Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 21 goals in 39 appearances (0.57 goals per 90minutes, 158 minutes per goal)

Top Scorer – Premier League Only: Calvert-Lewin – 16 goals in 33 outings (180 minutes per goal)

Most Assists Across All Competitions: Gylfi Sigurdsson – 10 assists in 44 appearances (1.14 chances created per 90minutes)

Most Assists – Premier League Only: Lucas Digne – 7 assists in 30 outings 

Most Tackles Per Game (On Average) – Premier League Only: Allan (3.3 per game)

Most Minutes Played Across Premier League Fixtures – Top 3:

  1. Michael Keane – 2990 minutes 2.Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 2876 minutes  3.Richarlison – 2872 minutes

1st five league fixtures:

Southampton (H): Southampton secured a comfortable 2-0 win over the Toffees at St Mary’s Stadium, although it’s worth noting Carlo Ancelotti’s side had to play the final 20 minutes of the match with 10-men due to Lucas Digne picking up a red card. However, the Saints were unable to make it two wins out two against the Toffees in their latest campaign as Richarlison scored the only goal of the game to get the Toffees all three points when the pair clashed at Goodison Park in March.

Leeds United (A): Leeds beat Everton on their home turf 1-0 in November before the Toffees got their revenge by beating Marcelo Bielsa’s side 2-1 at Elland Road.

Brighton (A): Everton defeated Brighton 4-2 in a goal-filled game at Goodison Park back in October last year, however, the pair couldn’t be separated in their last clash with the two sides drawing 0-0 at the AMEX Stadium in April.

Burnley (H): Sean Dyche’s side held their own against the Toffees last season as the Merseyside giants failed to get the better of them. The two sides drew 1-1 at Turf Moor in December before the Clarets snatched all three points when facing Everton at Goodison Park as they walked away with a 2-1 win.

Aston Villa (A): Villa are unbeaten in their last four meetings with Everton, and even managed to beat the Toffees on their own patch last season. Villa defeated Everton 2-1 at Goodison Park last season, thanks to goals from Watkins and Anwar El-Ghazi, but Smith couldn’t mastermind a victory when the sides met at Villa Park and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.

Everton Fan Perspective: Chris (@ArnoldFurious on Twitter)

Best Player: Richarlison. While certain high-quality players, like Allan and James Rodriguez, were lured to the club by riches and fancy Italian managers, Richarlison seems to have a genuine affection for the club and that’s reflected on the field. He gives it his all and is a dangerous player in and around the box. He’s consistently Everton’s most threatening player and is both quick and great in the air. He scores all kinds of goals from worldies to poachers finishes. The fans love him and he seems to love them back. His decline in form at the back end of 2020/21 was mirrored by Everton’s general malaise and drop down the table. 

Promising Youngster: Jarrad Branthwaite. Towering 6’ 5” central defender. Signed a few years back from Carlisle, he spent last season on loan at Blackburn and impressed before an ankle injury curtailed the loan spell. With Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey having broken in ahead of him it might not be his time just yet but he’s on that conveyer belt of defensive talents for when Godfrey is inevitably poached by a bigger club. 

The player who is likely to surprise people (underrated/less known): Tom Davies. I keep hearing a section of Everton fans suggesting he’s not up to scratch. It must have been frustrating for him to hear as he’s consistently improved in his positional play and has benefitted from training with players of a high standard, like Allan. Also, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, if he ever gets fit. He signed for £22.5M and tore his MCL. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen him on the pitch at Goodison but another solid midfield choice.  

Thoughts on the manager: I don’t rate Benitez as a signing. It’ll only take a couple of bad results and the atmosphere at Goodison Park will turn toxic. The board have disregarded the fans in appointing Rafa and sneaking him in to sign his contract during an England game was a reflection of how they knew they were making a mistake. On the flipside, Benitez has done a good job at every Premier League club he’s managed and if the fans can accept him he should at least do as well as Carlo Ancelotti. The fans are feeling betrayed at the moment and Benitez’s “small club” comments when he was Liverpool manager will come back to haunt him if things start to go wrong and hey, it’s Everton, things always go wrong. He needs to win the fans over fast. A bad start and it could be a long, painful season for all concerned. 

Worried About/Weakness of squad: At the start of last season it was Jordan Pickford. He kept making bizarre decisions. His form improved dramatically in the second half of last season but it’s always there at the back of my mind that he’s capable of doing dumb things. I’m also terrified that we’re going to get picked apart in the transfer market this year.  

Dream Transfer: It was always James Rodriguez so you can dream big! If Lio Messi fancied a nice friendly environment to run down his final days as a player we have a history of letting players come in and do just that. We can’t afford his wages though. 

Realistic Transfer: Denzel Dumfries. We were apparently interested before the Euros, because we don’t really have a right back to speak of (Coleman is old and struggling for fitness, Jonjoe Kenny hasn’t quite made it at this level). Can you imagine Dumfries on one side and Lucas Digne on the other? Bombing forward and terrifying the opposition defences, swinging crosses in for DCL? That would probably require a formation change and Benitez to want to do that. He tends to play four at the back. I guess we’ll find out soon. 

Player you fear leaving: I would be sad if James Rodriguez went to Milan without ever playing in front of an actual Everton crowd. I also worry about Richarlison being lured away to Real Madrid to play with Carlo Ancelotti. Calvert-Lewin is apparently being tapped up by Man Utd too. I could probably take one of those leaving but all three would be a disaster. 

League Expectation: With the investments made by Farhad Moshiri, I’m sure he’ll want to start seeing some results. Carlo’s worst league position before last season was sixth. Everton finished tenth but that was only three points off Europe and 10 points better off than the previous season. So there’s progress but considering where Everton were early in the season it still feels disappointing. Everton need to get back into Europe, even if that’s the Conference League. We should be aiming for top seven.  

League Prediction: I’ve been accused of pessimism. If we can retain our best players and Benitez can make things happen there’s no reason we can’t get into Europe. But this is Everton, so I’m predicting we finish eighth.  

Biggest Rival This Season/Love It If We Beat them: Liverpool! The one massive success of Carlo Ancelotti was winning against big teams. We won at Anfield for the first time since the 90s last season. A repeat of that, and in every subsequent visit, would be heaven.  

Any Other Comments about Everton: If Benitez can win a trophy or qualify for Europe then he’ll get the Everton fans on board. Especially the former. We’ve not won anything since 1995 and fans of other teams are very aware of that. Carlo targeted the EFL Cup and we came close last year. It’ll be difficult because the top teams in this country are all very hard to beat. If you want to win a trophy you have to beat at least one of them. Hopefully our fear of big teams has gone after last season and we can be competitive. I would take finishing mid table and winning the FA Cup absolutely every season. In Rafa we trust? Not yet mate, you’ve got to earn it.