By Paul Conatzer
Everton start this season in the same place they ended last season, in London, as they travel to Crystal Palace after finishing last season at Spurs.
However, it will be a different Everton team to face Palace than last season. A younger and faster squad. While pessimists will point out Everton failed to bring in a centre-back and missed out on Wilfried Zaha on deadline. On balance, it would be difficult not to say Everton had a good window as Marcel Brands proved his mettle in the market again.
Despite not being able to make Kurt Zouma’s loan move permanent, Everton manager Marco Silva has said he is pleased with the six new players (Alex Iwobi, Moise Kean, Djibril Sidibe, Jean-Phillipe Gbamin, Fabian Delph and Jonas Lossl).
He told the club’s Official Site.
“When you plan the window, our target is always to improve the squad and provide better solutions. In this moment our squad is deeper than last season. I am happy with what we have done.”
The club did lose tenacious midfielder Idressa Gueye to PSG, but bought Gbamin to replace him and added Delph to add depth to the midfield. Morgan Schneiderlin is also going to be part of the club’s plan. Gbamin can also play centre-back.
The most exciting new player is striker Moise Kean. The Italian international joined from Juventus and has pace as well as an eye for goal. Most observers believe he won’t start against Palace, though.
Palace manager Roy Hodgson told the club’s website that while Zaha is upset at being forced to stay at Palace, he will play against Everton despite just returning from the African Nations Cup.
Palace did lose right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United in a £50 million deal. It’s not known if Palace new arrivals Gary Cahill and former Everton midfielder James McCarthy will play or not.
In last season’s visit, Everton drew 0-0 with Palace.
The Blues didn’t have the best of pre-seasons, struggling for goals and wins. But, everybody is back and expect more from Everton as they seek to break into the Top 6. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been given the talismanic No. 9 shirt and is likely to start against Palace.
Prediction: Everton wins 2-0 and will finish fifth this season.