Everton survived a relegation scrap by the skin of their teeth last season to retain their Premier League status.
Rafa Benitez’s tenure on Merseyside lasted until January before Frank Lampard took over. Between the pair of them, the Toffees won enough games to finish 16th, having dropped into the bottom three after 33 games.
Here’s 90min‘s preview of the upcoming Everton season.
The biggest news this summer has been the departure of Richarlison, who has snuck off to Tottenham for £50m. That leaves the Toffees squad light on goals, with Dwight McNeil the only attacking player to be brought in so far this summer.
James Tarkowski bolsters a shaky defence on a free transfer from Burnley alongside McNeil, but a bloated squad still needs a lot of trimming from Lampard.
Numbers subject to change before end of transfer window
1) Jordan Pickford
2) James Tarkowski
3) Nathan Patterson
4) Mason Holgate
5) Michael Keane
7) Dwight McNeil
9) Dominic Calvert-Lewin
10) Anthony Gordon
11) Demarai Gray
13) Yerry Mina
14) Andros Townsend
15) Asmir Begovic
16) Abdoulaye Doucoure
17) Alex Iwobi
18) Niels Nkounkou
19) Vitalii Mykolenko
20) Dele Alli
21) Andre Gomes
22) Ben Godfrey
23) Seamus Coleman (C)
25) Jean-Philippe Gbamin
26) Tom Davies
29) Ruben Vinagre
31) Andy Lonergan
33) Salomon Rondon
Everton needed a string of heroic performances from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to keep them up last season, and a similar level of form will be required from the England number one this time around.
While he can have his nightmare moments from time to time, Pickford’s shot-stopping ability and leadership from the back make him a vital part of an otherwise flimsy looking Toffees team.
One to watch
He’s well and truly broken onto the scene now, but Anthony Gordon has taken on the number ten shirt and will be looking to improve on his league goal tally of four from last season.
He mopped up at Everton’s award night, too – winning the men’s players’ player of the year and men’s young player of the season awards.
Everton will be hoping last season’s scrap with relegation was nothing more than an aberration, but Lampard hasn’t been able to sufficiently improve his squad so far this summer.
Richarlison’s departure is a blow to the Toffees’ attack, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin a decent Premier League striker but often falling foul to injury struggles. They also must improve at the back, having shipped 66 league goals last season.
Concerns remain on Merseyside over the quality at Lampard’s disposal and the manager’s own weaknesses, which could result in another painful but ultimately safe season.