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EVERTON

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LAST SEASON AND THE STARTING POINT BEFORE 2016/17:

Everton finished 11th in the Premier League last season. Their 2015/16 will go in the history books for just one reason - it was their worst performance on home soil in the clubs' history. The Toffees' defending was shambolic at times, while Romelu Lukaku was their shining light with his 18 goals.

After the turn of the year victories came few and far between and Everton were struggling. The Toffees only managed to win once at Goodison Park in the first three months of the year, and even that win came against eventually relegated Newcastle United.

The Goodison faithful became more and more disillusioned with manager Roberto Martinez as the season wore on. The Everton board eventually gave in to the fans' wishes and sacked Martinez before the final game of the season. They ended their season on a high thanks to a 3-0 win against Norwich at Goodison Park under interim manager David Unsworth, who normally works with the youth team.

The biggest achievement Everton managed in 2015/16 was a semi-final appearance in the FA Cup. Their journey in the world's oldest club competition was cut short by Manchester United after a 2-1 defeat at Wembley. United went on to win the trophy.

In June, Everton announced the arrival of Ronald Koeman as their manager. Koeman spent the last two seasons at rivals Southampton.

KEY PLAYERS:

The only player who doesn't deserve much flack for last season out of the Toffees' defence is club captain Phil Jagielka. Jagielka has been at the club since 2007 and his spot in the starting eleven is secure.

In the middle of the park Gareth Barry's pace has fallen below Premier League standards, but he has learnt to make up for this with clever positional play. Often criticized, Barry remains an important part of Everton's starting eleven and is also vice captain at the club.

Ross Barkley had a good 2015/16, as the youngster netted eight goals. We expect more progress from him in the season to come.

The star of this Everton team is without a doubt striker Romelu Lukaku, who on his day can settle games almost single-handedly. If Everton are going to be successful in the season to come they need to keep hold of him.

Going forward Arouna Kone (5 goals last season) and Kevin Mirallas (4 goals) also deserve a mention.

EXPECTATIONS:

Expectations aren't particularly high at Everton after two disappointing 11th place finishes in the past two seasons. New manager Ronald Koeman hasn't made any significant changes or additions to the squad and the squad remains mostly the same.

The only major change for this season is between the posts. Tim Howard has ended his long stay at Everton, leaving for his home country and the MLS. This means that Joel Robles will be first choice in the Toffees' goal.

Everton are set for yet another mid-table finish.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 

Romelu Lukaku will most likely pick up were he left off last season. The Belgian powerhouse kept Everton afloat by himself at times last season. However, he chooses to leave Merseyside Ross Barkley will be forced to pick up the mantle of club talisman.

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