Alleged Manchester City target, and Everton’s bargain of a lifetime Tim Cahill has called out his team’s on-paper “superiors” for this year’s Premier League competition.
Manchester City are the firm favourites to be the next team to break the “big four” mold, followed in contention by Aston Villa and Tottenham – who complete what the more spontaneous pundits consider to be a “Power Seven”.
However, The Toffees, led by their prolific midfielder, seem to have other ideas. Speaking to The Mirror (the newspaper, not the one in his bathroom), the £2m man from Millwall is evidently entering this coming season with great expectations:
“I’m very, very confident about this season, everyone can see our potential. It’s important to keep our form going from last season. The only reason why people are talking about Manchester City – and Tottenham – is because they are the ones spending the money.”
Despite relinquishing their unbeaten pre-season, with an unusually flat performance in Wolfsburg, nobody has changed their mind about the season largely seen by Everton fans as a “watershed” between Europa League respectability and Champions League/Premiership glory.
Although talk of a tilt at the title is arguably far-fetched at this point, until yesterday Everton had not lost a game of any description since 28th February (2-1 at Tottenham) – arguably top four form.
Had those throw-away draws at Birmingham, Aston Villa and at home to West Ham United been wins, they would have finished above rivals Liverpool and qualified for the Europa League in their place. Goodison was also a fortress last season, with a Premiership best of only two home defeats in a possible nineteen – one of those the 1-6 mauling against Arsenal on the first day.
Even more pleasing is the overall Premier League record against Manchester City. Everton did the double over City last season, have won their last three visits to Eastlands, and overall they have been victorious against The Citizens in 13 out of 24 games in this competition.
The blue side of Merseyside will be bereft of European action in 2010-11, but this is widely considered to be a blessing in disguise. With eleven first team players out of action at the start of last season, the threadbare squad was greatly fatigued with eight Europa League games before Christmas, including trips to the Czech Republic, Belarus, Portugal and Greece.
If Everton are to win domestic silverware, be it the FA Cup, Carling Cup or (just for the insanely optimistic) the league title, then the rest provided by an absence from Europe and a fully fit squad, the dividends paid could be unthinkable.
Just don’t lose to Oldham or Shrewsbury in the FA Cup…
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