Examining Everton's Start to the Season

Examining Everton's Start to the Season

Despite their surprising loss against Bournemouth at the weekend, Everton have had a fantastic start to the new season.  Ronald Koeman has come in and won four out of his first six matches in charge, putting Everton in fifth.

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After the last two seasons under Roberto Martinez the Blues will be happy just to stay out of the bottom half this year, but they have had a genuinely impressive start to the season.  We’ll take a look at their start, see where they have improved, and to what degree it could continue.

After an opening day draw against Tottenham, Ronald Koeman’s side ripped off four straight wins against West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City, Sunderland, and Middlesbrough. The streak then came to a halt with their 1-0 loss to Bournemouth, but it’s still a very good start to the season.  Now of course, it is a good start to the season, but it does have to be taken into account that it’s been against a pretty weak schedule.

Looking at their attack, Everton have started the season very well.  According to Whoscored.com, their 15 shots per game is the eighth most shots per game in the Premier League and they have the second most shots on target per game with 6.5.  For all the attacking talent last season, Everton weren’t always able to harness it and only took 12.9 shots per game with just 4.6 of them going on target, according to Whoscored.com.

From an individual aspect, Everton have got star man Romelu Lukaku going.  After a 13 club match goal drought, the Belgian striker bagged an 11 minute hat trick against Sunderland and then followed that up with a goal against Middlesbrough.  On top of that Whoscored.com says his 2.6 shots inside the box per 90 minutes is the fourth most in the league this season, among players with at least 300 minutes played.  Yannick Bolasie has also started his Everton career well, with two assists, averaging 2.0 key passes per game, and 2.4 dribbles per 90 minutes, according to Whoscored.com.

While the offence has shown early improvement, Ronald Koeman’s biggest challenge was fixing the defence.  Koeman improving the defence would be no surprise though.  In his two years at Southampton, the Dutchman’s sides conceded the second fewest and the seventh fewest shots in the league.  Early signs for that look good.  Everton are yet to concede multiple goals in a Premier League match this season, after doing it 15 times last season.  After conceding the third most shots per game last season, Everton have conceded the fifth fewest shots so far this year.

As far as sustainability, their early numbers look pretty sustainable.  Their shot numbers are looking good at both ends.  The big question is whether Everton will be able to sustain their form, and can do what they’re doing now against a tougher schedule. Four of their opponents, West Brom, Bournemouth, Sunderland, and Middlesbrough are all expected to be in the relegation zone by the end of the season, while Stoke have had an appalling start to the season.  Tottenham are the one true top half team they have played and they did play well, but it will be interesting to see if Everton can keep their form up against the better teams.