Koeman’s Everton: Dare We Start To Get Excited?

So, 5 league games in and we are in second place with 4 wins and a draw. We may have played a lot of the bottom clubs, but at the same time so have Man City and no-one is saying they aren’t the real deal. Although they do look very good. Even that scrawny kid at the back who normally makes so many mistakes.

What does this mean though. Should we get excited about the fact we look so much better? Have we just got lucky with the fixture list? Personally I’m fairly negative about our chances after so many years of failure. I’ve just been reading “highs lows and Bakayokos” which hasn’t helped. How many false dawns did we have in the mid-nineties?!? We have some great momentum at the minute and that’s what got Leicester started last year. Why not us?

Things do generally look like they are getting better though. Goodison has been given a makeover due to Moshiri clearly thinking it looks awful at the moment. Rumours are that we have bought the land around the Docklands ahead of a new stadium being built – how awesome would that be? And the players seem to really be up for this.

One of the big criticisms of Martinez’s side was that we weren’t fit enough and organised. We had a lot of pointless fancy passing going on but not much else and we were knackered by 70 minutes. Koeman is steadily changing that. We are fitter, more aggressive, very much more organised and have a plan!

Steve Walsh’s recruitment is already starting to look pretty good, mixing new and determined faces not scarred by the Martinez era with some of the talented players we had there already. Williams is looking like the leader we desperately needed. I wasn’t impressed when we bought Bolasie but he’s been fantastic, constantly being a threat and wanting to be involved. He’s also turned out to be Lukaku’s best mate and is clearly one of the reasons why Big Rom is feeling happy at Goodison again. He might even sign a new contract. Wonder if that was in the club’s mind when looking at the player?

Who else did we bring in?…

Someone asked me a month ago who my favourite Everton player at the moment was. I found it really tricky to answer. All my favourites had under-performed last year and others were actively looking to leave. I couldn’t actually answer it properly.

Not a problem any more. Step forward Idrissa Gana Gueye. When we signed him I was utterly underwhelmed but my Villa –supporting friend was gutted. He told me that we’d essentially stolen him (I won’t tell you the exact words he used…) and that he’d run the midfield for us. What, that scrawny player who was in the Villa midfield and took them down??

I think we all know that he’s started brilliantly. No-one is talking about Kante any more as a key midfielder. Many are even suggesting that Gueye was always better than Kante now when looking at the stats. Could he have the same effect on us that Kante had on Leicester? Not in terms of winning the league (I won’t get carried away there) but when pushing us forwards in contention for Europe. He was everywhere yet again against Middlesbrough, breaking up play, intercepting the ball and setting up chances. His stats are miles better than any other player in the league in terms of defensive duties. Brilliant. He’s re-invigorated Gareth Barry too which is great news for us.

Of course things aren’t perfect. The first half of the match at the weekend was pretty poor for the first 20 minutes or so. Up until they ‘scored’ actually. Incidentally, why did Stekelenberg just punch the ball clear instead of trying to catch it? After that the crowd were pumped up and so were the team, but other, better teams might take advantage of such slow starts. You could be three down to Man City after 20 minutes the way they’re playing.

The great thing is that whilst Martinez might have ignored it and spoken about ‘incredible moments’ Koeman is having none of it. He knows that things aren’t right yet and will be brutal in his attempts to be successful. The way he dealt with Barkley was brilliant and got him back on track. This is Koeman’s interview for one of the world’s biggest jobs let’s face it. Yes, I know we’re a big club but I’m talking about Barcelona or Man City – regular Champions League clubs.

He’s determined to be successful. We’re very lucky to have him.

Tonight sees Norwich City at home in a game that we should find easy, especially as my Norwich sources (bloke I sit next to at work) tell me that they’ll play their reserves as normal. We’ll also have one change in that Lukaku is out with Valencia playing. Should be interesting to see how he gets on. A couple of goals would be fantastic for him and us, especially as we still shudder at the thought of Niasse and Kone being our reserve strikers…

I reckon we’ll win 2-1 after going a goal down. A late debatable penalty or deflected winner for us, possibly AET. You can get decent odds of a 2-1 win at 7/1 from Bet365 plus a £200 welcome bonus.