As we enter the cold blustery month of December, Everton ,as has been the case in many past seasons, is once again poised just above the relegation spots in 16th place with 16 points. While Everton are certainly not in any immediate danger of relegation considering they sit only 4 points out of 7th place. The problem is as always, the lack of proven goalscorers in this years squad. Of Everton's 17 goals during this campaign, 8 of them have been scored by Tim Cahill, and 3 by Mikel Arteta. Only 2 goals have been scored by actual forwards this season, 1 by Jermaine Beckford, and 1 by Yakubu. Last years leading goalscorer Louis Saha of 14 goals has yet to find the back of the net, while so far Beckford has wasted numerous opportunities and Yakubu has been an enigma for the past few years totaling only 9 goals in the past 2 seasons. Even the return of Victor Anichebe will not quell Evertonian fears as despite Anichebe's promise he has only scored 7 goals in his 76 first team appearances. As always Blues fans must place their trust in David Moyes ability to secure a youngster at a low price, or that the funds can be procured to buy a quality striker.
A lesser known, but equally disturbing trend for Everton is just how dependent Everton are on Leighton Baines to supply them with the ball when they do score. So far Baines has been responsible for 6 of the teams 10 assists in the EPL (SIB!). While Baines has certainly been a force on this team, it is extremely unsettling that creative men Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar have been more quiet than usual. Many people including David Moyes had been hopeful that because Piennar was in the final year of his contract that his play would be spectacular in hopes of securing a free transfer to a prestigious European club in either Germany or Italy with teams such as Inter Milan, Juventus, and Bayern Munich rumored to be interested in his services. As for Arteta, while his play has been exceptional at times, it has also been lacking in some games, none more so than the weekends fixture against West Brom where he received a red card and subsequent 3 match suspension for stomping on a player. Granted it wasn't a particularly nasty stomp, but Arteta should know better than to do that, especially in front of the benches. Needless to say that if Everton plans to make their traditional run up the table then they will need the creative qualities of Piennar and Arteta in order to do it.
One topic that always gets Everton fans excited is talk of the youngsters who can come in and help out the first team. As always this list is topped by Jack Rodwell, who although only 19 has made 48 appearances for Everton, and is now returning from an ankle injury that has kept him sidelined since September. Although mainly a defensive midfielder he was deployed in more of an attacking role last season to great effect and looks to make the jump to regular first team starter, and possibly a full English international soon. Followed up by Rodwell is defender Seamus Coleman who is being described by many as a slower version of Gareth Bale, but he is still very raw, with only 10 appearances in the EPL as of this season, although he did spend the second half of the last campaign playing for Blackpool on loan, and helped them achieve promotion. Many people are very keen on Coleman, but as he has shown in several recent appearances he is not quite ready to become a regular first team player and can use some seasoning, possibly on loan to a lower EPL team, or maybe back in the Championship. The final youngster that has Evertonians talking is Shane Duffy. Many people will remember Duffy as the kid who almost died playing football when he lacerated an artery near his liver in a collision with the keeper during a practice match with the Republic of Ireland. Duffy is a stout central defender at 6 foot 4 inches, and could become a natural partner to England international Phil Jagielka in a year or two. Currently Duffy has resumed playing in reserve team matches and looks set to go out on loan to a Championship side come January 1 with Barnsley, Leeds, and Southampton all said to be interested. Although it may be a while before we see Duffy playing regularly for the first team, he is one of those players that David Moyes rates highly, and in the end In Moyes We Trust.
For all of you that managed to read all of this congratulations, you earn nothing except an imaginary cookie, and some knowledge about the Everton attack. Hopefully before Saturday I will be able to round up the Everton defense 15 games in, and look at the upcoming fixture list for Everton and just who may be coming to join the Blues. In the meantime COYB!