EPL 2012-13: Can Everton maintain fourth place?


EPL: Can Everton maintain fourth spot?
London, Oct 10: Three teams are fighting to overtake fourth place Everton in the Barclays Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur, West Brom Albion and seventh place Arsenal, usually on top-four, are also closing the gap on the Merseyside club.

Everton have started brightly this season, unlike their usual way of hanging in the bottom half of the table. Their average finish in the past couple of seasons has been seventh place but David Moyes is now eyeing a Champions League spot after a brilliant start to the new campaign.

Their confidence has been boosted by the opening day home win over rivals Manchester United. The Toffees have not lost in nine home games in all competitions while their record in the Premier League this season reads W3 D2 L1. But can the Blues maintain this consistency against the bigger sides.

Moyes' side are yet to face teams like Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool while apart from the win against United, Everton beat the likes of Swansea City and Southampton.

Players like Marouane Fellaini, Leighton Baines, Nikica Jelavic and Leon Osman have contributed to Everton's success so far. With new talents emerging such as Kevin Mirallas, Steven Naismith and Seamus Coleman, the Merseyside blues have a blend of youth and experience with veterans like Phil Neville, 35, Tony Hibbert, 31 and goalkeeper Tim Howard, 33, still playing at top level.

The partnership between Steven Pienaar and Baines on the left has been key to Everton's success. Fellaini has also been vital playing in a more attacking role after the departure of Tim Cahill in the summer. The Belgian has scored three goals this season while striker Jelavic has netted four in six appearances. Jelavic, 27, has the ability to finish with one touch and finds himself in great positions inside the box.

However, it is early to say whether Everton can actually maintain the fourth spot as Tottenham and West Brom are equal in points with 14 while the Gunners are on 12 points and in sublime form after a slow start. Goal difference could be crucial while players fitness remains most important to compete at the highest level. 

Everton are currently only a point behind Manchester giants United and City who are on second and third place, respectively.

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