EPL Season Preview: Everton

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 12: The moment that Everton supporters worldwide joined the Emile Heskey Anti-Fan Club (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

Team Name: Everton Football Club

Nicknames: The Toffees, the People's Club

Location: Liverpool, Merseyside, England (Eastern England)

Ground: Goodison Park (Capacity: 40,157)

Manager: David Moyes has been in charge of Everton since 2002, making him the third-longest tenured manager in the Premier League and fourth-longest tenure in English league football. Under Moyes Everton have charged back from the brink of relegation to once again become a fixture in the top half of the table. Moyes is responsible for the nickname "the People's Club," comparing the City of Liverpool to his home city of Glasgow and by extension comparing Everton to Celtic and rivals Liverpool to Rangers, an interesting choice to say the least. Moyes is gifted at the development of younger players and making savvy purchases of younger players on the transfer market, using the financial rewards from their eventual sales to bigger clubs to stock the system with fresh new talent. In many ways Moyes follows the same model as Aston Villa under Martin O'Neill, with arguably more success.

Last Year's Record:

Premier League: 8th Position

League Cup: Fourth Round, lost to Tottenham Hotspur

F.A. Cup: Fourth Round, lost to Birmingham City

Europa League: Round of 32 (first knockout round following the group stages,) defeated by Sporting CP.

Brief History: A club with as proud a history of any in England save perhaps for their fiercest rivals, Everton are entering their 55th consecutive year in the top flight. Founded in 1878 and one of the original members of the Football League, Everton have played more games in the First Division than any other. The club have won nine league championships and five F.A. Cups.The Toffees' first period great success came in the late 1920s, winning the League in 1928 and again in 1932, just one year after being relegated. Everton won the F.A. Cup in 1933 and another League title in 1939. One of the great players in Everton history Dixie Dean starred for much of this time, and in the championship season of 1927-28 he set a record of 60 goals in league play, a record that stands to this day and seems unlikely to ever be seriously challenged. Everton went through a similar period of success in the 1960s, winning the league in 1963 and 1970 and the F.A. Cup in 1966.  

The club's true glory years, however, came in the 1980s. After the league title in 1970, Everton went through a long stretch of-to-lower table irrelevance, never truly looking to be relegation favorites but being far from threats at the title. That all changed with the hiring of Howard Kendall in 1981. Kendall led Everton to an F.A. Cup victory in 1984 and back to the top of the table the following year. The club would go on to win the Cup Winners Cup in 1985 and another league title in 1987. Everton might have gone on to greater European success, but due to the ban on English clubs following the Heysel Disaster they were denied the opportunity. The club would fall from the top of the table by the late 1980s and did not again rise to prominence until winning their fifth F.A. Cup in 1995.

Since the hiring of David Moyes, Everton have shown steady progress towards becoming a perennial fixture in European competition; their failure to qualify last season was their first missed opportunity to play in Europe since 2006-07.

Rivalries: Everton and Liverpool contest the Merseyside Derby, one of the most contentious in all of football. More red cards have been handed out in this fixture than any other in England.

Players to Watch:

Mikel Arteta:

Arteta is the engine that makes Everton's attack run, a dynamic playmaker with excellent dribbling abilities, lightning quickness and tremendous vision. While Arteta isn't himself a prolific goal scorer, he is extremely gifted in his ability to set up scoring opportunities for others and perhaps the most dangerous weapon in Everton's arsenal.

Jack Rodwell:

The 19 year old is widely regarded as a huge part of England's future, capable of playing as a holding midfielder and center half, and has more recently been deployed as more of an offensive weapon by David Moyes. Though still incredibly young and raw, Rodwell could be poised for a breakout. Everton is not necessarily counting on Rodwell in order to have success, but if the youngster is able to take a step towards stardom the Toffees could find themselves challenging for a spot in the top four.

Marouane Fellaini:

The 24 year old Belgian national was brought to Everton in late 2008 for a club record transfer fee of £15 million. A prototypical defensive midfielder, Fellaini has also seen time as a second striker at Everton. A fierce tackler, canny distributor and long-range threat from the rear of the attack, Fellaini began to finally show his promise in 2009-10  before a nasty tackle from Liverpool defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos led to a serious ankle injury that would sideline Fellaini for six months. Fellaini has progressed in each of his first two years in the Premier League, and if he is able to keep up his improvement the 2010-11 version could be a sight to behold.

Landon Donovan:

Just kidding.

A Villa Fan says..."Keep Delfouneso away from Fellaini, we don't need to lad getting any hairstyle ideas."

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