After a disappointing season last time out, it was hard to predict what Everton were going to do in 2015/16.
But with Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku on form, Roberto Martinez has got his side playing and the Toffees look once again destined to compete for European football.
So what three things have we learnt about the Toffees after 13 games?
1) Ross Barkley is England’s leading ‘number 10’.
After a disappointing 2014/15, a lot of pressure was on Ross Barkley to showcase the talent we all know he has on a consistent basis this season. And it’s easy to say that the playmaker certainly hasn’t let anyone down so far. His link-up with fellow young talent Romelu Lukaku has been devastating at times, shown most recently in the 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa. With five goals and four assists in 13 Premier League matches, the 21-year-old has already surpassed his best figures from any other campaign and has established himself in the England side with some impressive showings in recent months. And with Wayne Rooney failing to fire for Manchester United, the Toffees’ latest star is currently the best choice to play as the ‘number 10’ at France next summer.
2) There is life after Leighton Baines.
Leighton Baines has been Mr Consistency and probably Everton’s best performer since signing from Wigan in 2007. so when news broke that the England man would miss the start of this season following ankle surgery, many Blues fans worried about the left-back position. But after 13 matches, and no sign of Baines’ return, 19-year-old Brendan Galloway has shown that there wasn’t ever any need to threat. The England youth international has shone in an unnatural full-back role, so much so that Baines will face tough competition for his place when he does return. Like Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham, Roberto Martinez deserves a lot of credit for throwing in his talented youngsters.
3) Arouna Kone isn’t a waste of space.
Labelled a ‘waste of space’ by many Everton fans in the past, which is quite harsh considering injuries restricted him to just 17 Premier League appearances in two years, Arouna Kone has finally shown why Roberto Martinez raided former club Wigan to bring the Ivorian to Goodison Park in 2013. Five goals and four assists in 10 Premier League matches shows the 32-year-old’s value to the Toffees. The forward has been asked to play out of position on the left but has been prepared to work his socks off and has provided the team with great balance. The fact supporters are now singing his name on match days shows how much he’s contributed.