There is just one day before the new Premier League season kicks off. That means it’s prediction time.
BBC Sport’s chief football writer, Phil McNulty, has submitted his attempt, trying to guess where all 20 teams will finish in 2021/22.
Everton finished 10th last time around and McNulty thinks they’ll end up in exactly the same place come May 2022.
McNulty thinks they’ll be sandwiched in between David Moyes’ West Ham and Leeds.
“Remarkable goings-on at Goodison Park where Carlo Ancelotti jumped ship for Real Madrid, paving the way for the most controversial managerial appointment in Everton’s history,” he wrote.
“Former Liverpool Champions League winner Rafael Benitez will need a good start to win over those opposed to his appointment while trying to bolster a thin squad working within Financial Fair Play restrictions.
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“It may be that Benitez’s hands-on training ground approach, allied to his renowned organisational skills and tactical acumen, will work better with this group of permanent underachievers more so than with Ancelotti’s relaxed style.
“Last season brought away wins at Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs, but defeats at home to Fulham, Sheffield United and Newcastle United among others. Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray will add to Everton’s threat but so much rests on Benitez.
Everton had a flying start last season before slipping out of the race for European football altogether.
If Benitez doesn’t have a quick start to this campaign, it’s tough to see him lasting until May.
It doesn’t feel like there’s much optimism going into the new term, and the Benitez situation is the main reason.
It’s interesting that Everton can lose a world-class manager, much such a controversial appointment to replace him and be in need of at least two signings but still be tipped not to change their league position at all.
Maybe that’s an indicator of the financial imbalance in the Premier League or maybe it’s just the fact that Everton remain too good to go down but haven’t invested well enough to challenge for Europe.