In the final part of our 2019-20 Premier League season player reviews, we look at the Everton forwards.
The one part of the Everton team that did seem to make some genuine progress this season was the Blues forwards. Several of these players in fact enjoyed their best campaign in 2019-20.
So let’s look in more detail at how the individuals who regularly featured up front for the Toffees during the past season, performed.
Everton’s Brazilian forward Richarlison had an excellent season despite all the problems surrounding him in a turbulent campaign for the club.
Richarlison had arguably been the Blues best player last season and went into this one as perhaps the most valuable individual asset in the team.
There were still rough edges to his game, but he had shown the potential to become a genuinely outstanding footballer with his pace, power and instinctive finishing. He had also developed excellent ability in the air as well.
The Brazilian began this past season well enough too but as the team around him struggled, so he found it more difficult to get the chances he needed and score goals. His frustration grew and became more obvious.
Again, as with so many of the Blues players, Richarlison suffered from the confusion and constant chopping and changing of personnel and positions under Marco Silva as he sought to find the right balance and revive the teams fortunes.
Despite these problems, Richarlison showed his faith in the club and put pen to paper on a new long-term contract just as the pressure on his mentor Silva began to really build.
Of course, eventually after a dreadful first half to the season, Silva was sacked and Everton began the search for yet another manager until Carlo Ancelotti succeeded him in mid-December.
Before Ancelotti arrived, Duncan Ferguson had been in charge and he changed the formation Everton played, to a 4-4-2. This meant that Richarlison was pushed up front alongside Dominic Calvert-Lewin as the big Scot tried to give the miss-firing Calvert-Lewin more direct support.
Ancelotti stuck with it and it seemed to suit both young forwards. While Calvert-Lewin started regularly finding the back of the net, the Brazilian was also thriving too and he was scoring regularly and in an increasingly clinical manner. He looked a happier player too under the Italian.
His good form continued after the season resumed in June as Richarlison continued to score regularly, although the goals dried up for his partner.
The Brazilian racked up an impressive total of 15 goals for the season and has made further strides to becoming a high quality forward and goal scorer.
One thing he does have to address is his occasional petulance and a habit of throwing himself to the ground theatrically. Having said that, God knows where the team would have finished without his goals, and for me he is Everton’s player of the season.
Former England youth international Calvert-Lewin is another young player who entered this season under pressure to prove that the potential he had shown as a teenager could be fulfilled.
There had been glimpses of this talent from time to time, but there was a persistent feeling that he wasn’t really good enough for the Premier League. Could he prove those doubters wrong?
Early on in the season it didn’t look like he would be able to, as Calvert-Lewin struggled to consistently score goals or indeed get in the right positions to do so. He seemed to lack any self-confidence and was very inconsistent.
In part this was a feature of Silva’s 4-2-3-1 system, which left the young striker playing up front on his own and often looking isolated. As a result, he was having to spend a lot of time playing deeper or looking for the ball as he lacked support. This meant he was rarely in the right place to get on the end of what chances his team mates were creating.
Then when Silva was sacked and Ancelotti took over, the team were now playing 4-4-2 and Calvert-Lewin had a partner alongside him in Richarlison.
With the Brazilian’s workrate and support, Calvert-Lewin could concentrate on finding better positions and getting on the end of chances being created. Almost overnight he started regularly netting for the team and looked a player transformed.
Although he didn’t score after the restarted season, let’s hope he can continue his improvement next season, assuming he is still a regular starter for Everton.
During the 2019 summer transfer window, the Blues were linked with a number of young forwards as the club searched for reinforcements and improved quality up front.
Eventually the player Everton settled on was a young striker at Juventus, who had just broken into their team: Moise Kean.
The Toffees paid £30 million for the young Italian striker and although he wasn’t exactly a household name, he was highly-rated so perhaps he could settle in quickly and provide much-needed additional firepower up front.
But of course this being Everton, those hopes were quickly dashed. Silva didn’t seem to be willing to give him much of a chance and he struggled to make any impact in the few opportunities he did get. In addition he had disciplinary problems off the pitch. Not exactly an ideal start.
So there were rumours soon bubbling up that he was unhappy at Goodison Park and wanted a move away in January.
Then came Ancelotti. It was hoped that one of the things that his arrival might help facilitate, was an improvement in Kean’s attitude and performances.
Initially, despite having his countryman in the dugout, Kean wasn’t getting much more of a look in or opportunities to play under Ancelotti.
However, due to injury to Richarlison, he got a rare chance to start when Everton hosted Newcastle United and he finally broke his duck scoring his first goal for the Blues.
He was beginning to show something of the pace and strength as well as finishing ability that had prompted Everton to sign him.
It didn’t get him a more consistent place in the first team though, and his future still seemed very much in doubt when the season was suspended in March. He scored again in the Blues final game of the campaign but it’s not clear if he will be at Goodison Park next season.
Turkish striker Tosun has had a difficult time at Everton since his £27 million move from Besiktas in January 2018.
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Despite his commitment and hard work, it’s been obvious for a long time that Tosun simply doesn’t have the quality to be a Premier League striker.He rarely got a chance to play despite the problems Everton had scoring goals, especially early in the season.
Then in January Tosun was sent out on loan to Crystal Palace where he promptly picked up a season-ending injury scuppering any chance Palace would turn that loan into a permanent deal.
Regardless, it does seem inevitable that Tosun will be leaving this summer, either on loan or if a buyer can be found for him.
That then is the rundown on how the Blues forwards performed this past season.
A real mixed bunch but in Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, Everton have two players who could, with enough chances, bag 30-40 goals a season and a young starlet in Kean who might still come good.