Ex-England manager Sam Allardyce believes Everton will break into the top six at the expense of either Manchester United or Chelsea this year, with both clubs expected to endure difficult seasons due to their shared reliance on youth.
The experienced manager spent six months as boss of the Toffees in the 2017-18 campaign, and has gone on record as saying that Manchester United or Chelsea will be the one to make way in the top six and relinquish their stranglehold on European football to Everton.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has made a conscious effort to go younger with his squad this term, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James both becoming vital cogs in the Red Devils‘ machine despite their relative young ages (21 each).
The experience of Alexis Sanchez (30) and Romelu Lukaku – an eight year Premier League veteran despite being only 26 – has been forgone in favour of the burgeoning talents and potential of forwards Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
A similar story has unfolded under Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge, albeit due to a wholly different set of circumstances.
A 12 month transfer ban has caused the Chelsea legend to turn to the promise of academy graduates Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount among others, with early teething problems evident by their solitary win from their first five games across all competitions so far.
This lack of experience is the main reason behind Allardyce’s declaration that Everton will crash the traditional big six’s party this campaign.
Speaking exclusively to TalkSport, Allardyce said: “I think Everton should break into the top six and if they’re going to break in, this is the season to do it.
“You’ve got the difficult situation at Chelsea and I feel at Manchester United as well.
“United have gone even younger than Chelsea have with their squad this year; they’ve trimmed their squad down to the smallest number of experienced players I’ve probably ever seen.
“I think Man United might find breaking in a bit of a struggle, so will Chelsea, so that gives an opening and an opportunity for a team like Everton.
“I don’t think Wolves will do it because they’re in Europe for the first time in a long, long time and that will take a toll on the squad, as we saw with Burnley last year. It’ll be difficult for them.
“But certainly Everton, with the spending power they’ve had over the last few years and the players they’ve bought.
“There are probably only three or four players who still play on a regular basis from when I was there for a short period.
“They’ve changed the team that much and have spent heavily in the market again.
“So I expect Everton to break into the top six.”
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