After a mediocre start to the season in which Marco Silva had to narrow down his massive squad to find the players that best suit his new system and philosophies, Everton have managed to put together a strong run of form, climbing to sixth in the Premier League at the 13-game mark. At that point, Everton marked the top of ‘the rest’ of the league, with Arsenal five points ahead in fifth and sixth to tenth all within four points of each other. With five wins, one draw, and a 2-1 loss to Manchester United over their last seven league games heading into the Merseyside Derby, it appeared as though all was starting to go Everton’s way.

However, while sitting in sixth, the Toffees were still rated at 4/1 to finish the season in the top six, with seventh-place Manchester United at 1/4 to claim a spot in the top six ahead of them. But, when looking at the way that the two teams are trending, perhaps Everton shouldn’t be such long shots to land a place in the coveted top six.

Everton players continue to improve

Source: The People’s Club, via Twitter

Despite needing to prioritise sales over purchases in the summer transfer window due to the inflated state of the squad, Everton still made some huge signings with Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina, and Andre Gomes (on loan) all coming in from Barcelona alongside the likes of Richarlison, Bernard, and Kurt Zuma on loan.

Digne and Richarlison made an immediate impact, and while it took him a little longer, Yerry Mina is looking like a top-class buy in a position that many of the big teams in the league needed to fill over the summer – most notably Manchester United. With immense strength, determination, poise, and technical skill, Mina is proving to be well worth the weight, even earning praise from pundits like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, as seen here.

Another late arrival in blue has been Mina’s Barcelona teammate Andre Gomes. Needing to sit out for a couple of months to recover from a hamstring injury, Gomes has quickly gelled in the Everton midfield, proving himself to be capable of controlling the pace of Premier League games. After such a strong start, people want to see the Portuguese midfielder signed to Goodison Park on a permanent basis, but, if you read here you’ll see that Marco Silva is playing the waiting game on that front.

Everton are on the rise and are already sitting in sixth, making their odds of 4/1 to stay there looking very appealing. While they do lack a true, scoring, designated striker, as shown by winger Richarlison being their top-rated player to be the top goalscorer in the league at 50/1, teams can make their way into the upper echelons via a stingy defence.

With so much going right for Everton at this stage of the season, while it seems to be going wrong for Manchester United who desperately need their defenders to step up as Everton’s have, it’s not hard to see why people click here to use a free bet to back Everton for a place in the top six.

If Everton can keep their momentum, avoid major injuries, and perhaps add some depth in January, they may even be able to push for the FA Cup as well, for which they're currently at 20/1 to win.

However, it could all come down to the transfer window.

The winter window could dictate the odds for sixth-place

Manchester United have the resources to bolster their desperately weak defence if they purchase the right players that manager Jose Mourinho needs, which could edge them ahead of Everton. However, if key players continue to perform for Everton and others keep on improving to create more competition in blue, there may not be a need to spend in the winter window.

In the Premier League, the key to having a strong campaign is being hard to score against: it’s the main reason why Manchester United finished second last season. As the team has started to gel and become more organised in the understanding of Marco Silva’s strategies, Everton has become a team that’s hard to score against, with only four goals against in the seven games leading to the Merseyside Derby – after letting in 11 in the six games prior. United, on the other hand, have only kept two clean sheets this season - against Burnley and Crystal Palace.

Unless something very unexpected for Jose Mourinho in the winter window and he gets his wish of some new defenders - and they instantly solve the team's defensive issues - Everton look poised to battle for sixth place long into the season.

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