By James Strudwick
Everton have made an impressive start to this season’s Premier League, with four wins, two draws and one loss in their opening seven games.
This might be a sign that good things are on the horizon for the Toffees after their disappointing 11th place finish in last year’s campaign.
Fans will be hoping that their strong start is a sign that they will be returning to the top four and will be bringing Champions League football back to the blue side of Merseyside.
Here are three players that have been a catalyst for their impressive start to the season.
Since joining Everton permanently in 2014, Romelu Lukaku has been constantly improving his goal output and quickly established himself as an important part of the team.
In his debut season as a permanent member of the club, he scored 10 goals in 36 league appearances.
The striker made an appearance in every one of Everton’s games last season, scoring 18 goals in the process.
Great win yesterday ??????? pic.twitter.com/DnA2Q2fkKt
— R.Lukaku Bolingoli10 (@RomeluLukaku9) September 13, 2016
Despite being linked with several clubs throughout the summer, Lukaku has stayed on at Everton and carried on where he left off last season.
So far this season the Belgian has five goals in six Premier League appearances, including an impressive hat-trick away at Sunderland.
The 23-year-old’s goals and influence out on the pitch will be a crucial factor in Everton’s bid for a top-four finish come the end of their Premier League campaign.
Everton’s promising start to the season has been largely helped by their defensive players, who have only let in five goals so far this season – the second lowest in the whole of the Premier League.
One of the players that has been a big part of this is their Senegalese defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye.
The Merseyside club picked him up for £7.1million from relegated Aston Villa during the summer transfer window and he has quickly become a hit at Goodison Park.
Idrissa Gueye’s Premier League season by numbers:
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 7, 2016
The midfielder has so far featured in all of the Toffees’ Premier League games and averaged 5.1 tackles per game.
Ronald Koeman will be hoping the African enforcer will be able to help keep the defence tight all season and cut down on the 55 goals they conceded last season.
As midfielder Gareth Barry starts his fourth Premier League campaign with Everton, he has been contributing to both the defence and attacking efforts of the team.
The 35-year-old has averaged 3.7 tackles per game, which has provided cover for Everton’s defence.
Not only has the English midfielder been helping out in defence, he is already off the mark with two goals for the club.
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 13, 2016
This gives manager Koeman a midfield option who can assist the team in both defence and attack in equal measure.
While Everton’s first seven games haven’t been up against any top-four sides, they have still made a good start to their Premier League campaign.
Everton face their first real test when the Premier League returns, with an away game at Manchester City.
If they can carry on the momentum of their good start into that game, they could be able to cause an upset away at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
If Lukaku, Gueye and Barry can continue on their form from the start of this season, Everton could be in the running to bring Champions League football back to Goodison Park next season.