EPL: It's be sweet for Toffees, Saints

EPL: It's be sweet for Toffees, Saints
Arsenal's Theo Walcott celebrates his goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Manchester City at the Etihad stadium in Manchester, northern England December 14, 2013.

SINGAPORE-Our analyst tells Gregory Loo how the teams just out of the top four will fare.


Position: 5th*

Paul's grade: A

Prediction: Top six

While the Toffees have an added dimension this season, they've done very well, mostly thanks to former boss David Moyes.

Even though Roberto Martinez deserves credit for tweaking their attack, he isn't known for his defensive nous as former club Wigan conceded 73 goals and were relegated last season.

Goals by Romelu Lukaku (above) may have helped them do well, but their rise also has a lot to do with them keeping it tight at the back.

Martinez has built on the foundation laid by his predecessor, who made the Toffees very hard to beat during his 11-year spell.

Should the funds be available, Martinez should capitalise on Everton's position and invest wisely when the transfer window opens next month.

While Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka are a solid pairing at the heart of defence, they could use some cover.


Position: 6th*

Paul's grade: B+

Prediction: Ninth

While their French legion, led by Loic Remy (above), are marching on, Newcastle are certainly flying high.

But I can't help but feel that sixth place is as high as they can go this season because they've been punching above their weight.

Even though things are going well, the Magpies are perfectly capable of self-inflicted harm and I think they are due to hit a bounce soon.

Alan Pardew could certainly do with defensive recruits to shore up Newcastle's perennial weakness at the back, but attracting top players to the north -east has always been difficult.

Moreover, Magpies' owner Mike Ashley is unlikely to loosen the purse strings without any cash flowing in first.

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