Opposition view: Everton

By Ric Turner, Fri 04 October 2013 13:53

Opposition view: EvertonEvertonians Daniel Kidd (GrandOldTeam.com) and Love Everton Forum give us the lowdown on the opposition

What are your expectations for this season?

DK: A transitional season, but maintaining 6th and a competitive FA Cup Campaign.

LEF: Initially I was expecting a difficult season based on the typical kneejerk fan reaction to hearing my team were to be coached by a relegated group of perennial strugglers, but now the initial shock has worn off, we're actually not that bad, and my confidence in their ability to maintain a level of quality has risen. I now expect us to remain the 'best of the rest' at the very worst, and hopefully be there if other teams trip up.

Are you happy with the manager?

DK: Absolutely. Roberto Martinez has come in and instantly instilled a new air of optimism. He's saying all the right things and he's been decisive in the transfer market, wasting no time at all to bring in Arouna Kone, Joel Robles, Antolin Alcaraz, Gerard Deulofeu before a remarkable transfer deadline day to bring in Gareth Barry, Romelu Lukaku and James McCarthy.

LEF: Still on the fence I have to say. He's certainly a nice enough guy, and that is in his favour regarding the fans, but as a manager, time will tell, and he'll need to have a few seasons to prove himself. He is certainly a very positive coach which I like, and as long as we remain competitive, and good to watch, he'll get that time, and the patience of the fans.

Who are your key players?

DK: Difficult to look past Leighton Baines as our key man, and the new lads, particularly Barry and Lukaku are looking as though they'll be 'key' to the immediate season. Barry composes and steadies that midfield, allowing a platform what looks like will be a fantastic partnership between Barkley, Mirallas and Lukaku.

LEF: If I were pushed, I would say our best assets are our Fullbacks Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines, as when they play well the team play well. I think without them, Martinez would have to rethink his whole system.

Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?

DK: Yes. Martinez assured fans that Everton would have a stronger side when the window closed, and he ensured that wad the case. It was a shame to lose Fellaini but that one always felt inevitable, and all things considered, thanks to David Moyes' classic dithering and missing Fellaini's escape clause deadline, we look to have secured a good deal at £27.5m. Barry was an inspired signing, to pick him up on a loan and potential future free, not to mention Lukaku looks to be tremendous business.

LEF: No, if I'm honest. Our loan players are wonderful, but they are not our players, and take them out of the equation and the remaining 4 additions are quite underwhelming. Martinez has shown that he has faith in his former players, (Robles, Alcaraz, Kone, McCarthy) which is all well and good, but with the exception of McCarthy, they are not likely to improve our starting eleven, and replacing Fellaini with McCarthy is a huge gamble.

Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?

DK: John Stones. Go and YouTube John Stones+Penalty+Juventus. You won't regret it...

LEF: Ross Barkley, Seamus Coleman, and John Stones immediately spring to mind, and the young loan player Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona looks like a player, as does the equally young Lukaku.

Your Achilles heel?

LEF: Midfield for me at the moment. I look at our match against City, and see 2 'new to the team' young lads in Barkley and McCarthy with a huge responsibility on Saturday, and Barry is ineligible, Pienaar injured, and Gibson 50/50. Osman has been underwhelming since his England call up, so I'd like to see further investment in this area.

If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?

DK: Yaya Toure. Genuine world class.

LEF: The obvious one after my midfield comment would be Yaya Toure but age is always a factor for Everton, so David Silva and Sergio Aguero.

What is your perception of City as a club?

DK: Indifferent. Clearly, some tremendous footballers, particularly in Toure, Aguero and Nasri who can be a joy to watch and it has been good to see a Club try and step out of their neighbours shadow. I don't think you'll capitalise on the current shenanigans at Old Trafford and I do think you'll be "settling" for 2nd place this season, I'm not convinced Pellegrini was the right appointment.

LEF: Slightly detached from the club I knew, and a little disorganised with all the ins and outs. It strikes me that you are preparing for the English weather by investing in shorts and T-shirts, as your managers and many of your players have little experience of Premier League football.

Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?

DK: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Gibson, Mirallas, McCarthy, Barkley, Osman, Lukaku & 1-1.

LEF: If Mirallas and Gibson pass the fitness:
Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Mirallas, Gibson, Osman, Barkley, McCarthy, Lukaku

Head: City 2-1
Heart: Either team could totally destroy the other on their day so 1-3 Everton