Talking With A Pack Of Toffees
1) ) The first game of the season wasn't the best way to start a campaign, but how do you think Everton have gone since then?
We've had a shocking season this year so far, absolutely dreadful. It shows how bad the standard of the bottom half of the league is, that if we win our game in hand we'll be 10th. We are badly missing Mikel Arteta, he is more important to us than Gerarrd is to Liverpool, or Rooney to United, or Drogba to Chelsea or Fabregas to Arsenal, he is simply by far and away our best player and without him we're just a mid table side really. We'll likely still struggle along until he returns, safe from relegation due to the shocking standard of the division but little more than that.
2) As we enter a new decade what was the best moment of the 'Noughties' as an Everton fan, and who scored the best Everton goal of the last ten years?
The best moment would be when Phil Jagielka slotted home the winning penalty in last years semi final against United in the FA Cup for me, but with very special mention to Dan Gosling's 118th minute winner also in the FA Cup last year against Liverpool, and Duncan Fergusons header against United in 2005 when we won 1-0 adding a new sense of belief we were going to secure Champions League football with our seasons stuttering until then, we promptly marched home ahead of Liverpool after that. As far as success goes a very poor decade for Everton, but there was still heroes in there.
3)Who would be your ideal signing in this current transfer window?
Difficult one this, so I'll give two answers. If we had a decent amount of money to spend I'd like to sign Steven Defour from Standard Liege and reform the Defour-Fellaini partnership that was so successful. However we don't have any money and will be looking at loan players, I'd love Manny Fernandes to return a third time on loan if possible.
4) If you could take any Arsenal player under the age of 21 (Cesc is 22) on loan for the season who would it be?
Difficult question this that involves me having to know how old some of your younger players are! I'll go with Keiran Gibbs as I'm almost certain he's under 21, and we only have one left back at the club.
5) Which Toffee should we fear the most this weekend?
Depends who plays, but Fellaini has been our best player by far for the last 8 or 9 games. Since finally playing in his proper position in central midfield he has really come on and is becoming every bit the £15 million player. If he keeps up this kind of form there's no chance we'll keep hold of him for long before a club like Arsenal or United take notice.
6) Most fans of clubs other than Arsenal often refer to our fearless leader as a whinger, moaner, voyeur and much much worse things, what is your honest opinion of Arsene, go on, be truthful, I won't hold it against you ;)
I have nothing but respect for Wenger, he's arguably the best manager of the Premier League era after Sir Alex (and of course Davey Moyes!). Although his policy of only signing young players my be starting to hold Arsenal back in my opinion, it's great when you see a young player coming through but sometimes you need a big name signing who is already brilliant not just potentially brilliant. Obviously Arshavin was signed at the finished article, and he is a fantastic player if you signed more players of his calibre instead of always looking for the 'next xxxx' you'd still be back to dominating sides like Chelsea and United again.
7) What are your hopes for Everton over the next 6 months?
All depends when Arteta, and to a less but also important extent Jagielka, return to fitness. Our final 10 games are Hull (H), Birmingham (A), Bolton (H), Wolves (A), West Ham (H), Villa (A), Blackburn (A), Fulham (H), Stoke (A), Pompey (H) for which we should have our key players back so I'd expect us to win at least 8 of them. If we can keep scraping a few results together until then, I still believe we'll finish top 6 with another good FA Cup run. We have Birmingham/Forest at home in the 4th round, and should have Arteta and Jagielka back by the 5th so there's every chance of us winning the thing.
8) Finally, give us a prediction for the game.
e owe you for the opening day shambles, but with missing too many key players it will be hard to win but I can't see us losing.
A big thanks to EvertonMike for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer these few questions.