View From The Road End: Everton

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Ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby at Anfield, we get the opinions of Alex Walker, who runs The Everton Forum.

everton_lfc

We also responded to similar questions put forward by Alex, the responses can be seen here.

Q. How do you think your season has gone? Have you done better than you hoped before the season started?

Before the start of the season there was talk of Champions League places on the horizon. I thought with our squad that we’d probably just miss out. When you look at the squads of Arsenal and Tottenham (who I thought we’d be competing with), the difference in the first eleven isn’t too much, but the substitutes bench is a different story. When we need a goal, we bring on Steven Naismith. When Spurs or Arsenal need a goal, they bring on Adebayor, Sigurdsson, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski.

Q. What’s been the most pleasing part of your season?

We haven’t lost many games. Losses really ruin a weekend, but fortunately we’ve only lost 6 games in the league all season. Only the two Manchester clubs can better that. We’ve fared better against better teams this season by actually having a go at them for once, and although we didn’t get the wins we needed at the time, at least it’s progress.

Along with this, we’ve been outsiders for the Champions League all the way up until the recent loss to Sunderland, and that really is fantastic for what we spend in comparison to those we are challenging.

Q. And the most disappointing?

You can’t look past the 3-0 loss to Wigan, at home, in the FA cup quarters. The worst 5 minutes under Moyes by far. You lot don’t get tired pointing out of how long we’ve waited now for Silverware, and this year was another great chance gone by. If we’d beaten Wigan, we’d have played Millwall in the semis for guaranteed Europe, and then Man City in the final, who we have a great record against. We’d still have probably bottled the final, but still, it would have been nice to get there and have a go.

suarez_dive_celeb_everton

[sws_pullquote_right]”Jelavic can’t control a football, let alone score a goal.” [/sws_pullquote_right]Q. A year ago many Blues were telling us Nikica Jelavic was better than Suarez. Discuss!

Well, whoever those Blues were must have had one too many bevvies!

The thing about last season’s comparison was that although Suarez was still an amazing player, he lacked the consistency in goals to put him in the world class bracket. Jelavic wasn’t a very good all round player at all but scored goals for fun.

Compare them this season, Suarez is a 30 goal striker and still incredible to watch, whereas Jelavic can’t control a football, let alone score a goal.

Saying that, I may p*ss off a fair few Liverpool fans here, but I wouldn’t have Suarez in Everton‘s side. I was having this argument with my dad who would take him in a shot, but I just feel he’s too much trouble and takes the class out of the club. I mean biting, diving (I’ve seen 19 different GIFS of diving incidents) and the racism incident (I actually don’t think he’s a racist in the slightest, but you handled it terribly wrong in my opinion) have made you so much easier to hate in recent years.

Q. Do you want Moyes to stay, and do you think he will?

I’ve been a huge Moyes fan over the years and still continue to be. There was a stage in this season (after the Wigan defeat surprise surprise) where I and a lot of Evertonians said they wouldn’t care if he left. He’d bottled one too many games and we’re not going to win Silverware under him.

After calming down since then, and talking to many opposition fans and pretty much all of them say what a fantastic job he’s done, I returned to my Moyes loving ways. He has us competing with other teams with a much smaller budget, you know with Moyes that you’re going to get 100% in the majority of matches and he keeps Everton alive with a Chairman who puts no money into the club.

I genuinely can’t tell what he’ll do. I thought a couple of months ago that he was a goner, but then changed my mind when he was talking about ‘he’ll stay if he sees progress’, which I feel we have made. In recent weeks he seems to have slumped into his chair again, and talking about Germany once more, so who knows?

Q. If Moyes does go, who would you like to see replace him?

It’s a tough one this. Martinez seems to be the choice among many Evertonians. I’m not so sure. I think he’s a good manager but lacks the consistency that Everton need. His teams can go on 7 or 8 loss runs and that wouldn’t work at a club like Everton.

For me there are two options. The first is a foreign manager that will play good football. If there was any chance for Laudrup I’d snap him up in a flash. Another option is to go to the lower leagues again, and if you look at the managerial record of Eddie Howe, I think he deserves a chance.

Whoever we go for, I hope Moyes has a say, because I don’t trust Bill Kenwright. Bill was going to employ Gary Megson before Walter Smith had his say.

Q. Without Suarez, who do you see as our biggest threat?

The obvious one is Gerrard. Always has a great game against us and always scores against us.

I’d also be looking at Coutinho and Sturride. Two great January acquisitions. Coutinho looks like he’s going to be some player, he can pick a beautiful pass out that can change a game. With Sturridge, I think you’re bound to get a minimum of 10 goals a season and more if he plays regularly.

A final one is that man Jamie Carragher. I’m sure when I was watching you on TV recently that he hasn’t scored since like 2006, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he scored a last minute winner in front of the Kop in his final derby.

Jamie Carragher

Q. How do you expect to line-up on Sunday?

Before January I could give you the quickest answer. Now it’s more difficult. In recent weeks Fellaini has been deployed much deeper, with Barkley getting more time on the field. Everton need Gibson to be fit, he can transform our game.

I’d expect:

Howard
Coleman Jagielka Distin Baines
Gibson Osman
Mirallas Fellaini Pienaar
Anichebe

Q. Predictions?

Hmmm. I’d be a brave man to go for an Everton win, with the record we hold at your place.
Therefore I’m going for an exhilarating 2-2 draw. Fellaini and Mirallas for us, Sturridge and Carragher for you. A red card for Mirallas too (he likes to lunge in).

@Moderndaylister is my personal twitter account if anyone wants to pick me apart. @TheEFCforum is our forum twitter account if anyone wants to have some friendly ‘banter’.

Thanks to Alex for his quality responses to our questions. You may also want to check out the following articles on his site: ‘Who is the better team?‘ and ‘Merseyside XI‘.

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