Better Know Your Enemy: Royal Blue Mersey Edition

Clive Brunskill

It's back! You know it, you love it, it's the Q/A with SBN's Everton Blog Royal Blue Mersey!

1. Everton currently find themselves right on the verge of a European bid. How realistic do you think a European campagin in 2013 will be Everton? What kinds of reinforcements will you need to be bring in to avoid a (oh, I don't know....) "Newcastle Style" drop?
Funny you make that comparison, because Everton find themselves exactly where Newcastle was last season, in the thick of the European places and fighting to make a mark against the bigger-budget teams. Right now the injury situation is making things really tough, but a Europa League spot should be realistic for Everton; Champions League would be fantastic, and missing out on Europe completely would be a disappointment.

Reinforcements are mandatory especially right now. There is very little depth in the squad and the bench is very raw. A quality defender would be great, either a fullback or a centerback who is ready to start immediately would help. More depth in the midfield would be useful too, the drop-off in performance when Darron Gibson is not playing is very stark. The right wing position is another place where Everton could use a quality backup that can do some of what Kevin Mirallas does. And a striker that is Premiership-quality and can challenge Nikica Jelavic would be great too.

2. Everton has been consistently good for a very long time, but never great (see: City, Stoke or even Athletic, Wigan for further reference). Any hypothesis as to what makes this season different?

Everton have struggled to put together a complete season on a consistent basis. The last time they did, they played a Champions League qualifier, back in 2004-5. This year they were off to a hot start, and then struggled in the middle there for a bit when the injury bug first bit. A second half on the type they have put together over the last couple of years would ensure a high position in the table.

3. You crashed out of the Capitol One Cup against Leeds (the ghost of sexy Alan Smith is a very formidable thing, we at CHN understand this). Any thoughts as to your tactics in the FA Cup? Do you think you've got a better chance of qualifying through the table or the Cup?

God that loss against Leeds was frustrating, we were physically manhandled and harangued out of the game, much like Stoke City do, and we have in the past too. David Moyes is itching for some silverware, as are the rest of the fans. I'm sure he would want to field the best side possible for the Cup, but if Everton remain in that 4-8th place dogfight then his loyalties are going to be severely tested. What we would hate to happen is for Everton to spread themselves too thin and miss out on both fronts.

4. I hate to bring it up, but Marouane Fellaini is really, really good. Do you think he'll continue to wear Everton colors in 2013? What would his departure do for the club?

He very recently stated that he would like to see out his contract with Everton, which goes on till 2016. Fellaini is definitely cut out for great things, and the feeling is that if Everton are to mount a European challenge it will be on the Belgian's shoulders. However, if the Toffees begin slipping, it is very likely that Moyes will attempt to make the most of him and get a huge transfer fee out of him.

5. I think most SBNation's readership is American. What do you think of Everton's status as "America's Team?" Does it make you physically ill to be described in the same status as the Dallas Cowboys? Has Tim Howard has a pulse since 2010?

The American fanbase has been amazing - the readership at Royal Blue Mersey as well as on the Twitter account has been going through the roof in recent times. Everton were a huge hit when they traveled to the US in the summer of 2011, and we ardently hope they come back again very soon. As for Tim Howard, unfortunately it seems he has been reserving his best performances when playing for the USMNT. At this point he seems to have little command of his penalty box, and is also prone to about one big goof-up every game, which is what scares the crap out of Everton fans.

6. David Moyes is awesome. Do you think he'll be at Everton for the long haul, Fergie-style, or can you foresee your ownership pulling a Newcastle and saying you want a manager to "bring you to the next level?"

The only thing that will cause Moyes to leave Everton is Moyes himself. If he decides at some point that he is done with the paucity of the coffers at Goodison Park, then he might move on, possibly to Germany (a self-confessed admiration). However, I personally feel that Moyes will not want to go until he has won something with Everton, a matter of unfinished business.

7. PREDICTIONS! NEW YEAR! WHOOOOO!

This game would be so much more exciting if both teams were not devastated by injuries! There's a lot resting on Cisse's shoulders with Ba not playing today, while Fellaini will be returning from suspension today and could give the Toon defence all sorts of nightmares. 2-1 to Everton, in a scrappy affair.

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