Keep Your Enemies Closer: Everton

Stu Forster

Questions and answers with Everton blog Royal Blue Mersey

Newcastle United play Everton at Goodison Park on Monday, and we sat down with SBN's Everton blog, Royal Blue Mersey, to preview the match. MaxMaz was kind enough to answer questions from our community, as well as some others that I posed to him. Below is a transcript of the conversation.

Coming Home Newcastle: What is Lukaku's status for Monday's match? Was playing him Wednesday after an apparent concussion a good idea? If he's out, how will Everton respond?

Royal Blue Mersey: It looks like Romelu is going to be OK, he's a tough lad! I think playing him against Fulham was a good chance to start getting him match fit and adjusted to playing with the team.

CHN: Do you think Leighton Baines is salivating at the opportunity to make runs at Mathieu Debuchy, who has been inconsistent defensively this season? What will Everton's main point of emphasis be on the offensive side of the ball?

RBM: As great a player as Baines is, and I do think he's now playing at a level where you can class his as great, we've now got multiple threats. Where as before we had Baines and Pienaar creating everything, last season Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman broke through and provided pace and direct running on the right hand side, in the second half of last year taking over from the left as our principle threat. Now you can add Ross Barkley to that, he's been direct and incisive in these early days, plus there's our Barca prodigy Deulofeu as a wild card from the bench.

CHN: Which of your players hasn't been receiving enough praise for his play this season?

RBM: Seamus Coleman is continually under appreciated outside of the club. Over the last twelve months he's grown into a swashbuckling attacking fullback, almost a carbon copy of Baines, his attacking play is more productive, and defensively he's improved his positional sense.

CHN: How would you describe the start to Everton's season? How long will they go unbeaten?

RBM: It's great to be the last team unbeaten but to be honest we've had a bit of a mixed bag. The opening three draws were disappointing but not totally unexpected with a new manager and evolution of our style. The Chelsea win was definitely an 'Everton' performance and it's great to see we still have that determination. And it was great to hear from the players that the team talk Martinez gave at half time made the difference to our second half performance. I believe there's much better to come though.

CHN: What matchup are you most looking forward to on Monday?

RBM: It'll be interesting to see how our fullbacks get on against your wider players. Ben Arfa impresses me and if he plays a bit wide it might reduce our attacking threat from there, if he plays in the middle it'll be a fascinating battle with Gareth Barry who has been outstanding in his two games so far.

CHN: What lineup will Roberto Martinez name? Who would you pick?

RBM: Martinez has been pretty consistent so far and you can't argue too much with his league selections. For me, Jelavic has been awful and will certainly miss out to Lukaku, and Steven Naismith is just not up to Premier League standards. In the game against Chelsea his knack of popping up at the right place at the right time masked the fact he is shocking at passing, with a horrific 51% success rate in that game. My team would be - Howard; Coleman, Baines, Jagielka, Distin; Barry, McCarthy; Mirallas, Deulofeu, Barkley, Lukaku in a 4-2-3-1

CHN: What is your prediction for the match?

RBM: Tough one, gotta go for 2-1 to the Blues.

My thanks to MaxMaz for taking the time to answer these questions. Check out Royal Blue Mersey for all things Everton, and check back here at Coming Home Newcastle for match day coverage.

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