G'day mates! Time for Newcastle to get back in the swing of thing on Monday. We sat dawn with the brilliant Calvin of Royal Blue Mersey, SBNation's resident Everton blog, to discuss the upcoming match.
1. Everton kicked off the season with a phenomenal trouncing of ManU. I have two questions here. First, do you think Everton over-performed, ManU under-performed, or something in the middle? Second, how did you pull that off?
For your first question, probably a bit of all three. Everton came out absolutely pumped up and ready to play, determined to overcome the hoodoo of previous bad starts. The Goodison crowd was phenomenal too. United were obviously not ready to play that day, they had major injury issues in the back line and didn't look quite match ready.
The key to success against Man U. is a combination of hard work, grit, and good luck. They will always win the battle for possession, so you just have to pressure them into making hasty decisions with the ball in midfield. Moyes' tactics were spot on that day, he knew the depleted defence would be weak in the air and Fellaini took advantage of that to score. United had their chances, with a couple of glaring misses, but fortune favors the brave and Everton were braver on the day.
More brilliant insight after the jump!
2. Obviously, the Toffees were also brought down to earth a little bit by West Brom right before the break? What went wrong in that game? How do you rate West Brom to the rest of the league now that your side has squared up against them?
Everton were beaten by the better team that say. WBA showed more invention were quicker to the ball all afternoon, and fully deserved their win. The Baggies are my pick to be this season's Newcastle. A mostly unheralded side, they are equal parts solid and skilled and will pull off quite a few surprises this year, culminating in a top 8 finish.
3. In your opinion, how realistic is European Competition for the Toffees next year? Do you feel you have better chance finishing in the top 6, or that you'll be better suited making an aggressive push in the Cups?
Very realistic. If Everton keep up their current level of intensity and if the injury gods stay away from this locker room there is no reason they won't be in contention for positions 4-6 behind City, United and Chelsea.
I'm sure Moyes won't forsake the Cups, they remain his best crack at some silverware and you won't see him naming too many reserves in the starting lineups, especially in the latter stages.
4. Moyes is celebrating a decade at Everton. At Newcastle, after some decent and sustainable success under Chris Hughton, we unceremoniously ditched our man in order to "push the club to the next level." What is the fan pulse about Moyes, and perhaps more pressingly, his future at the club if Everton continue to finish in the Top 10, but not push for Europe? Basically, is sustenance in the mid-table good enough for you?
While it's still early in the season, another miserable start would have really put some pressure in David Moyes. Everton fans do understand that with the limited budget he has, the expectations have to be tempered. Consistently finishing in the top half of the table is good, but now the fanbase wants more, and it starts with a spot in the Europa League. However, without new ownership and a cash infusion, it is unlikely that either Moyes or anyone else brought in to replace him can turn this 7th place side into a top 5 side.
5. Do you mind explaining what that thing on Fellanini's head is? Has he been your MVP? Whata re your hopes for keeping him at Everton long-term?
Marouane Fellaini is a modern day avatar of Samson, and the secret to his skills lie in his coiffure. The season is young and already we have seen good Fellaini and bad Fellaini - against United he was unstoppable, against West Brom he was invisible. For MVP so far, I would have to say there are some unsung heroes like Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar who are also deserving candidates. Fellaini apparently courted some controversy this week, though I'm not sure how much of that was due to a loss in translation. He is reported to have stated that he wants to play European football, and was looking to move on in either the January transfer window or at the end of the season. If he maintains his current level of play, it will become extremely difficult for Everton to retain his services, despite being on contract through till 2016.
6. Finally, a prediction for the match on Monday? Men in Blazers have taken to calling it Nouveau Chateaux v. Standard Everton F.C. (in respect to the French and Belgian influence, respectively).
Haha, I like that.. in fact Everton had a loan attempt of another Belgian midfielder Vadis Odjija-Ofoe rebuffed right at the deadline by FIFA, or else that would have been three Belgians at Finch Farm. The last time the two teams met at Goodison it was hard to tell Newcastle were playing like there was a Champions League spot at stake. With the injuries Newcastle have, I expect Everton to come out strong, dominate possession and pull out a 2-1 home win.