Match CentreOpposition View

The Everton View

Ahead of a trip to Merseyside for the Eagles, TEB had a chat with Sean Lunt from popular Everton fan site Royal Blue Mersey to find out about the season so far and the match this weekend.

Q. What did you make of our encounter earlier in the season which ended with the points shared?

In the end it was what happened after the game that ultimately made the last encounter an interesting one. Oumar Niasse’s ban for diving, which is still a ridiculous decision, was far more intriguing than the actual game which was an average affair all round.

Q. How has the season been for Everton since that game?

At one stage it looked like Everton’s season might turn around. The arrival of Sam Allardyce saw an upturn in form, Everton rise up the table and any fears about relegation subside. However, a miserable winter period, culminating in that awful 5-1 loss to Arsenal last weekend, has left the campaign looking like it will be as miserable as everyone anticipated.

Q. Was it the right decision to sack Ronald Koeman?

Ultimately, it was. Koeman is a decent manager and proved as much at Southampton and then Everton last season. This year, though, he had gone off the rails. His team selections were odd, the tactics weren’t there and frankly the players weren’t playing for him. Leaving him in longer would have been disastrous.

Q. What have fans made of Sam Allardyce and is he the right man for the job?

At first the fans were willing to accept Allardyce, he was brought in to avoid relegation and was doing that. He fixed the defence, got points on the board and even managed an away win (the club’s first in eleven months no less). However, the tide is very much against him now. That poor winter period has seen him go peak Allardyce with last week’s defeat to Arsenal culminating in him openly criticising the players and refusing to take the blame. At the minute, most Everton fans are sick to death at the lack of humility Allardyce shows and coupled with the performances the team have put in under him, don’t want him to stay beyond the summer.

Q. Did the club do the business you expected in the January transfer window and are there any areas of the squad that have been neglected?

For the most part, Everton did quite well in January. They added the striker they needed in Cenk Tosun, they added some much-needed pace and experience in Theo Walcott and they added a left footed centre back in Eliaquim Mangala. However, it’s not all rosy. The failure to add a left back to the squad, the weakest position in the group beyond the centre forwards, was negligence of the highest order. It means that Everton are left with Cuco Martina, a right back by trade, playing in the position and hoping Leighton Baines comes back sooner rather than later.

Q. Explain in no more than 140 characters how the last ten years have been for the football the club.

At times Everton have looked like becoming a Premier League force however when has come to do so, they’ve failed time and time again.

Q. What do you make of Palace so far this season?

It’s hard not to feel a little bit sorry for Palace at times. It was a bold decision to go with Frank de Boer and it was a shame that it didn’t work out. They have, though, impressed under Roy Hodgson since then and it’s quite remarkable that they now only sit four points outside the top ten. Perhaps the season won’t be as miserable as it looked like being after ten games.

Q. Name one player from EACH side that you think the opposition should consider a real threat.

For Palace, they should definitely be wary of Theo Walcott. The forward has made a bright start to life at Goodison Park and seems determined to prove his doubters completely wrong. After the disappointment at the Emirates last week, he’ll be even keener to leave his mark on this game.

With Wilfried Zaha out injured, it’s hard to pick a man from this injury ravaged Palace squad. Christian Benteke is definitely a man to watch, though. He’s been in poor form and received a bit of criticism of late and will be keen to bounce back as soon as possible. Everton have struggled up against target men this season and he could take advantage of it.

Q. Your prediction?

It’s hard to see Everton not coming away with all three points in this game. They’ve been good at home this season and injuries have ravaged Palace heading into the clash.

Everton to win 2-0.

Q. And finally, please tell us more about the sites that you work with and any projects you may have in the pipeline.

Royal Blue Mersey is an American blog and part of the SBNation group. It is run by people from all walks of life, mostly American with a couple of English guys thrown in for good measure. One thing that unites us all and that is our passion for, and knowledge of, Everton Football Club.

At the moment we’re focusing on improving and growing our coverage on all aspects of the club, for example this year we’ve started to cover the ladies teams on a more regular basis as well as all the other on-going factors off the pitch. We’re also focused on growing our social media presence so we can reach out to as many global Evertonians as possible.



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