Ahead of the visit of Everton this weekend, TEB had a chat with the guys at Toffee Analysis on the season for far for Everton and thoughts ahead of the game.
Q. What did you make of the game at Goodison earlier in the season?
We were extremely lucky. Palace have always caused us problems and even though we had most of the ball, you had created the best chances up until the last ten minutes. Two late goals must have been a killer, especially after Palace were well in the game up until that point. A challenging but even game, a similar sort of match to what I’m expecting when we travel to South London.
Q. How has the season been for the Toffeemen?
A rollercoaster. After a fairly decent start to the season, we went through some horrible winter form and produced some dreadful performances. It’s bizarre to say, but both Merseyside derbies were catalysts to losing and building form. From Pickford’s blunder, we fell quite far down the table but after a great performance at Goodison, we’ve been unstoppable at home and against the top clubs. Overall, this season was always supposed to be a transition season after the worst campaign I’ve ever lived through – we both know the effects of Sam Allardyce.
Q. Do fans think the club should be back challenging the top six sides in the Premier League, and if so, how far off that do you think they are?
I believe there’s a good percentage that do, but we’ve got a long way to go. Silva’s tactics are bizarre, against teams that have the ball we are rampant, defend and attack as packs and can play at 100 miles per hour. However when the game is a lot slower and we have a lot more of the ball, we struggle to create effective chances. The club is far from breaking into the top six, even though we’ve made steady progress. Marco Silva’s next challenge is to make us more adaptable and capable of breaking down teams in multiple ways, something I believe we can do.
Q. Who has been the stand out Everton player this season?
Easily Lucas Digne. He creates a majority of our chances, scored some belter goals (including free kicks against Burnley and Watford, as well as his volley last weekend to Manchester United). Out of all the signings Marcel Brands made in the summer, he’s been by far the most consistent and the most important. A fit replacement for Leighton Baines, who was bossing our left flank for years.
Q. What are you expecting from Everton in the summer?
We’ve had two summers of spending a huge amount of money, one much more successful than the other. I’m expecting us to be quiet, but there’s a few positions and players that will be dealt with. Idrissa Gueye was heavily linked with Paris Saint Germain back in January, a £30million bid which I would’ve happily accepted. For us, a priority has to be another central midfielder (preferably, one who can pass forward) as well as a right-back to ease the game time on Seamus Coleman.
Q. If you could pick one Palace player to sign, who would it be and why?
Pretty sure a lot of fans would go for Wilfried Zaha for obvious reasons, but for me, it’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka. He is absolutely immense. Never seen anyone boss a game as much as when you came to Goodison, was a big reason why we struggled to create chances. An incredible breakthrough season and a defender with serious potential.
Q. Name a player from each side that you believe will be a threat in this game?
Wan-Bissaka vs Bernard is going to be the most interesting match up. Our left flank is easily our most strongest, so that is certainly going to be an intriguing battle. Bernard is such a gifted player, he’s got incredible skill and agility which is starting to flourish after a long-period adjusting to the club. Having seen Christian Benteke break his drought against Arsenal, he stands a great chance at scoring again. Benteke has scored a few in the past against us, but Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma are both strong in the air.
Q. Perhaps you could share your opinions on Palace this season?
I’ve always enjoyed watching Palace. You’re a tough team to break down and have certainly produced against the top clubs (beating Manchester City and Arsenal in their own back yard is something Everton haven’t done in years). Overall, beating the top clubs is great but it means nothing if you can’t beat the clubs around you and remaining consistent. Palace can easily challenge for a higher place in the table, especially with some quality players in the ranks.
Q. Your Prediction?
A tough game. Expect Everton to control possession which isn’t necessarily a good thing. If you can keep us slow and press our midfield, you’ll get the advantage. I’m going for a 1-1 draw.