Date:Thursday February 8 2007
In keeping with efforts on this site, Vital Blackburn Rovers is proud to bring you another interview. This week the editor of the Vital Everton site sat down and answered some questions about Rovers, Merseyside`s so called smaller club and the up-and-coming Premiership fixture.
Everton will be looking to exact revenge for the drubbing they felt at the hands, or more to the point feet, of Rovers in the F A Cup third round. It would appear the key to them emerging successful this time will be a quicker defence led by one of the season`s bargain signings, Joleon Lescott.
If Arteta and Carsley can combine well in the midfield, Evertonian`s will be hoping to see more football to the feet of leading marksman Andy Johnson.
However, it has the makings of a fiery and open contest that could go either way.
Enjoy the interview with Thomas below.
Well your side sit a place and two points ahead of Rovers in the league before this clash at Goodison but overall how do you feel your season is going?
As I expected it too, to start with an incessant rage for a perfect start, which we got - we won at spurs for the first time in 20 years (2-0, 20 years to the day), then vanquished the kopites (that`s Liverpool to Rovers fans) to their rightful place (the gutter!) with a 3-0 win at Goodison. Since then however it has snagged. We`ve lost concentration far too often, especially against home and far subordinate teams- letting Micah Richards get away from Davie Weir to dispatch a last minute equaliser and against Wigan scoring only for them to TWICE equalise straight afterwards………its been a season of missed opportunities…its starting to take a familiar trend - soaring at the start, sagging towards the end. We seem to find it difficult to beat the 'bread and butter` teams of the league, hell we couldn`t even beat Reading at home! Players are being played out of position, and AJ (5ft 6inches) is having long balls humped up to him…….the tactics are starting to be found out.
What are Everton`s ambitions for the remainder of the season?
Realistically To do better than we did last year……that is finish top 10, but really I think a club of Everton`s stature and stand.
What was your response upon hearing Rafa Benitez`s derogatory comments about Everton?
That he must be brain-dead and he obviously hasn`t seen our honours list and History……hell Liverpool were created out of breaking away from us, so some say 'We Are Their History`. A typical example really of somebody who needs more English lessons to be fair………..and on the subject of 9 men behind the ball - on that at least he did have a point - it did irritate me sitting in the lower Anfield Rd after going to every match this season in excitement of this upcoming match, that we weren`t even giving the game a good go, we should`ve been more positive. But just because were defensive away from home doesn`t mean we are a 'small` team - Helena Herrera`s Inter Milan became the biggest club in the world with the ultra-defensive 'Cattenacio` - they`d score one then shut up shop. The kopites and Rafa would say little clubs like Reading/Watford came to Anfield and played attacking football …………did they win? No, so maybe Moyesy is vindicated on this one. Rafa also got another thing wrong - yes we did do the same away to Arsenal but there we actually TOOK THE LEAD and only drew because Van Persie sent a meteoric shot from a free kick into Howie`s (Tim Howard) net.
Basically he had a cheek and is very ignorant of our history.Fat Spanish waiter.
How is A J doing this season? He made a terrific start but has since slowed down a little, which has ultimately seen you drop down the table a bit, why have the goals dried up?
The lads been unlucky with injuries, is too unselfish for his own good (runs round tirelessly for tackles instead of getting in the box to score goals) and lately we`ve seemed to insist on humping long balls up to a lad who told me that being so small he had to have his car customised to reach the pedals! So tactics have played their part of late in not helping him, which also brings in the 4-5-1 formation side of things, its always hard regularly scoring goals being on your own up front. Put it this way, it he beats Beattie who just sulks and walks round the pitch when he misses a chance/doesn`t look like scoring………AJ is a natural goalscorer when on form so the goals will come.
Does he dive a lot?
Look, David Moyes sent video off to the premier league panel of referees of 9 incidences where AJ didn`t receive a penalty - either because at the time the ref adjudged him to have dived /not a pen……….ALL NINE videos watched the panel agreed NONE Where incidents of diving. Arsene Wenger hasn`t helped sticking his tongue into things, getting the whole unwillingness from refs to give the lad a penalty.
Everton have brought in some interesting faces this season to compete with your existing solid squad, but who has stood out in this campaign?
Joleon Lescott. The fact this lad isn`t in the England squad tells you about the squads bias to pick players from London teams. So good and confident on the ball for a centre back and mature beyond his years, his timing has been excellent and he never looses his cool when rushing back when an opposing player is one on one with Howie to make that great last ditch challenge……many a time he has been our driving force and maybe Moyes best signing ever.
What is the deal with James Beattie? He has the talent but doesn`t seem to be showing it at all at Everton. Does he have the backing of the fans or would you rather see him leave?
He`s pushing 30…….so his market values decreasing by the minute. He`s been walking round the pitch of late sulking when things go wrong. It simply hasn`t happened for him at Everton - which may I add is a great shame for a talented player, but I think he needs to leave.
Who is your most invaluable player?
Arteta and Carsley when there on form……maybe even Hibbert. Arteta because he gives us that bit of flair and confidence going forward and he adheres to the 'school of science` ethos, and Carsley because he offers us stability and gives the midfield licence to roam forward……..having Hibbo back from injury helps because we ain`t had a natural right back for a while or as a good a tackler.
You`re about to face a Rovers side that thrashed you in the third round of the F A Cup, a result that surprised many, how do you think the Toffees will respond?
You only have to read Stubbs comments to see that a backlash may be coming, they are hurt and want revenge to put that terrible day and performance to bed. You must understand, teams like Everton don`t let teams like Blackburn come to their patch and wallop them into oblivion and settle for it.
What is your impression of Mark Hughes` current Rovers squad?
One that is quietly making inroads into becoming a good team, but I still cannot totally accept the image of Rovers as a 'big club`. The teams a good mix of young and old - Tugay/Bentley and with a good manager like Hughes at the head things can only get better.
Rovers had four different goalscorers that day and two of them are part of our form group at the moment, how will you contain the likes of Gamst, McCarthy and Bentley?
With a more pacey defence then we had on that day.
If you could have a single Rovers player in your team who would it be and why?
None of them are good enough for Everton………at a push Pedersen.
Finally, what is your honest prediction for the game?
Rovers to nick it at 1-0!
Best of luck and regards to Blackburn Rovers
Nil Satis Nisi Optiminum
I would like to pass on my thanks to Thomas for taking the time out to answer the questions and share his views on the game and Rovers.
Date:Thursday February 8 2007
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