A 'Good Going Rover' with Vital Everton
Ahead of todays big kick off we cornered Vital Everton's Mike (great name by the way, all the pros have that name I have been told) and asked him for his thoughts ahead of what will no doubt be another great season.
If you don't remember the drill then I'll refresh your memory... cup of tea, sit down for 10 minutes and enjoy -
1) So, ready for the big kick off? How have Everton gone in the transfer market?
It's been a fairly quiet transfer window at Everton, we've allowed Nash, Ruddy, Gosling and Jutkiewicz to leave (well allowed probably isn't really the right word in Gosling's case!), but the other three would have managed 0 appearances between them so are no real loss. We've brought in Jan Mucha the Slovakian keeper as back up for Howard, a very good signing on a free transfer really.
Jermaine Beckford also on a free transfer from Leeds, whose done the business in League One, it remains to be seen whether he'll be able to make the step up, but still a decent enough addition. Magaye Gueye is a young French forward we bought for around £1 million, and he's really impressed in pre season, certainly a step up from Gosling, can play on either wing, the Cahill role behind the striker or as a striker himself. We've also signed another young striker Joao Silva although I expect we won't see him around the first team just yet.
All in all we're ready for the new season, and there's a lot of optimism around the club that we could end up 3rd or 4th as well as bringing a cup back to Goodison in the coming season.
2) Any areas of weakness that David Moyes should tend to before the window shuts?
Ideally we'd spend big money on a striker and right winger, but we don't really need to. Up front if Saha and Yakubu stay fit and on form both are easily capable of 15-20 goals, Cahill playing behind the striker will also easily contribute 10-15 goals in a half decent season for him, and there's Beckford who could contribute.
On the right last season Anichebe showed lots of promise, and Bilyaletdinov has had an Everton pre season now so should be able to adapt to the league in general better. So the reality is we have at least 2 decent players for every position, and when they're all fit we'll be leaving very capable players out of the match day squad altogether.
3) Are there any Rovers players that you would like to see at Everton?
Martin Olsson, left back is one position we're a little short as well as left midfield so he could fill in at either role and would be a decent enough addition to the squad.
4) Are you a fan of the seemingly acquired taste that is Big Sam Allardyce?
Yes and no really, I wouldn't want him to be in charge at Everton, but I think he's an ideal manager for a club with a limited budget looking to push for a top 10 finish.
He gets stick for the style of play he generally uses, but he gets results and that's what really matters.
5) Can Everton realistically improve on last season, how do you see the season going?
We very much can, if the season had started in January we would have finished 3rd, whilst we only managed 4 league wins before Christmas, which is why we ended up down in 8th. We had a ridiculous amount of injuries last season, and regularly didn't have 11 senior players fit.
Going into this season with the likes of Arteta and Jagielka fit again, as well as Fellaini who missed the second half of last season, is a massive boost to the side. We showed in the second half of last season we can beat anybody, beating United and Chelsea in successive games, whilst beating City home and away comfortably.
I'm confident we can seal a Champions League place and a cup win this season.
6) I am going to steal the Vital Everton question... make the strongest team possible of Blackburn/Everton players with a maximum of seven from each side?
Robinson, Jacobsen, Heitinga, Jagielka, Olsson, Arteta, Dunn, Fellaini, Pienaar, Cahill, Yakubu
7) Everton to me have always seemed like slow starters to most campaigns before finishing strongly... is this a fair comment and if so is there a reason why that you can see?
Usually because we end up doing our transfer business right at the end of the window after the season has started.
Last season we also had the majority of our side injured, and in fact only had 8 senior players fit for the opening game, and one of those was a certain Joleon Lescott who very much didn't want to be there.
8) Finally, can I grab a prediction for tomorrow?
3-1 Everton, a close game but we really need a win so I think we'll get it.