Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Tuesday December 22 2009
1) 15th in the league, not the season you hoped for?
Not quite no! It's been nothing short of a shambles from the summer transfer window to the 'defending' throughout this season. We've obviously had injury problems which haven't helped matters, but yet another season of having to sell a star player to be able to buy anyone has been our biggest down fall. We haven't won at home since September and have played far too defensively against average sides at Goodison meaning we've consistently dropped points, I still expect we'll finish 8th or 9th in the league though once we turn it around, largely because a lot of the sides are utter rubbish in the bottom half so a few wins would put us right back up there.
2) What would be your perfect answer to the bad start you have had so far?
Mikel Arteta returning to fitness would pretty much solve all our problems, he is by far and away our most influential player and has been badly missed this season. Missing our captain in Neville, our player of the season last year in Jagielka, and selling our player of the season from the year before in Lescott as well as having Yakubu (usually 20 goals a season guaranteed) struggling to find form after a 10 month lay off hasn't helped either. But should Arteta return the same player he was pre injury, it will solve most of our problems.
3) You must be crying out for new players, any in particular coming to Goodison Park?
Landon Donovan is joining on a loan deal until this MLS season starts, there's high hopes he'll do well here and will provide a vital extra player in a squad when we've regularly only had between eight and twelve senior players fit this season. Moyes has apparently set his sights on another 3 loan players, with central defensive cover expected to be a priority.
4) Is there any fault being pointed towards Moyes and his staff for the poor start or simply bad luck?
Moyes negative tactics haven't helped us, but he's lucky we have an utterly hopeless board who take all the blame. The fact he hasn't been able to spend more than he has sold players for, is where most fans lay the blame. Obviously Lescott for £24 million is great business by any standards, but how far will we ever progress selling off our best players? Most fans are expecting it's only a matter of time before Pienaar and Rodwell are cashed in on.
5) How do you rate Sunderland this season so far?
Worryingly good at home as far as us traveling up there next goes! It's frustrating to see teams like Sunderland who a few years ago we were miles ahead of, passing us by now as they improve their squad each year while we at best stand still. Wherever he goes Darren Bent will score goals, I hoped we'd sign him last January when he wasn't getting games but we couldn't afford him and with him scoring regularly if a few others start to chip in there's every chance Sunderland could push on for a top 8 finish. But having said that your as close to 20th as you are 7th right now, the league is ridiculously tight in the bottom half, a bad run could see you be dragged right back down to our current level!
6) Who would you pick out of our squad to walk straight into your first eleven?
Difficult one this as I'd say Bent would be your best player but if Yakubu is fit, along with Saha we don't really need a centre forward. I'd probably say Richardson for a bit of pace out wide, or Cana as we had been linked with him for years before he went up north.
7) What are your expectations for the Boxing Day fixture at the Stadium of Light?
We'll probably lose, and go down fighting playing hoof ball in the general direction of our strikers. Both teams aren't in great form, but our poor form has lasted longer, much longer. Some fans think we turned a corner with the comeback against Spurs, winning in Athens and then getting a draw against Chelsea away. But we have firmly turned back around that corner by throwing points away against Birmingham.
8) This is a must win game for both clubs, what is your prediction?
See my interview on Vital Everton
Vital Everton Interview
Date:Tuesday December 22 2009
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