City v Everton: Q&A with Royal Blue Mersey

Alex Livesey

A chat with fellow SB Nation blog Royal Blue Mersey for more info on the Toffees.

With City taking on Everton later today at the Etihad, we talked to Calvin from Everton's SB Nation Blog 'Royal Blue Mersey' for a closer look at the Toffees.
I also did a Q&A for them, which can be found here.

B&B: Unlike some of the past few seasons, Everton have had a pretty good start to the year thus far. What should we expect from the side going forward? Will the strong performances remain consistent?
RBM: Everton's good start has been coming for a few years. The current crop of players have been here for a few years now, for the most part. While not worldbeaters, most of the players are very strong in their own right and almost all the starting squad have international experience too. The biggest problem right now is putting together a 90-minute effort, and they're getting there.

B&B: Much of Everton's success and approach seems to revolve around Marouane Fellaini, who has been one of the standout players of the league so far. How worried are you that he might get snatched up by one of the big Champions League sides in Europe soon, and do you think there is any price that David Moyes would see fair for him?
RBM: It seems pretty clear that if Everton fail to attain a European football spot at the end of the season, possibly even a Champions League spot, then Fellaini will be moving on. There have been some murmur that he might be leaving in the January transfer window too, but the only way that will be happening is if the wheels completely come off the Everton wagon and they slip far down the table in December. As for the money, some thing in the range of £25-30 million will persuade Moyes to let him go.

B&B: Some popular faces like Tim Cahill and Jack Rodwell left the club this past summer, though Moyes has once again made some savvy moves in the market to add good players. What do you make of the new faces thus far?
RBM: Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas are key elements to the wing-based football that Moyes has installed at Everton, and both are game changers. Steven Naismith was brought in for forward cover and is a player of limited upside, quite easily replaceable too. Bryan Oviedo is another new face that has been quite impressive, and has shined in the couple of times he has played so far.

B&B: Injury and form situation at Everton currently? Do you think there will be any changes in personnel for Saturday's match?
RBM: Everton's campaign has been struck a bodyblow with the news that Leighton Baines has pulled a hamstring. Right wingers Mirallas and Seamus Coleman will also be out as will club captain Phil Neville who has had knee surgery. Star striker Nikica Jelavic has been in poor form lately, and as a result Everton have been slumping with only one win in the last eight games.

B&B: What's your score prediction for the match? Which positional battles do you think will be the most important?
RBM: With their injury issues, Everton are severely weakened and will struggle against City at the Etihad, I'm predicting a 2-1 win for the hosts. As for positional battles, I can't wait to see the aerial duels between Kompany and Nastasic versus Fellaini and Jelavic. Yaya Toure and Darron Gibson in the middle of the park could also determine the possession stats, and will be another crucial battleground.

Many thanks to Calvin for his time!

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