City clash with Everton at Goodison Park this coming Saturday (8:45 AM EST, ESPN2) in a fixture that has eluded City in recent years. I 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: 7 Points back of Chelsea for 4th but only 2 points behind Arsenal for 5th. Do you think Everton will be able to win the dogfight for 5th, with Liverpool there as well and West Brom hovering behind?
RBM: Alas, with little depth in the squad and the team looking very jaded, European spots of any nature seem very far-fetched now and we'll be lucky to win even the Battle of Merseyside, let alone get that 5th place finish. Away games to Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool will surely take care of that.
- B&B: Everton have been quite consistent this year with no real runs of poor form, so last weekend's loss at home to Wigan was a shock. What went wrong, and does the prospect of facing City next, whom Everton have performed well against in recent years and seem eager to play, help with the rebound?
RBM: Overconfidence seems to have been the biggest issue going into last weekend. The fanbase went into the game with Wembley visions in their eyes and the players appeared to have mentally joined them there even before the opening whistle. Everton were thoroughly outplayed by some astute game-planning from Roberto Martinez, whose side completely deserved the scoreline, and the semifinal spot.
- B&B: What's up with David Moyes and his contract? Is there really a risk of losing him this summer, or is the delay simply for footballing purposes, here and now?
RBM: Aha! That has been a big, big issue especially after the January transfer window. Moyes had postponed contract talks to after the window closed, as he wanted to see what he had to work with. Well, neither of the highly touted moves for Leroy Fer nor Manuel Negredo, or anyone else of significance came through, and yet Moyes refused to speak about the contract. Now it looks like he has lost command of the team, vocal leaders like Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka have missed time with injuries, Marouane Fellaini has already checked out of Goodison Park (mentally at least), Phil Neville is talking about the positives of a top ten finish, and the fans are in complete disarray. This is a team in crisis, and Moyes has done little to address it.
- B&B: Injury and form situation at Everton currently? Do you think there will be any changed in personnel for Saturday's match?
RBM: Like I mentioned, Howard and Jagielka are injured so Jan Mucha will be between the sticks and Johnny 'Never-On-The-Spot' Heitinga will play in defence, which should be enough to cause Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko paroxsyms of laughter as they ponder scoring hattricks and more tomorrow. Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman have looked very good lately on the right wing and should continue that form, but despite their service striker Nikica Jelavic remains colder than a Scandinavian witch's left tit, so Joe Hart should sleep well tonight and during the game.
- B&B: What's your score prediction for the match? Which positional battles do you think will be the most important?
RBM: It'll be interesting to see what reception the home players walk out to tomorrow, considering the boos that rained down on them as they crawled off last weekend. This game has the potential of rapidly devolving into a rout if City hit their groove early and Everton are left chasing shadows. 3-1 for City I'd say, and Kun Aguero must be cursing the football gods that prevented him from playing tomorrow.
Many thanks to Calvin for his time!