Today we spoke with our sister site Royal Blue Mersey and their writer Trent Nelson to catch us up on all that’s been happening with the Toffees.
BB1: Could you summarize the first half of the season for us at Everton given the recent changes, well, just about everywhere?
Absolutely. After the thrilling way in which the club stayed in the Premier League at the end of last season, everyone knew it would be a battle to get back to the level we had played at for most of two seasons ago. Players were purchased, loaned for and signed by new Director of Football Kevin Thelwell, and in the early stages of the season, progress could be discerned across the first two months of this campaign even as the defense over performed and the offense got goals without any real number nine production.
Yet after victory again Southampton that opened October up with three points, the team has regressed in many ways back to what was witnessed for broad swaths of last season. The offensive production is so limited, and finishes often go awry even when some joy can be found; good defensive performances have become draws and mediocre defensive performances on certain days result not in draws, but in losses.
Since the start of October, the problems of the club and roster—with injuries certainly a part of the story—have been as glaring as they’ve been since Frank Lampard took charge a little less than a year ago. Thelwell is quite likely safe in his position at this moment, even if Lampard’s managing chair is getting a bit hot currently. Results will come if the team shows more creativity and courage on the offensive and defensive ends, but that has to be shown—otherwise the supporters will not have any of it, and they will be vocal to be sure.
BB2: What are the Toffees expectations for the second half of the season?
Everton has to get closer to the middle of the table, and farther away from relegation territory. Anything closer will force the hierarchy at the club to reassess who is leading the side and if another name might be better suited to utilize the talent the squad does possess.
Some transfers might help the cause; Kevin Thelwell has seemed more aggressive in the window than his predecessor—Marcel Brands—often was, but the finances may still be prohibitive. Only time will tell concerning that.
Some fights and scrappy points would go a long way towards winning Frank Lampard some confidence back from supporters and the media, but that, too, is all a matter of time and circumstance in the end.
BB3: What do you expect to see from both sides in this match vs Man City and give us your prediction?
I think Everton will put on its best front and play with counterattacking intentions when possible. I also think that City are a machine and will be difficult to keep down across an entire match.
Best to try to score early and then see how the game of defensive compression and springing counterattacks plays out. If the Toffee can get one, they might be able to get two; conversely, City could get four.
I’ll say that it’s 3-2 City, with the Blues showing up as tall as possible against the champs, but falling to Pep and Haaland.
Thanks to Trent, let’s hope for a fun, clean game and City victory.