Ahead of Monday night's clash with Everton at Goodison Park, we caught up once more with Toffees' fan Gary.
Amongst other things, he gives us his views on the Toffees' first half of the season, Roberto Martinez and the club's Europa League prospects. You can follow Gary on Twitter @Gary_Maiden.

It's not been the best of seasons so far for the Toffees, with recent results particularly poor. What's the current mood around Goodison and what's the main reason behind the downturn in results?

You're right, it really hasn't. We're used to slow starts to the season at Goodison Park but a slow start has turned into a poor season this time around. There is a real toxic atmosphere around the club at the moment and you can see the tension from the stands translating into the players' performances. It is difficult to put a finger on what has gone wrong, with largely the same squad as last season. Some blues suggest that teams have figured us out and we have become too predictable, hard to argue with really.

Although sitting 12th in the table, Everton are just three points above the relegation zone, any concerns at all about getting sucked into trouble?

We've heard a few times over the years that no side is too good to go down but in the case of Everton this season, we really are. Of course sitting just three points above the drop zone is a worry but we will pick up enough points between now and the end of the season. Needs to happen soon though.

Does Roberto Martinez still have the support of the majority of Everton fans?

Yes. I'd say the vast majority of Evertonians are in agreement that he earned the right to pull through this period with last campaign's performance. 72 points would have been enough for Champions League football in ten of the last 12 seasons, so he clearly has something special to offer. He does, however, need to become more adaptable when things aren't going our way. He's had plenty of practice this season!

The Toffees' Europa League adventure continues next month with a tie against Swiss side BSC Young Boys. How confident are you of success in the competition?

We looked brilliant in the group stages in what was a very testing set of opponents. Martinez's style seems to suit European football perfectly so we could be ones to watch in this competition. 20 years without silverware for a club of Everton's stature is simply unacceptable and, with the blues out of the two domestic cups, the Europa League has to take priority for me - over the Premier League.

Anything the club needs to do during the remainder of the transfer window?

There is a great deal the club need to do to strengthen but the fact of the matter is that we just don't have the necessary funds. A priority has to be a goalkeeper as Tim Howard hasn't been up to it for a few years now. Additionally, John Stones aside, we have an ageing central defence so a young centre half would be a welcomed boost. Going forward we aren't struggling all that much but we just leak too many goals.

How's former Albion loanee Romelu Lukaku doing for you this season?

He hasn't hit the heights of the previous two seasons for both of our clubs but he is just starting to find a bit of form with goals in both of the legs against West Ham in the cup. You could argue that he has struggled with the 28m price tag over his head but he just hasn't had the service from many of our creative players. Hopefully being dropped for a couple of games has done him some good, it certainly seems to have done.

What tactics and line-up can we expect to see Martinez deploy against the Baggies?

I'd expect the Belgian up top with an attacking three behind him. Two sitting midfielders protecting our shaky back four with Joel Robles continuing in net. With Samuel Eto'o seemingly on his way, this will hopefully be rid of any nonsense of playing Ross Barkley out wide. I'd like to see Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith out wide with Mo Besic and James McCarthy, if fit, holding.

Player of the season so far?

There honestly haven't been all that many players to choose from. Kevin Mirallas has showed his obvious talent in spells so I'd have to go with the Belgian. Besic has looked tidy in McCarthy's absence but, in all honesty, no one has performed anywhere near their capabilities. 

Anyone been particularly disappointing?

Gareth Barry. The former Manchester City man was one of our best players last season but has been utterly dreadful this campaign. Renowned for his ability to keep possession, he is now the complete opposite. Whether it is just a case of becoming a year older and suffering from heavy legs, who knows? He was instrumental to our possession football in Martinez's first season, and with him struggling, it is no coincidence that the team is. 

Premier League champions?

Manchester City have done superbly to pull themselves back into the reckoning and will be there or thereabouts. However, Chelsea will have too much in my opinion. They have the perfect blend in their system with all of the attacking prowess a side gunning for the title could hope for. Nemanja Matic is the best defensive midfielder in the league and offers a platform for the more creative players to bomb forward. Their defence isn't bad either.


Leicester, Burnley and Sunderland. Steve Bruce has the required experience to pull a struggling Hull side clear and QPR's home from may just save them. The goals of Charlie Austin may prove crucial whereas Sunderland don't have that required goalscorer, unless Jermaine Defoe rolls back the years that is.

Prediction for and thoughts on Monday's game?

I'm a big fan of Tony Pulis and believe that he will be the perfect fit for your club. West Brom are a club with a proud history that belongs in the top flight and the former Stoke boss should have no problems in further consolidating your Premier League stance over the course of the next few seasons. Having said that, Everton simply have to start picking up points soon and I have to back us to start on Monday night. I'll go with a 2-1 home win, more with hope than confidence.


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