Ahead of the clash with Everton at The
Hawthorns, we caught up once more with Toffees' fan Gary.
He gives us his views on
the Toffees' start to the season, John Stones, Monday's game, and more. You can follow Gary on Twitter @Gary_Maiden.
It seems to have been a good
start to the season for the Toffees - a decent position in the league and through to the
fourth round of the Capital One Cup. I'd imagine supporters are happy with the
start? How have performances been?
It's been a solid start, with
performances much improved from last season. Martinez wants top four this season
and, while that may be a tad ambitious, early performances suggest we can make a
push for European football. We've looked particularly impressive on the road. I
was delighted to see a strong side fielded away at Reading in the Capital One
Cup. Everton tend not to prioritise that competition but we seem to be up for it
this season, as everyone should be.
were the supporters’ expectations prior to the season?
Everton fans always have high expectations and last season was really tough to
take. The general feeling was that it was a one off campaign and I believe I
speak for most blues when I say I expect us to be in the European shake up come
May. With the squad we have, there should be no excuses.
players have stood out and have any players been particularly disappointing so
Romelu Lukaku, a player you guys know all about, has been particularly
disappointing so far. Unfortunately, his brace away at Southampton hasn't been
built on but he backs himself and will no doubt hit form again soon. John Stones
and Ross Barkley have both been nothing short of superb. John has had to contend
with a lot this summer but his performances haven't been affected. He really is
a one in a generation centre half. Ross too is never far away from speculation.
After a disappointing campaign last season, he has started like a house on fire
this time around and is starting to put in the type of consistent performances
that us blues know he is capable of.
Were you happy with
the club's summer transfer dealings? Was there anything else you would have
liked to have seen the club do?
Keeping Stones was the priority and hats off to the club for holding firm. Lots
of clubs wouldn't have done. Pulis was spot on. Football was the victor with
both Everton and West Brom standing their ground with Stones and Berahino
respectively. We needed another striker, we're too reliant on Lukaku and it is
easy to forget how young he is. Genuine competition for Tim Howard would also
have been welcomed as some of his displays last season were laughable. Although
in fairness to the US stopper, he's looked solid in the opening weeks so far.
John Stones, just how
good is he and how long can Everton hold onto him?
As mentioned earlier, John Stones is a one in a generation centre half. Not many
defenders can pull off a Cruyff turn in their own six yard box with Diego Costa
breathing down their neck. He owes it to himself to compete at the very highest
level and can Everton, under the current regime, realistically offer that? He
made the right decision in staying put this season, but he'll have plenty of
offers next summer. Everton have to demand huge money for him or match his
Albion fans will
always have a soft spot for former loanee Romelu Lukaku, how's he doing at
He's great isn't he? Romelu wears his heart on his sleeve and interacts with the
fans during the game, trying to use the crowd to help the team. He's not quite
firing on all cylinders right now but he'll be back amongst the goals soon
enough. His quality will shine through.
Top six and a cup final.
I'm interested to find out more about the fans views on Pulis. He'll never take
you down but do Albion fans want more than that? I think you'll finish between
10th - 14th and never be anywhere near danger.
Sunderland, Newcastle and Norwich
What line-up and
tactics can we expect to see from Everton on Monday night?
Martinez will no doubt deploy his favourite two holding midfielders with the
three behind Lukaku reaping havoc. Barkley will get the nod at No.10. Kone and
Naismith look the most likely to start out wide but Deulofeu is chomping at the
bit for a start, and his recent match winning cameos suggest he deserves a
start. Stones and Coleman are doubts and are both big misses.
Prediction and thoughts on the game?
We've looked better on the road than at Goodison so far this season. A Monday
night game against a Pulis side buoyed by a recent derby victory will be tough.
I'm predicting a really tight game with the blues to nick it by the odd goal,
but then I would say that.