The FA Cup tie on Friday evening provides us with not only a fantastic feast of football on an entirely unique night of the week, but the possible opportunity of progression to the fifth round. It's an important game for us, as we're out of Europe and out of the Carling Cup, so I put some questions to Brian Lewis, of Royal Blue Mersey, to catch up with all things Everton.
Everton has had a trophy drought since we last won the FA Cup in 1995, and Moyes has always placed an importance on the competition. Even in the 3rd round when drawn against lower competition, Close to the 'A' team is run out for the match. With fewer chances in Europe and no hope of a league title, the FA and Carling Cups are the only realistic chances for Everton to get silverware.
2. Your away form seems slightly better than your home form so far this season. Would you rather be playing us at Craven Cottage, and why do you think you're suffering at Goodison Park a little?
Without a doubt it would be better to have this game at Craven Cottage. Fan support at home has been rather pathetic this year. Poor play coupled with a deteriorating monetary situation has left the fans restless and pessimistic. At home games this year you can just sense the crowd waiting for things to go wrong rather than giving full-throated support. Our away fans are another story, and even when losing they can be heard belting out tunes above the din of the home side. As for why it really escapes me unless the pessimistic attitude of the fans is affects the players that much.
3. Would you say you're happy with how your season has progressed so far?
No this squad is definitely playing extremely poorly relative to its talent level. There is no movement off the ball in the midfield and up top, and more importantly there is no heart coming from most of the players. Talent wise we should be in the hunt for a European spot, but we have consistently failed to not only score goals, but even create opportunities. Last year we would play well, but be unable to score despite numerous chances. This year it is just poor play from everyone.
4. What are the weakest and strongest areas in your team?
This year it seems our only strength is at goalie. Tim Howard is arguably one of the top 5 keepers in the EPL, and he has kept us in several games, as well as scoring a goal for us. The backline isn't too bad, but an inability of our midfielders to track back means they are put under a lot of pressure. As for weaknesses, our creativity and goal scoring is the biggest. Any team that plays solid defense and forces Everton to try and break them down is guarenteed a clean sheet. Hopefully Darron Gibson and Donovan can help remedy that, but it is unlikely.
5. Do you see Landon Donovan making a big impact with his 2 months with Everton?
He has definitely begun to make an impact already with a fantastic assist against Villa as well as helping build up play, but this team is not playing as well as the 2010 team he joined. Donovan is doing about all that can be expected of him, and it is up to the other players to raise their game.
6. Seen as it is the January transfer window, is there any player from the Fulham team that you would want in your Everton side?
I'll take Clint Dempsey off your hands. Really anyone from up top that can score goals is welcome. Louis Saha has been absolutely dreadful, and our leading scorer has 4 goals I believe, and that is only because Baines takes PK's.
7. Who do you think will come out victorious on Friday night and what will the score be?
I think we should be able to win, especially after beating Fulham 3-1 at Craven Cottage in October, but given the number of injuries to our side, our poor form, and the good run being enjoyed by Fulham, I think it is more likely we lose 1-0 or 2-1.
To catch my answers to some Evertonian questions, follow this link: