This week, we here at Cottagers Confidential exchanged questions and answers with Calvin of Royal Blue Mersey, hoping to gain an insight into our opponents this Saturday. Below you'll find what he had to say on all things Everton while you can also catch what we answered to their questions, here.
Cottagers Confidential: You managed to rid yourselves of your normal early-season jitters this year but you're still a little short of Champions League qualification. Was that a target at the start of the season, and are you pleased with how the campaign has gone so far?
Royal Blue Mersey: I wouldn't say the Champions League was a target before the season started, especially looking at the kind of spending that Chelsea and Tottenham did we knew we would be in that 6th-8th window. However, after that storming start to the season we started dreaming of bigger and better things, which in reality was just a daydream because we don't have the finances or squad depth to retain that kind of performance.
One of my biggest criticisms of David Moyes has always been that his sides have bottled it when the most was on the line - the Champions League qualifier against Villareal, FA Cup final against Chelsea, FA Cup semi against Liverpool, the debacle in the Cup again this year against Wigan, and to a lesser extent the sequence of two draws at Tottenham and Arsenal and then the loss at Sunderland - two points out of a possible nine at this stage of the season will simply not get you into European contention. Now it's looking like we'll end up out of Europe and that is unsatisfactory.
CC: You've achieved so much on what is, compared to others around you at least, a modest budget. Do you think, if you had a bit more money to dish out, you could become a permanent top-6 Premier League feature?
RBM: Absolutely, with one addendum - a responsible manager. We've seen an infusion of foreign money in the Premier League, and for every Chelsea there is a Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth too. I have no doubt that with Moyes at the helm, Everton can do far better than they have when they have some money to spend. The Scotsman easily beats his fellow Scot Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger on a pounds-per-point comparison, and as disappointed as fans are with how this season is ending, I feel he still remains the manager of choice were we to receive an influx of cash.
CC: Much has been said about David Moyes and what he is going to do over the summer. Do you think he will leave? And if so, where would it leave the club?
RBM: Moyes has done little to quell the growing tide of rumors about his future during the season. He even went on to note that he would love to coach in Germany. After seeing how the Bundesliga throttled La Liga midweek, who can blame the man?!
It looks like the Glaswegian is waiting to hear what chairman Bill Kenwright tells him he will have for spending money before he decides his future, and while that might be the right thing for him to do, it leaves the club in a bad position where they might have to make a hasty decision about who to replace him with.
A lot of names have been bandied about in the interim for his replacement, and none of them are giving the fans the 'warm fuzzy feeling' either - Roberto Martinez, Malky Mackay, Neil Lennon, Gus Poyet, and more interestingly, Roberto Di Matteo and Frank De Boer.
CC: Who has been your best player this season, and who will cause of the most problems tomorrow (if they're not the same)?
RBM: Difficult to say, as no one really has taken the reins and played at a consistently high level all year long. Marouane Fellaini sparkled at the beginning of the year but has looked bored at times as the season dragged on. Steven Pienaar is equally influential and anonymous at times, while Leighton Baines has played every minute of every League game for the Toffees, and has looked jaded at times. And then there's Kevin Mirallas who has looked like the world beater that he can be, but is plagued by fitness woes. I'd say right now Fellaini is in the lead, but if Mirallas continues his hot streak he should steal it.
As for Saturday, on current form I'd say Mirallas is a good bet to be the danger man on the right wing, especially supported by Seamus Coleman who has come on by leaps and bounds from last season.
CC: Who are you worried about on our side?
RBM: Berba is always a threat, his nonchalant demeanor notwithstanding. Though Fulham have hit upon tougher times with scoring goals, they are the kind of side you feel can really take advantage of a couple of favourable bounces to rack up the goals. Your boy there Alex Kacaniklic reminds Evertonians of our own rising star Ross Barkley who has been shipped out a couple of times on loan, but great things are expected of him in the next couple of years. Bryan Ruiz can also be an important conduit for Berbatov if he's not got his hands full watching either Barkley or Fellaini.
CC: Score prediction?
RBM: Everton will come out strong to show the home crowd that their disappointing loss to Sunderland last weekend was an anomaly. Apart from that, there really is precious little to play for. It's Moyes' 50th birthday today [Thursday] and the players would like to give the gaffer what could likely be a going away present too. I'll agree with you; 2-1 the home side.
Thanks Calvin! For all the best content on Everton, do please check out RoyalBlueMersey.com.