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Know Your Opponent: A Q&A with Royal Blue Mersey

The international break is over, so let’s play the Toffees.

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton - Premier League Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur look to get back to their winning ways this weekend with Everton, who spent nine figures overhauling their squad but got a massive amount of money for Romelu Lukaku. Joining us this week on Know Your Opponent is Chris from our sister site Royal Blue Mersey. We talk about the similarities between the Bale Seven and Everton’s spending spree, whether or not Tom Davies resembles anyone or anything, and if this is the slowest squad outside of a Sunday league. Also, I highly recommend giving their twitter (@RBMersey) a follow because they’re quite good at social media.

CFC: Let's get this off with a bang: Tell us about the last time you walked out of a medical.

RBM: I confess I've not walked out of a medical before, but I am going to employ this tactic moving forward in life. Paying my taxes? Leaving the check half-written. Cooking dinner? Only grilling one side of the chicken.

All joking aside, Ross Barkley: talented enigma or mercurial sloth? Are we fighting over who doesn't want him more? Also, will 30p be enough to buy him in January?

Even after all of this summer's Barkley-related nonsense, I still lean towards talented enigma. Barkley's not terribly bright to begin with (his on field decision making says as much), and I suspect he's being poorly advised. However, there's still something of a footballer in there to be unlocked, and Pochettino might be the man to do it. As for the January price, I'd certainly lower it to £20ish million were I Everton, or else Barkley can walk for free at season's end.

Everton managed to spend a total of £145m this summer. Which clubs of the Sky Six do you think you'll finish ahead and why will it be none of them?

Joke's on you - Everton could definitely finish ahead of Arsenal...then again, the Gunners are doing their best to make it the Sky Five. Arsene Wenger's senility is escalating rapidly, his superstars are unhappy, and their only two new signings this summer were on the bench against Liverpool the other week. It wouldn't be a shock to see the Toffees beat Arsenal to 6th. Koeman's a better manager, and Everton actually have an idea of what they want to be doing on the field.

(Author’s Note: You know how to play to your audience. Bless you, sir.)

Did you learn nothing from the Bale Seven season or did you view the implosion and actually think "Oh yeah, gimme some of that."

All summer long, some of us used the Bale situation as a cautionary tale for reinvesting the funds gained by Lukaku's sale. But hey, there won't be any Roberto Soldado situations here - Everton didn't even bother buying a starting striker. So there.

Speaking of spending a lot of money, I still love the Hammer of Thor himself, Gylfi Sigurdsson. How excited are you to have the Icelandic attacker?

The operative phrase is cautious optimism. Sigurdsson's a great player, and is going to make Everton better. That price tag, though - woof. It's not my money, and transfer fees have gone completely off the rails, but there's an underlying feeling that a similar playmaker could have been found for much less. At least Gylfi is Premier League Proven (TM), I guess.

We'll see - Evertonians are happy to have someone through which the attack can be run, but Sigurdsson is 28 and there's nobody of note around to get on the end of the chances he creates.

Have the Everton faithful fully embraced Wayne Rooney, despite the way he left them for United years ago?

More or less, yeah. I would have said completely before the drunk driving incident during the international break, but Rooney's come in and been a net positive. He's scoring, which helps, and despite losing a step, Rooney is still one of the best readers of a game out there. He's not going to be able to keep up the pace of playing every match, and it'll be interesting to see how he declines as the season wears on. For now, Wayne can stay.

This is totally a serious question: Is there anyone on this Everton club that could beat any member of Royal Blue Mersey in a foot race?

HEY. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is one of the fastest sprinters in the Premier League, allegedly. We run hard, and in the right direction, no less. Just don't ask Everton's attackers to beat any fullbacks down the wing. Koeman likes methodical buildup, you see.

What do you see as Everton's trajectory over the next three years, given the new ownership and injection of cash?

If Everton don't win a trophy (domestically or in the Europa League, most likely), the next three years will be termed a failure. We're under no illusions that breaking into the Champions League is anything other than a 5-10 year plan, especially with teams like Spurs and Liverpool building smartly. However, the club does have the talent, money, and (soon) depth to make a real run at long overdue silverware, it may just have to be in a tournament.

Can you provide a grand unified theory of Tom Davies? What is he? Why is he? Is he good?

The hair. The short socks. The white-knuckle style of play. If Harry Winks is English Xavi (?), Tom Davies is, Tom's a bit of an original, but boy is he loved. I think fans see everything in Davies that they wanted to see in Ross Barkley. He's a Scouser like Ross, and came up through the club's academy. Unlike Barkley, though, Davies is saying and doing all the right things. So far.

What's the projected lineup for Sunday?

Should be a 4-3-3. Pickford; Martina, Keane, Jagielka, Baines; Schneiderlin, Gueye, Sigurdsson; Rooney, Calvert-Lewin, Sandro Ramirez.

Prediction time!

I'll say 2-1* Everton. Spurs haven't exactly been impressive of late, and the Blues are slowly finding their footing after so much squad overhaul. Sandro Ramirez is back to full fitness, and he may give Ben Davies some trouble down that wing. Wouldn't be the first person to do so...

*If Jordan Pickford doesn't pass his fitness test I reserve the right to change this prediction.

We want to thank Chris for joining us again for Know Your Opponent. I answered some questions for them over at Royal Blue Mersey. You can check it out here!