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Know Your Opponent: an interview with an Everton fan

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Seat temperature, table positions, and Colin Farrell.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Everton have found life a little rough in the Premier League this season. Rougher even than Tottenham Hotspur! The Toffees have taken just three points from their last six matches and are currently hovering just above the relegation zone under manager Marco Silva.

But there’s good news — Tottenham’s coming to town, and at least this season that’s been a pretty good tonic for everything that ails a football club! I caught up to Matthew Chandler, writer for SB Nation’s Everton Blog Royal Blue Mersey, and asked him about net spend, table position, and their manager’s uncanny resemblance to that guy from In Bruges.

I also did a return interview with the lads at RBM — check it out and nod your head at my 100% correct opinions.


[Carty Free]: After an opening 10 matches that has seen Everton significantly underperform expected goals and expected goals allowed en route to only 10 points, there’s already talk that Everton might want to part ways with Marco Silva. How warm is Silva’s seat really? Should he go, and who should replace him if he goes?

[Matthew Chandler] It’s hard to know how warm his seat is. I’d have sacked him after losing 2-0 at home to Sheffield United on September 21. I’m all for giving people time, but you can just tell when some managers aren’t going to turn it around, and I’ve had that impression since that defeat with Silva. Though, to sack him now, ahead of a schedule including Leicester (twice), Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City in the space of a month would really be throwing in his replacement at the deep end, so maybe he’ll stay until at least the new year. And we’re still in the Carabao Cup, of course. That may keep him in the job for a while yet.

If he goes, I’d at least try and get José Mourinho - he may well say no, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Otherwise, though he has obvious detractors - namely his team’s leaky defence - I’d probably go for Eddie Howe, who also supports Everton.

Everton have spent an awful lot of money the past three seasons -- £157m total net spend by my count -- and yet they still can’t seem to finish higher than seventh. What does Everton need to do to crack the top six?

Appoint a new manager, first of all. Preferably one who knows more than one way of setting his teams up. Then, stop signing cast-offs from top six clubs would be a start - if they’re considered not good enough by teams Everton want to challenge, why are we signing them?

We have good players technically, but they lack a lot of heart and mental resilience at times. I question how much it genuinely hurts some of them when we lose. We feel like a club full of losers and a massive overhaul is needed from top to bottom. We are miles away from even teams like Leicester, let alone the rest of the top six besides Manchester City and Liverpool (who we are obviously lightyears behind).

Let’s say you can take one Tottenham player not named Harry Kane and swap him to Everton for this match. Who would you take, and why?

Paulo Gazzaniga. Because although Jordan Pickford is, overall, a better goalkeeper, he is not in a good moment currently. His lack of concentration at pivotal moments in matches is seriously costing us - I count at least five goals this season already that he should have saved. Maybe it was just a one-off, but I was really impressed by Gazzaniga in Spurs’ defeat to Liverpool.

Other than that, although we look OK going forward at times, probably Son, who I think is a fantastic player, and to think he cost about £22 million from Bayer Leverkusen. Those are the sort of signings Everton should be making. If Tottenham can find these players - and they weren’t even in the Champions League when they signed Son four years ago - I see little reason why Everton can’t, too.

We know that Gylfi Sigurdsson loves a good banter goal against his old club, but apart from him or Richarlison, which Everton player is going to score the 95th minute winner from 30 yards out on Sunday?

Hopefully Sigurðsson won’t score because hopefully he won’t play; he’s been one of our worst players this season and has rightly been dropped lately. We look much better without him slowing us down every time he gets the ball.

Other than that, maybe Lucas Digne if we’re talking 30 yards. He strikes a fantastic free-kick on his day.

Everton are a team that likes to press under Silva, but Bernard looks like he might be a doubt. How do you expect Everton to set up against Tottenham on Sunday, and how would you nullify Spurs’ offensive threat?

As we always do under Silva, much to the frustration of many fans including myself: 4-2-3-1, with both striker and number ten terribly isolated.

In terms of nullifying Tottenham, I’d hope for a central defensive partnership of Yerry Mina (if he’s fit) and Mason Holgate. Holgate has had to bide his time but has really impressed in the last two games, starting in both. Mina has been our best and most consistent player this season and is developing into a superb defender; he is a man-mountain.

I would also like to see Pickford dropped for Jonas Lössl in goal, for reasons I outlined earlier, but I can’t see that happening.

Predicted team (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Digne, Mina, Holgate, Sidibé; Davies, Gomes; Richarlison, Iwobi, Walcott; Calvert-Lewin.

If someone kidnapped Marco Silva and replaced him with Colin Farrell speaking in a Portuguese accent, would anyone notice? Please explain in depth.

Probably not, not only because they look alike, but because Silva doesn’t talk much anyway, and when he does, it’s usually nothing more than a mutter.

Having said that, people clocked Roberto Martínez when he talked with a Scouse twang when he was our manager, so who knows. Colin Farrell would probably smile more than Silva, though.

Finally, what’s your score prediction for this match?

1-1. We’re OK at home; you’re not great away. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Everton are the team to end Tottenham’s away win drought, though.


Matthew Chandler is a writer for Royal Blue Mersey, just up the virtual SB Nation hallway. Based Leicester, you can also give him a follow on Twitter — @chandler98_