Friday, 4 October 2013

In the Spotlight: Everton

No. 8: Keeping Leighton Baines, new signings and a bold prediction!

By Aaron Leggott

Following two consecutive defeats against Aston Villa and Bayern Munich, the Blues are set to face Everton in the day's early kick off. We caught up with Toffees fan Nick Bailey (@nbabsolutely) to get a perspective from our upcoming opponent.

Photo: Official Everton Facebook

City have had a couple of bad results in the past week, and have lost back to back games in all competitions for the first time since last December. How confident are you of getting a result on Saturday?

Nick: I'm fairly confident, but you can never write Manchester City off. They are an extremely solid team. There are a few personalities and styles that still need to mesh, but this won't be easy at all.

How do you think Everton have started this season?

Nick: I couldn't be more pleased with Everton.  This start was a little uneasy for me seeing draw after draw, but I couldn't be more happy with where we currently are.

Of course, it has been all change at Goodison over the summer, with Roberto Martínez replacing David Moyes. Were you originally happy with the appointment, and has your opinion changed as we get stuck in to the season?

Nick: I absolutely hated the decision to sign Martínez when it was first announced.  I have always respected Martínez and everything he's done, but looking at a manager that just got relegated entering your team is never easy.  Martínez has definitely shocked me and I didn't see this coming.

Views on the signings that Martínez has made and how they've done so far?

Nick: I agree with the majority of the signings under Martínez   Pretty much everyone has stepped up to the plate when called upon, except Arouna Koné in my eyes.  He's a quality player, but I think he just needs more time to return to form.  

With Romelu Lukaku on fire, I don't know how much time he'll really see, but he's a solid player to have coming off the bench.  Gareth Barry is pure quality though.  He's the field general that we've been needing for a while now and boy, he's gets the job done. 

Gerard Deulofeu and James McCarthy are very exciting to watch.  They're full of energy and they give it 110% each time they step on the pitch, even in the short periods of play they're given.

You obviously lost Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United, but how much of a boost was it to keep hold of Leighton Baines?

Nick: Losing Fellaini wasn't that big of a deal for me, at least for the quality of the team.  I love him to death and he was one of my favorite players, but he wasn't playing with his heart out there.  Baines on the other hand - I was literally scared to lose him.  Every team wishes for a player like Baines.  That's my guy!

Photo: Official Everton Facebook

Predicted Everton line-up?

Nick: I think the lineup will be pretty similar to our last game if we keep the same formation, except for a change in the midfield seeing as how Barry can't play this match.  

(4-2-3-1) Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Osman, Heitinga; Mirallas, Barkley, McCarthy; Lukaku

Who is going to be Everton's key man on Saturday and why?

Nick: I'm going to go out on a limb and say Distin.  His defensive play is always solid, but he's going to have to really lead the back line in this game.  Losing Barry this match is a big hit, so expect a huge game from the defense.  

How can you see Everton doing this season?

Nick: If things continue on like this, I don't see why we can't nail a top four spot.

Who do you see as City's key player for the afternoon and why?

Nick: Yaya Touré.  Period.  When everyone else fails, he seems to always be on point.  

Tip for the title?

Nick: I think it's too early to say, but I will say this - I don't think it will be a usual suspect.

And finally... prediction for the game?

Nick: I think there will be plenty of chances all game, but I see this one ending 2-2.  Cheers, City fans.  See you at the Etihad!

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You can also follow Aaron on Twitter: @aaron_leggott

(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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