After West Ham burst our bubble over the weekend, the ‘Opposition Opinion’ is back ahead of tonight’s tough trip to Goodison Park – and this week we’ve been getting some thoughts from Everton fan Will Proud.
As ever, we are looking to bring you a view from the other side before this week’s game, doing a quick Q&A with an opposing fan to gain their opinions on NUFC, some insights into their own side and their thoughts on of our upcoming match.
Here’s what Blues fan Will (@ProudWill) has had to say ahead of the match on Merseyside tonight:
Q1) With Silva in for Allardyce, some big money spent over the summer and you sitting in 6th after a good recent run of form, you look to be in good shape, but just how do you think Sunday’s late defeat at Liverpool will have affected both fans and players heading into this one?
“Even despite the derby loss, I believe we have been playing the best football we have played in a long time. We are playing a lovely style of football which is a great difference between Silva and Allardyce.
“The nature of Sunday’s defeat will mean that Goodison is going to be lively under the lights.
“There could be tired legs but fortunately there should be enough quality in the team to overcome any fatigue.”
Q2) What have you made of our start to the season? We’ve won three of our last four, yet just a month ago it was on record as our worst start to the season in recent history..
“You’ve clearly picked up in confidence and form over recent weeks.
“Last season you’re high finish was due to a strong end to the season, although I’m sure you wouldn’t like to leave it that late again this time round.
“You appear to performing like a team that’s greater than the sum of its parts, and with Rafa in charge you’ll always be hard to break down.
“It’ll be interesting to see if the loss against West Ham affects you too much after winning 3 consecutively.”
Q3) Who are the strengths and weaknesses in your Everton current side? Any ‘ones to watch’ that some NUFC fans wouldn’t know much about from watching you on Match of the Day?
“Obviously we’ve spent quite a lot of money over the last 18 months or so but the new signings from last summer have really hit the ground running.
“Andre Gomes is a fantastic footballer – so elegant and calm on the ball, he’s something we’ve been missing for a long time.
“Mina, Digne and Richarlison have all been very impressive as of late and Keane has also been much improved since last season. I think we are in a very strong position at the minute.
“As for weaknesses, we haven’t made changes to our starting 11 for 3 matches including Chelsea and Liverpool away, so some players may be tired and I think we might see some rotation.
“There’s only once change I would like to see and that’s Lookman to start ahead of Walcott. He’s looked brilliant when he’s come off the bench in recent matches and I hope he gets a chance to start.”
Q4) Which players do you see as the strengths AND weaknesses in this Newcastle’s side? Anyone you’re wary of and anyone you don’t rate?
“I saw you a couple weeks ago and thought Ki and Diame played really well in the middle for you, and Rondon is obviously the biggest difference from last year as goals were hard to come by with Mitrovic not working out.
“Dubravka is also a good player. He seems to have been a bargain in recent transfer markets.
“Individually your defence may prove to be a weakness. I think that our front 4 should have enough skill and movement to cause problems, particularly when the full backs get higher up the pitch as you’ve got Dummett missing.
“Getting the ball to Rondon could be an issue as well. Whilst Ki and Diame are industrious, I’m not sure they have the craft to trouble Idrissa Gana Gueye and Gomes.”
Q5) What sort of game do you think it’ll be and how do you see it panning out? Score prediction?
“I see it been a lively start from Everton. I reckon we will see quite a lot of the ball in the early goings.
“If we got an early goal then I could see them pressing on for 2 or 3. However, the longer it stays 0-0 the more likely you are to come into the game.
“I think you would have to turn in a very good performance to come away with a point.
“Dubravka could have enough quality to keep us out if we don’t play well enough, but I see us winning 2-0.”
Q6) I imagine there’s few NUFC players who you feel would get into your starting 11, but if you could have Marco Silva sign any player in our squad, who would you have him go for?
“I rate Lascelles most highly in your squad.
“We were loosely linked in the summer and I think at the time many Evertonians would have been very happy if a move came off at the time, however Michael Keane has been excellent so far this season and I have very high hopes for Yerry Mina along side him.
“So..I’m not sure Lascelles would get into our starting XI right now.”
Q7) Sadly, the main aim for us this season is to simply beat the drop. Which three sides do you see going down and do you see us being one of them? As for you guys, do you think it could be another 7th place finish – or can you break the top 6?
“I see you guys beating the drop but not by as convincing margin as last season.
“I think the bottom half will be very tight come the end of the season and I reckon it will be Huddersfield, Cardiff and Southampton that go down in the end, with you finishing 15th or 16th.
“I think we will finish 7th this season.
“My main hope would obviously be the FA Cup. I think that our main priority has to be to win a trophy, so I was bitterly disappointed when we were knocked out of the League Cup by Southampton.
“We need to make it into Europe to keep attracting the quality of player we need to challenge the top 6. If one of them slips up like Man United have been I think we are in the best position to take advantage of it.”
A big thanks to Will for chatting to us this week, with him clearly feeling as though Everton will be ‘at it’ under the lights at Goodison tonight, predicting that they’ll quickly get over Sunday’s late heartbreak at Liverpool.
Next up will be the thoughts of a Wolves fan later this week ahead of Sunday’s game at St James’ Park.