Ask The Opposition (w/ GrandOldTeam) – Everton vs Manchester City (Premier League)

Manchester City return to their usual Premier League duties, with a strangely challenging trip to Goodison Park. It’s not been City’s best of opponents in recent years, in fact Pep Guardiola’s men will be looking to beat Everton in four consecutive league matches for the first time since 1972!

Ahead of Saturday afternoon’s game, we spoke to Andy Costigan from Everton website GrandOldTeam.com, to get his insight on this clash!

Great to have you join us once again Andy! How significant has Idrissa Gueye’s departure from the club been in the club’s difficult start to the 2019/20 campaign?

I think it’s fair to say that most Evertonians expected Gana to leave a hole, but the magnitude of that hole – so far – is maybe greater than we feared. We’re missing his energy, especially in light of the injuries to Andre Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and we’re missing his sheer work rate too. Unfortunately, with Gomes and Gbamin both out, Marco Silva has reverted mainly to Morgan Schneiderlin and he doesn’t have the qualities that Gana had. 

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Given the high-profile nature of the move, we’re particularly interested in why Moise Kean has so far struggled to secure his place in the Everton side, and whether you feel it is simply a case of giving him more time?

Moise Kean is young, new to the league and needs time to settle in and acclimatise to the Premier League. He probably needs to be played in a dual striking role, not as a lone man up front. Marco Silva appears fixated with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with two holding midfielders in Fabian Delph and Morgan Schneiderlin, as well as a lone striker; either Kean or Calvert-Lewin ahead of Sigurdsson and two wide men. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, for all his his good intentions and effort, is not a natural goalscorer at this level, and Kean needs time. 

What have you made of Fabian Delph since his arrival from Manchester City in the summer?

I’ll be honest and admit I was not exactly in favour of signing him, feeling he was a bit too injury prone. That being said, I’ll eat humble pie and admit that he’s winning me over with some fine play in midfield. He’s made a few mistakes that have appeared glaring, but overall I’d say he’s going to be a success with us. 

Mikel Arteta has been linked to several clubs since his high-profile role as the right-hand man to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Would you welcome the return off the Spaniard to Goodison Park, should we see Marco Silva leave for whatever reason?

Mikel Arteta was a very, very popular player in the Royal Blue shirt and there are many who would take a gamble on him. I say gamble because until such time as he actually has managerial experience on his CV, then giving him the number one job is a risk.

Arsenal resisted the temptation to appoint him when he was with them and that suggests he’s maybe not yet ready. Being the number two to Guardiola will certainly boost his credentials, but I think he’ll wait at least two more years before trying for a managerial role.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

What would you put Everton’s success in recent meetings between Manchester City and the Toffees down to in recent years?

Bottle, and us actually wanting it more. Under David Moyes, we just seemed to have your number and it was perhaps the one knife we took to a gunfight that saw the knife prevail. Possibly Manchester City have taken us a bit too lightly as well, though I don’t expect Pep Guardiola to fall into that trap again, especially after the 4-0 game of a couple of years ago.

What are you expecting from this weekend’s fixture?

The heart says we’ll raise our game after the poor showings against Bournemouth and Sheffield United, and give you guys a damn good run for your money. You’ve got defensive issues right now and if we had a striker or striking partnership on top form, I’d be even more positive about our chances.

The head however suggests that unless we play to 100% of our capability on Saturday, we could be in for a very tough game, you guys have so many offensive weapons.

How do you predict Everton will line-up and have you got a score prediction?

Predicted Everton Starting XI: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Delph, Schneiderlin (or Davies), Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Iwobi; Calvert-Lewin.

Heart Score: 2-1
Head Score: 1-3

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