Date: 23rd December 2009 at 8:06am
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Yes, I know we still have the little matter of the match against Bolton at Turf Moor on Boxing Day to play yet but with Christmas coming up Vital Burnley and Vital Everton thought we would get in early and exchange views about our clash at Goodison Park on Monday 28th December.

We asked Everton Mike from Vital Everton, 10 questions and provide his responses below:

1. What do you think about Burnley this season?

I’ll admit to being one of those who wrote off Burnley before the season started. Frankly I was more than a little shocked you came up, and felt that after you had you didn’t sign enough Premier League quality players. But Burnley have proved you don’t need to if you work hard enough.

Alright your starting to drop down the league a bit now but you’ve already shown you can compete with the best. Reminds me a lot of the season we finished 4th with a frankly awful side, finishing on less than 40 points the year before somehow selling our best player and replacing him with Marcus Bent and ending up 4th. If you find a system that works in this league any team can find success.

2. Do you think we can avoid relegation and where will we finish?

Tough to say at this stage, there’s very little difference in quality between the teams in the bottom half. I expect you’ll be down there in the fight come May but right now I’d say Hull, Bolton and Pompey for the drop with all three promoted sides staying up. That is relying on you sorting out your away form though, hopefully not starting on Monday!

3. Your impressions of Owen Coyle?

Good manager, doing a good job with a limited set of players and budget. He’s brought you into the top flight and looks like he stands a good chance of keeping you there, can’t say I watch a great deal of Burnley games but he’s got to be getting something right.

4. What are Everton’s strengths and weaknesses? What could Burnley exploit?

Right now the main problem is central defence with Yobo, Distin and Jagielka injured. Heitinga is a great player but is still adapting to the Premier League and Lucas Neill in my opinion is better at full back, they both lack height so a direct style on Monday could work well. Our full backs in Hibbert and Baines are on the short side too, whilst Pienaar and Osman are about three foot so set plays could be exploited.

5. Why are Everton not doing better this season? Is it the injuries mainly or is there something else fundamentally wrong? Is Moyes the right man for the job and what do Everton fans think of Moyes at moment?

Ultimately if Mikel Arteta was fit we’d be top 6 still so I guess you can blame it on the injuries to an extent, but at the end of the day if the board are going to continuously fail to back Moyes with any funds without selling players, how will we ever progress? We are missing the likes of Neville, Jagielka and Arteta three key players in recent seasons, whilst we lost Lescott in the summer and Yakubu still hasn’t properly got back to his old self after injury so we are really effectively missing 5 key players who had got us to the right end of the league. Moyes pretty much has a free pass with Evertonians, alright we have a bit of a moan about his defensive tactics but when he came here every season was an effort to reach that magical 40 point mark, and whilst this season we’re back down there again we at least have the quality of players that when fit will propel us back up the table.

6. Where do you think you will finish this season?

8th or 9th. Our last 10 games are very much all winnable and by then we’ll have Arteta back so I’d expect us to win at least 8 of those. It’s all about lasting until we get Arteta back and keeping in touch with those above us until then.

7. Do you think Moyes could be interested in any of our players? Believe he is/was interested in Eagles?

We were linked with Eagles a fair bit but now as you have been promoted there is little chance he’d be available for a reasonable fee. He also tried to sign David Nugent before he went to Pompey, although he hasn’t progressed as hoped since then so again he is probably no longer interested.

8. Who is at the top of their game in your side at the moment? Who do we need to watch?

King Louis Saha is pretty much the only reason we’re not bottom of the league. He has fired 12 goals already this season and if he’s in the mood he could add a few to that tally on Monday.

9. Your match prediction?

We really can’t afford to lose, and Burnley have been poor away so I’m hoping we’ll get our first home win since September.
2-0 Everton. Saha and Fellaini with the goals.

10. Owt else you want to say?

Good luck for the rest of the season after Monday!


Excellent stuff Mike thanks for taking the time out to provide the answers to our questions. We have also returned the favour and answered some questions provided by Mike so look out for my responses on the Vital Everton site.

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