Adam Jones of the Liverpool Echo gives us the lowdown on Saturday’s opponents at Goodison Park.
Assessment of the season so far – three managers – good start, dip and now mid-table…
I think the overriding feeling would probably be one of disappointment to be honest – whenever a team goes through three managers in a campaign you can tell that the season isn’t going strictly to plan.
At the start of the season Everton had spent a good chunk of money and were probably hoping for a European spot, but things haven’t worked out like that so far.
New signings have taken a while to settle and it’s at a point now where we’re looking to get to the 40-point mark and that’s about it – and that is disappointing for Everton fans really – but we could be a lot worse off.
Spent big in the summer after Romelu Lukaku left, but some signings haven’t settled?
Each player is different – players like Davy Klassen have found it difficult to settle, but that’s what I’ve seen of players who have come over from the Dutch league. He didn’t look up to the speed and strength of the league – now he’s starting to get back into the picture.
It’s really tough when you have a price tag over you, but players can still suffer even without it. Everton fans would say the price doesn’t come into it – we didn’t find the big striker we needed to replace Lukaku and the lack of full-backs that have been recruited have been highlighted in recent weeks as well.
A few years ago David Moyes signed players like Joleon Lescott, Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta for relatively low sums of money and he was pulling some gems out of the bag.
We were used to those sorts of signings and the way football is now we can't accept that anymore and maybe we’re struggling to adapt to that new world.
Sam Allardyce’s appointment – your thoughts?
He only signed an 18-month contract so that would suggest he doesn’t have a massive future – he was brought into to do a specific job.
When he came in, the side hit a good run of form very quickly, and perhaps you could argue that in doing so he’s done his job quicker than everyone thought, and now it’s about taking it onto the next step.
But we all heard the fans last weekend at Burnley and we know what some of them are feeling.
Form on the road a concern so is there extra emphasis on the game this weekend?
Definitely, the manager has championed the home form with how bad the away form is.
We’ve had some difficult home games recently – Crystal Palace were fighting for their lives, Leicester City were going through a good spell and then we managed a 0-0 draw with Chelsea.
It will be good enough to keep the side up – there’s no fears of relegation because the fans will go into every home game confident of getting a result.
One to watch?
Theo Walcott looks like he’s got a new lease of life since he joined from Arsenal two months ago, and he looks like he’s got something to prove. He’s been in good form and perhaps he’s still trying to force his way into the World Cup squad this summer as well.
I think his best game for the club was the game at home to Leicester City where he got both goals, he’s dangerously quick and everyone knows what he’s about so he can cause any team problems.
What would represent a successful season?
It’s tough to answer – if you had asked before the defeat to Burnley last weekend I probably would have said we could’ve finished as high as seventh. Outside the top six it’s so competitive, but that defeat has put the dampeners on again.
If the away form stays as it is then eighth or ninth would probably represent a good campaign in the context of where the club currently stands. A mid-table finish and a platform to build on for next season has to be the aim.