Talking to the Opposition – Stoke Fans V Everton

    We talked to Stoke forum The Oatcake. Full thread here: Talking to the Opposition | Oatcake Fanzine

    1. After 12 games under a new manager, how do you feel you have started?

    boskampsflaps: Think we’ve done okay, it was never going to be easy to completely change the way we play.

    Jamo on the wing: A curious mixture of hopes and fears. We look infinitely better in possession but until lately we’ve not scored enough and when we have, we haven’t held on to numerous leads by conceding soft goals.

    ashleyscfc: Very mixed, very inconsistent. We still dont know our best team and may have to piece the team together in a unconventional way to get out of the best of the players we have till others are bought in. We seem to blow hot and cold, from being up for a fight and playing on the front foot to just wanting to sit behind the ball and putting nowhere near enough effort in.

    2. Who have been your key players this season?

    capto: Begovic

    scfcjase: Begovic, Cameron and – when he’s in the right frame of mind – N’Zonzi

    luke45: Begovic has kept us in a lot of games with some very important saves, we are very fortunate to have arguably the best goalkeeper in the league at the moment. Geoff Cameron has impressed me at right back both offensively and defensively and Steven Ireland and Marko Arnautovic have shown glimpses of the attacking flair we’ve been missing over recent seasons.

    Sheikhmomo: Begovic, Begovic & Begovic. The best in the division by a mile

    3. Is there a weak point in your team?

    MooG: There’s still a lack of pace running through the team. Since we don’t play so much of a flat back eight away these days it makes us vulnerable to the counter attack.

    MysticalDescent: We need a Ricardo Fuller leading the line and our midfield is sometimes shamefully lax when it comes to covering the defence. Opposition midfielders have found it far too easy to waltz up the middle of the pitch without being tracked.

    chorltonpotterer: Just a general lack of understanding defensively at the minute.

    4. What are your expectations for the rest of the season?

    stanground: Slow and steady improvement over the season, finish between 11th and 15th

    pyrus: We will get better. We are doing as the weeks go by. I think as some of the promoted teams fade in the second half of the season, we will do the opposite

    Specifically I think the defenders will get their mojo back, and surely we will get a new forward in January (please).

    eddy: I think the team will continue to come together in the new style and we will finish the season comfortably. Somewhere from 12-15, ready to push for higher next season.

    deliasmith: 44 points, 14th place.

    5. With that in mind, is Mark Hughes the right man to take you there?

    ohbottom: He wasn’t my first choice, I’m still undecided but he deserves support and backing.

    redstriper: Not the most imaginative appointment, but shrewd enough, so yes.

    reddipotter: He’s not impressed me so far.

    scfctillidie: I think so. QPR aside, he has an excellent record in the Premier League and has never finished outside the top 10 I believe (QPR aside!) Hopefully a few shrewd signings could become big names.

    On to Everton

    6. How do you think we have performed so far?

    scfcjase: Better than I’d expected if I was honest, but I think the capture of Lukaku did it for you.

    capto: Pretty good – should have beaten them gobby bastards from across the park on Saturday tho’.

    luke45: Better than I expected to be honest, especially defensively. Five clean sheets in twelve league games isn’t usually a statistic you’d associate with aMartinez team. Lukaku has obviously made a huge difference and Barkley has been like a new signing with his impact he has made so far this season. I’m sureEverton fans are enjoying seeing the likes of Barkley and Stones getting their opportunity with the first team this season, I’m sure Martinez‘s willingness to give youth a chance was one of the main reasons Kenwright opted for him.

    7. What do you make of our manager Roberto Martinez?

    deliasmith: He’s OK. I liked his attitude in the Cup Final – better than our guy’s in similar circumstances. He has a good record against us, incidentally.

    pyrus: He won’t be there by the end of next season. He’s freeloading on Moyes’s work right now and the first hole in the road you hit, the wheels will come off. Martinez is not the guy to put them back.

    eddy: Good manager. Did all he could with a limited Wigan side and I am interested to see what he can do with the better player pool at Everton.

    boskampsflaps: Overrated.

    8. Which Everton player do you think will trouble you most on Saturday?

    MooG: More worried about fast interplay than any one player – though I’ll be happy if Baines isn’t there as he might well have found room going forward

    sheikhmomo: Although our centre halves will relish the battle, Lukaku.

    MysticalDescent: Lukaku. Then again, we had a pretty good time against him last season.

    ashleyscfc: Barkley if he plays, we’ve got nobody who can catch him in the middle of the pitch bar Nzonzi. I think the physicality of our back 2 can deal withLukaku.

    9. Do you believe there is a weak point in the Everton side to be targeting?

    ohbottom: Down your left side. If Baines is out that should allow Cameron to go forward, he showed against the Mackems he can put good early crosses in when given the opportunity.

    chorltonpotterer: Down our right if Tinner Baines isn’t playing

    redstriper: possibly now baines is out, you may lose some balance.

    10. Where do you think we’ll finish this season?

    reddipotter: Top 8.

    chorltonpotterer: 5/6/7
    ohbottom: Flirt with Euro qualification, but just fall short. Sorry

    eddy: Somewhere from 9-12.



    scfcjase: I think it’ll be 2-1 Everton.

    countryboy: Prediction 2-0 to Everton unfortunately.

    boskampsflaps: 1-1.

    capto: 3-0 to you

    Jamo on the wing: I’ll take a point so I’ll go 1-1 but it won’t be easy to achieve that.

    MooG: 2-0 Everton.

    luke45: Everton 1-1 Stoke.

    sheikhmomo: A 2-2 thriller!
    deliasmith: 3-1 to you.

    ashleyscfc: Weve been playing well away from home, very different to previous years. So im going to be positive. 2 – 2.
    eddy: I think we will score given recent form but I can’t see us keeping you scoreless. Think you will edge it at home, so ill go for 2-1 to your lot.

    ohbottom: Predictions? I think we’ll give you a tougher game than I suspect many of your fans expect, and last few games we’ve seem to have figured out how to put the ball in the net. 2-2

    stanground: 2 – 1 to you

    reddipotter: I can’t see us getting anything.

    pyrus: Everton 0 12 Stoke

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