By Gary Judge
Q – Let’s start with the West Ham game. I think it’s safe to say Evertonians are delighted with that performance but there seems to be a bit of a split in some who are surprised by it and some who were expecting it. Where do you sit?
I got asked this question during the podcast and in fairness I sit somewhere in between! I was expecting us to produce a performance like that before the end of the season but I wasn’t expecting us to do it so soon and wasn’t expecting it to happen against West Ham away. We’re talking about a team that had only lost 3 times at home and a team that were unbeaten in their last 6 at home, including a draw against Liverpool. It was the manner of the victory which was most surprising for me. The 2-0 score line flattered them. In truth and on another day it could have easily been 5-0. West Ham didn’t lay a glove on us, which was credit to another disciplined defensive performance to compliment the attractive attacking football we produced.
Q – Richarlison seems to have hit a real good run of form since being moved over to the right hand side and seems to be developing a really good understanding with Seamus Coleman, how impressed with him have you been over the last month or so?
I’ve got to say I’ve been impressed with Richarlison for most of the season. He’s been played out of position, as a centre forward, for half of the season and has managed 13 goals. This is coming from a player who came with doubts over whether he could perform for the whole season. Don’t get me wrong, he’s had the odd poor game but he’s contributed to all of our good performances and win’s this season and lets not forget that this is only his second season in the Premier League. For me, he’s only going to get better and we need to make it our priority to get a striker that is going to compliment not only the team’s style of play but also Richarlison’s. In term’s of his relationship with Coleman, that’s been a massive bonus and I actually think that Coleman’s experience has helped Richarlison settle into the right sided position, which hasn’t always been his favourite.
Q – Moving onto the weekend, Arsenal at home is always a tough game for any side but are Everton playing Arsenal at arguably the right time from their own point of view?
Aside from City and Liverpool, I think I’d be confident playing any team at Goodsion this weekend! Arsenal have always famously had a soft underbelly and although Emery has worked hard to rectify that since his appointment, they’ve still shown that they can be got at, if you put them under pressure. Southampton was an example where they played some decent Football but looked shaky every time the ball came near their box. The way that Dominic Calvert- Lewin, Bernard and Richarlsion are playing, I think we can definitely cause them problems. I am only hoping that Keane and Zouma can handle their strikers (Aubameyang and Lacazette) as on their day, they’re probably the best in the league. I fancy Everton to win Sunday, albeit I also don’t expect us to keep Arsenal out. 2-1 for me!
Q – Finally, Jordan Pickford has been in the media for all the wrong reasons this week after being spotted involved in a physical altercation over the weekend up in Sunderland. Without delving too far into the situation and the accusations; is this the worst thing that could have happened to Pickford at the minute?
It’s really frustrating! Pickford has had a very up and down season and he, along with our defence, was just starting to turn a corner and to have this type of distraction and negative press is exactly what he didn’t need. I can only hope that the situation is now being dealt with internally and he has been able to focus on the game. Things like this will happen in reality. Its just disappointing for him more than anything else as his form in recent weeks has been much improved. In spite of all the stick Pickford has had for mistakes this season as well, there’s only Ederson who has kept more clean sheets in 2019 and only 3 keepers who have kept more clean sheet's than Pickford this season; Certainly nothing to be ashamed of!