Next up is a trip to Cardiff City and the first meeting between the sides for 34 years. To find out a little bit more about the opposition we spoke to Phillip Nifield, the Press Officer for Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust.
Read on to find out more about moving from Blue to Red, how Everton will cope with life after Moyes and who we should look out for in the Cardiff City side.
What a tremendous result against Manchester City. How are Cardiff adapting to life in the Premier League?
The quality of players is significantly better than the Championship, but I believe that with a little more strengthening before deadline day we will have enough to avoid relegation, which is what all promoted teams aim for in their first season.
Cardiff has been knocking on the door of the Premier League for some time now, but always fell just short. What was the difference last season?
Malky Mackay built a team rather than a team of individuals which was the problem under former manager Dave Jones. Malky was also able to strengthen on the previous season.
What are your hopes for the new season?
Anything better than 18th would be satisfactory but I think we can surprise a few teams, as Manchester City found out.
Cardiff have been busy in the transfer market, which of the new signings are you particularly excited about?
We have been missing a top holding player in midfield, so Gary Medel and also Steven Caulker has improved the defence.
I noticed in the press that some supporters continue to protest about the change of club colours from Blue to Red. What is the general feeling now towards the changes? Have fans adopted the Red shirts, or do they continue to turn up in Blue?
A survey last season by the Supporters’ Trust found the vast majority of supporters – including those who are reluctant Reds – would prefer a return to Blue and a good number are determined to keep a strong Blue presence in the stadium. The change to Red was unnecessary, removing years of history and tradition, although it is accepted that the Malaysian financial backer Vincent Tan did cover club debts and provide significant funding for team strengthening. He would be idolised if we returned to Blue, but I don’t expect that in the short-term.
Malky Mackay was linked by the press with the Everton job in the summer. What is he like as a manager? Is he liked by the Cardiff support?
Malky is hugely popular with Bluebirds fans and has an excellent relationship with supporters. He is after all the manager who delivered the dream of Premier League football.
What were your thoughts on Everton last season and under David Moyes for the last 11 years? Over or under achievers?
Everton over achieved given their financial clout is nowhere near the other top teams in the division. David Moyes was brilliant at making a lot out of tight purse strings.
We are under a new manager for the first time in 12 years, what are your thoughts on Roberto Martinez?
He was responsible for Swansea City’s current playing style. He did OK at Wigan, but following David Moyes is a tough ask.
Where do you think Everton will finish this season?
Should make the Top 8.
Which Everton player do you most admire?
I have to say Leighton Baines, as he’s in my Fantasy Football team
On the Premier League
Who do you think will be…
Manchester United, if they can improve their midfield, otherwise Chelsea.
The surprise package?
Aston Villa will do a lot better if they can keep Benteke fit.
Hull, Crystal Palace and one another – but not Cardiff City
The best signing?
Player of the Year?
I wouldn’t bet against Van Persie, but Robert Soldado at Tottenham could do well – he’s also in my Fantasy Football team.
On Cardiff vs. Everton
What is your score prediction?
I’m hoping we can catch Everton still settling in under a new manager, but it will be difficult so 1-1.
What do you expect to be the Cardiff starting XI?
Unchanged from the Manchester City game. Marshall, Connolly, Taylor, Caulker, Turner, Whittingham, Medel, Kim, Gunnarsson, Bellamy, Campbell.
Who should we look out for? Do you have any hidden gems?
Peter Whittingham’s dead ball skills – corners and free kicks are excellent – as he showed with his corner for the second goal against Manchester City.
This will be Everton’s first visit to the Cardiff City stadium, what is the ground like? Do the home support create a good atmosphere?
There were complaints that the atmosphere was not as good as at Ninian Park which was always intimidating. But the Cardiff City Stadium was rocking at the Manchester City game and it was the best atmosphere since the stadium opened.
Phillip Nifield, Press Officer, Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust