Once again we check in with our blue neighbors for Saturday's semifinal. Brian from Royal Blue Mersey.com was kind enough to answer our questions, and I did the same over at their site.
Everton come rolling into this on the back of four wins in five matches. What's been the key ingredient?
Once again we have finally hit our stride in the second half. With the exception of the derby match and I believe our loss to Arsenal we are unbeaten since January. Darron Gibson and Stephen Pienaar have both been welcome additions, but the biggest key has been a striker that can score. Jelavic gives us both an aerial threat, as well as someone who can pull the trigger and put it on frame. If Jelavic can get some opportunities on Saturday I think he will convert at least one.
We've made no secret of our admiration for David Moyes and his run at Everton. But it's come without shiny things. If Everton go on to lift the FA Cup, do Everton fans fear that may be the perfect coda to his days at Goodison before he leaves for greener pastures, which few Evertonians would argue he hasn't earned?
At this point I think Moyes only leaves for the right job, and since I can't see him leaving England that leaves only a few teams he would go to. The obvious one is Manchester United once Ferguson retires, but besides that and maybe Spurs, I don't see many clubs Moyes would really want to go to. Chelsea and manchester City would be poor fits for him, and he already refused a lateral/step down move to Aston Villa this past summer. Even if Everton manages to lift a trophy this year I don't see him leaving unless either Spurs or United have an opening.
Would the European place that comes with it be enough for him to stay?
It certainly wouldn't help, but the one thing that would keep Moyes here is the plans for the transfer window. Even if Spurs come calling, I could see Moyes staying if the board would give him some money. 2-3 quality players could see us at least staying in the hunt for 4th place for most of the season, and that would certainly appeal to him.
We asked about him last time, and then Moyes didn't play him. But this Jelavic looks like he's only gotten tastier since arriving...
It is truly amazing what happens when you have a striker that tries, and is able to score goals. Jelavic has had some sublime one touch goals so far, and he also gives us a second aerial threat to go with the always dangerous Tim Cahill. The big challenge is getting Jelavic quality service because if he gets it he will score.
In all four of the wins Everton have kept a clean sheet. Just the normal defense or has something kicked into gear lately?
Our defense has been fairly solid all year, and we currently sit 3rd best in goals allowed so it isn't a huge shock. The central pairing of Sylvian Distin and Johnny Heitinga has developed extremely well, and I would expect them to be the first choice center back pair. Baines is always a known quantity, but at right back Tony Hibbert has had a bit of a revival. Although he can be beaten with pace, he has done much better than I thought he would this season, and has supplanted Phil Neville at right back for most matches.
What is most important for Everton to do or not do to win Saturday's match?
The biggest thing is to have multiple options when going forward. Pienaar is cup tied, and that is a big blow to us. I think one question will be if Royston Drenthe gets a start or not. Drenthe can really change a game, but can also be too inconsistent on defense to warrant a start. If he doesn't go I think Leon Osman, Darron Gibson, and either Seamus Coleman or magaye Gueye will have to step up and help supply Jelavic and Cahill with opportunities.