Everton will play Swansea City this weekend as Roberto Martinez returns to the club where he once played and then started his coaching career. Both sides have eight points from five games, with the Blues ahead only on goal difference.
Ahead of the game we spoke to an old friend of ours, Steven Carroll, who does a stellar job managing the Swansea blog SOS Fanzine. We highly recommend you stop by and check out the site which has been growing from strength to strength.
RBM - What do you make of Swansea City's start to this season? The draw at Chelsea and win against Manchester United were accompanied by dropped points against Watford and Sunderland - what's going on?
SOS - In general very good, we were excellent at Chelsea and could have won that game, we comfortably beat Newcastle at home, Sunderland was another decent point although we could have won there too and obviously beating Manchester united was another great result. We were very poor at Watford on Saturday though, I'm hoping it was just a one off and I've got no reason to think otherwise at this stage, we will know more after our game on Saturday where I'm expecting a reaction.
RBM - Andre Ayew is already looking like the steal of the summer. How did Swansea do in the transfer window? Were there more squad positions that you were hoping would be bolstered?
SOS - We didn't need to do much really, after a big turnover last summer and the transfer window we were looking quite strong. Andre Ayew is obviously the stand out new arrival, he's made a great start to life at the Liberty with 3 goals so far. The rest were Franck Tabanou at left back Kristoffer Nordveldt in goal and Eder up front. They've been on the fringes so far though. The main thing is now every player has competition for his place which should mean no one will become complacent.
RBM - We heard this week that Jack Cork could soon join Jonjo Shelvey in Roy Hodgson's England squad. Tell us about Swansea's midfield, and if that is the engine room where it all happens.
SOS - Cork has been a revelation since he arrived in January, He'd a younger and bigger Leon Britton, how he hasn't had a call up I don't know. I'm convinced who you play for counts for a lot with Roy Hodgson. Tom Cleverley is a good example, always in the squad whilst at Man Utd, yet goes to Villa and plays more regularly last year but can't get in, baffling. Shelvey meanwhile has made a great start to the campaign, finally cutting out some of his rash tendencies and learning when to play it simple or to go for the more ambitious ball.
RBM - Garry Monk led the Swans to their highest Premier League points total last year, his first full season as a manager at any level. What do you think is the ceiling with this defender-turned-gaffer?
SOS - 8th was a great achievement, can we go higher? It's big ask, although I've said this for years and we seem to keep defying logic. It will be very difficult now though without major investment, without it we're relying on the likes of Liverpool and Spurs having very poor years to have a chance of Europe.
RBM - Tell us a little about the Swans youth setup. How established is the program? Are there any players that you feel are on the fringes of breaking into the first team squad?
SOS - We're about to be awarded category 1 status which is great for the club and they've worked hard and spent a fortune to get the facilities up to scratch. There's a couple of youngsters lurking about the squad but most were bought from elsewhere like Matt Grimes from Exeter and Jay Fulton from Falkirk.There's no sign of any local Welsh lads coming through but that can change, Ben Davies burst onto the scene from nowhere so hopefully something like that will happen again soon.
RBM - Footy fans in the US recently got to watch the Swansea film 'Jack To A King' on television. What were your thoughts on the movie? Was the portrayal of the events accurate?
SOS - It's not wholly accurate but to do that it'd be a 4 hour film and no one wants that, Kenny Jackett is unlucky not to get a mention seeing as he took us up and within a penalty shoot out of back to back promotions. But in general it's a good film, a lot of fans of other clubs and even some of our own probably don't know how dire things were at the start of the Millennium so anyone that watched will learn just how much of a mad story our success has been. I hope there's more to come!
RBM - Swans finally beat the Toffees last season to end an ignominious streak. What is your score prediction for Saturday's game? Who do you think will shine?
SOS - We're still due a league win so I'll go with 2-1, if we react to last Saturday's set back I think we can win. As for who will shine, Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis are our only scorer this term so they're the most likely to cause you problems. On the Everton side the players who concern me the most are Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku.