Everton away on Saturday evening. Never an easy fixture, Dogs of War, the Eyes of Moyes, the ears of Phil Neville, that sort of thing. Probably not our first choice of game when we need to kick start the points gathering machine, but we’ve got to play them some time I guess. Did they really have to be on a six game unbeaten run though?
Remember the reverse fixture in January, the fabled Game In Hand when Assou-Ekotto’s blockbuster put the gloss on a comfortable win? Things seemed oh so simple then.
On the back of recent results there’s been a spate of Tactically Naive Redknapp articles. There’s some basis to it and the Harry for England brigade should be careful what they wish for, however motivating, confidence building and getting the best from his players are his main qualities and are the ones we’ll need him to crank up to eleven at Goodison.
Injurywise we’re not in too bad a state, or we weren’t before Wednesday night and the disappearance, once again, of Dawson and Lennon. We’ve developed a fragility; calf strains, hamstrings, and more than your average quantity of bouts of illness have all been larger influences than one would expect of late. It’s inevitable in some ways that weariness will kick in, long season and all that, it is though within the DNA of the team for it to develop a second wind during the last quarter of the season and kick on to the Moneybags League and Wembley.
Our strength this season has been in speed and width and with Lennon out and Bale performing a wandering minstrel act we’re going to have to look for a plan B. If Van der Vaart is available Saha may have to wait for a call from the bench before he is allowed to get one back on his former club. Parker will return and it’s Mark Halsey’s eye he’ll be hoping he doesn’t catch as he edges towards ten yellow cards. He either has 7 or 8 at the moment, depending on who you believe.
For Everton, there’ll be no Pienaar and he’s been a big influence in their recent revival. Who will he be cheering on? Understandably he has a loyalty to the scousers, but at the same time he’ll be hoping for Champions League football next season.
It’s the first big game until the next one. A win will be tough, it generally is up there, a draw understandable, a loss unforgiveable. COYS.
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