After their great second half to last season Everton started this campaign as one of the favourites to challenge for a top four place but instead they have emerged, like a caterpillar from a butterfly, as a team that those at the top are disappointed not to gather three points from when they meet. Just ask Man City.
Their problems up front where theyâ€™re short of healthy quality players are well documented which is why waving goodbye to Tim Cahill as he heads off to the Asia Cup (whatever that is) will not please David Moyes as he tries to steer the Toffees back on track by emulating last seasonâ€™s post December points haul. Saha played at Stoke at the weekend when they lost 2-0 with Anichebe and Beckford coming on as subs when things started to get desperate and some combination of the three will have to try and replace Evertonâ€™s leading goalscorer and provider.
Theyâ€™re currently 13th but only three points clear of 18th & 19th placed Fulham and Birmingham. Their win at Eastlands a fortnight ago was their one & only in the last 10 league games. So a good time to visit Goodison then? If there is a good time then yes, I suppose it is.
We, as usual, have injury problems with Hutton and Gallas struggling after Saturdayâ€™s game against Fulham. Corluka and Bassong will probably cover though the introduction of Kyle Walker to the team after the good reports heâ€™s been getting at QPR would be the more interesting option. He might help introduce some energy into a slightly tired looking team. Freshening up the midfield might do the same though how to give Jenas, Kranjcar, Sandro, et al games without losing too much solidity in the middle is a tricky one. Palacios is on four yellow cards so will shortly no doubt be forcing Harry to make a decision about a shake-up anyway. And talking of disciplinary problems, Kaboul and Defoe are still suspended.
Without Cahill, Everton will be reliant on Arteta, Coleman and Baines to provide some creativity and pierce a Spurs defence that has suddenly become rock solid with two clean sheets in a row. That this parsimoniousness has coincided with the return of Michael Dawson is no surprise.
Wednesday nightâ€™s game gives everyone a chance to get together afterwards and discuss the move of Steven Pienaar to WHL should they want to. Good player though he is Iâ€™ve no idea where heâ€™d fit in. Heâ€™d be cover for someone I guess, whether heâ€™d be happy with that is a different matter. Perhaps at 28 heâ€™s just after a big payday whilst he can.
Anyway whether or not he and Levy have pens poised whilst they mull over the finer details of his new Spurs contract post Lee Probertâ€™s final whistle, letâ€™s hope weâ€™ve managed to maintain momentum, kept Evertonâ€™s workhorses at bay and put more pressure on those above us. COYS.
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