Finally, it’s the ‘Game In Hand’. This match against Everton has been granted near mythical status since its postponement in August on police advice following a spot of bother in the area the weekend before. On Thursday morning our theoretical advantage over those around us will be actual and down on paper as another notch in the ‘W’ column. Well that’s the theory anyway. Whether we’re able to deliver a 5 month delayed spanking to the Toffees is another matter of course.
At full strength we’re in a much better position this winter to rain down on the scousers than we were to bring any heat in the summer with Adebayor, Parker and and a head-in-the-right place Modric now in place however Parker’s injury means that only the two foreigners Luka likely to play. I don’t know that, I just wanted to use the pun. Parker may be fit, I hope he is, we need him. King’s latest setback added to Gallas’s calf injury mean that the return of Dawson is timely. Putting him straight into the team ahead of Bassong will send the Cameroonian a message but probably not one he hadn’t got wind of already.
Lennon was playing excellently before pulling up against Sunderland and the trouble we’ve had filling his boots mean that his stock has much improved in his absence. Assuming he came through the game against Cheltenham unscathed, he should start which will give Redknapp a decision to make up front. One presumes Livermore will cover for Parker if he doesn’t make it, which leaves two to be permed from Adebayor, VdV and Defoe with the latter most likely to miss out.
Everton’s form has been as erratic with Moyes’s biggest problem the same as usual, finding someone to score goals for him. Unbelievably Tim Cahill didn’t manage to find the net once in 2011, an extraordinary stat. His teammates have not done much better with Saha also going through something of a goal drought – 2 in 17 appearances thus far this season. A year ago the Everton manager sent Yakubu on loan to Leicester, given his recent goals for Blackburn he must be questioning that decision now.
Phil Neville traditionally has a decent game against Bale, the ‘new’ tactic of allowing the Welshman to roam across the front line will hopefully mean that he’ll be able to escape the often over zealous attention applied to him.
Everton also have injury worries with all of Barkley, Osman, Cahill, Hibbert, Coleman, Rodwell and Jagielka either definitely or possibly missing. Another stat – if all games this season ended at half time then apparently Everton would be bottom of the league. They’re obviously a team to be watched in the second half.
Martin Atkinson is down to referee, unlikely to be a popular appointment with the away side as he was the man who erroneously sent off Rodwell in the Merseyside derby in October.
Should the worst happen and we end up Harry-less after the European Championships then David Moyes’ name is one that will seriously be mentioned as a possible replacement. Given this it would only be human of the Scot to take a look around WHL on Wednesday and try and picture himself in charge. If he’s doing it after the game, let’s hope he’s also imagining himself the boss of the team now level with one Manchester club and hot on the heels of the other. COYS.
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