In a season being hyped for the history of the Football League, we now come across the 197th league meeting with the jewel of the Midlands – a similar plaudit to smartest man in the Man Utd dressing room. Painfully, Aston Villa have beaten us 72 times, when we’ve only overcome them on 71 occasions. Time to put that right, eh?
When you think about it, that’s not too much of a surprise. Despite being relatively naff since Martin O’Neill and Doug Ellis had a right brainstorm in parting company, our defeat of them in August last season is our only one in the last 14 meetings. You can see the club website has had a tough time picking out Everton wins when their clips show Leon Osman with hair and Kevin Kilbane picking out a pass. Good times. Funny to think we were grappling for fifth place not long ago.
Let’s face it – we’d take fifth right now. Under that bloke who made way for Martinez, we sort of settled for a bit below that and went stale. Talk from that other whiskey-nosed Scot about contract wrangling doesn’t bother me. As far as I’m concerned, even before the start of the season, we had got the better deal. A £13.5 million profit from a Fellaini-McCarthy swap in our midfield suits me perfectly, and the football we play now is more School of Science than Breaking Bad-style meth lab. So we’re on the up, I’d argue.
And so are Villa. While we were stagnating somewhat, Villa showed us what would’ve happened if we had changed up when trigger fingers started getting twitchy a few years back. Paul Lambert inherited the sh*te crumbled house that Houllier and McLeish built, and just about saved it from falling down entirely with some shrewd buys. Honestly, he could be set to do a real rebuilding job on Villa, if he works out that he actually needs some more experience in the side. But there’s some quality there. Benteke. Kinell.
We’re going to see a real clash of titans this weekend. Of course, if Heitinga and Vlaar blag their way in we could have a clash of tits too. Lukaku and Benteke are in form, each with 4 goals from 6 games, and both know how to terrorise defences. Last season our only way of stopping Benteke providing Villa with 3 points at Goodison was with our own big man, Marouane Fellaini, saving our neck. Hopefully Lukaku has the cutting edge to grab a win for us. But he’ll have to work on his stamina, as he seems to burn out after 45 minutes still. Benteke’s only just back from injury himself, so while neutrals grab the popcorn and defenders get the painkillers stocked, we’re gonna have to wait and see how this one pans out.
Not too worried about their home ‘advantage’ either. They’ve had the toughest opening round of fixtures, and have handled it relatively well. That being said, the sh*te, Newcastle and Spurs have all rolled them over at their place already. But we’re either going to face the side that had a worse time than Neil McArdle at his wedding against Spurs (twice) or the bunch that did Man City. That unpredictability is a tad worrying.
One thing we haven’t been is unpredictable. Even against Hull last week, when it was rocky for a bit, it seemed like there was a goal around the corner. And it took magic Stevie Peanuts to get it. Great to see him knocking about. And if he’s fit, he should go back to that ace left-side partnership with Baines – unless Kev Mirallas starts drifting over there. If not, it’s the same starting line-up as against Hull.
Two particular players seem to be dividing opinion more and more every week – Leon Osman and Arouna Kone. To all those who reckon that – and I’ll leave the insults out – we should get rid. Get out of your own arses. To all those who think they’re boss and there’s no worries. Ditto. Osman’s past his best, granted, but his arrowing about gives Gareth Barry room to spray the ball about without having to move more than the average crane. So he fits into Martinez’s plan – which is why he gets picked. Part of the system. When he attempted incisive passes under Moyes, we appreciated it because barely anyone else did. Now everyone’s doing it, and accurately, he’s a bit obsolete. One January signing and it may be the end, so enjoy a loyal and (mostly) reliable Evertonian while you have him, eh?
And Kone is not Lukaku. He’s probably not the best we could’ve got for £6 million. But he’s three f*cking months into his contract, people. We should be saving questions about his future until the end of the season, let alone twatting him with abuse and whining “get rid” on Facebook. Don’t be a sad-act. That being said, both should be on the bench. Happy medium, that.
Saturday’s about more important things. More important than even football. I’m just going to leave this here.
Come on you Blues.