Oh, wait, we have. Biggest game so far my arse. We don’t need these sort of encounters to prove our top 6 credentials. We do that every season by being in and around the top 6. And, to my mind, the game that proved us to be contenders for – whisper it – the top 4 was the victory away to West Ham. If United, the sh*te and the rest can play terribly, win and be seen as major contenders, we can as well. An atrocious first half was balanced out by great finishing. Sound. We’d like more of the latter on Sunday, but who’s going to say no to an ugly three points?
Spurs have dealt in them this season. Apart from a blinder of a win against Norwich, they’ve done next to sod-all. So what’s with the media interest? They’ve essentially replaced one horribly overpriced player with a few more overpriced stars, and they’re still gelling. One word for that. Perfect. Except we’re doing the same thing. Without the spending spree. Bill Kenwright’s our chairman, and Hell is still not available for ice-skating parties, so we’ll make do with what we’ve got. Loanees.
But they’re ace anyway. Romelu Lukaku has stopped dishing out Kitkats and will be vital to the cause. If he can out-muscle the Terminator-looking Jan Vertonghen, Spurs could have a tough day with Barkley charging in from behind. Gareth Barry brings real solidity to the midfield with his eye for an accurate pass and tackles the BBC love to hate. James McCarthy should learn a thing or two. It’ll be the same line-up as Villa unless there’s some disaster….Pienaar and Baines going at Kyle Walker. Bliss.
Of course, Peanuts notched a goal the last time we did Spurs at Goodison. The other man who grabbed the attention of us Blues in that game seems to be doing so again before this one. Jelavic. Kinell. What’s the verdict? The various forums, pages and fan discussions throughout the week have landed Jela somewhere between a Slavic assassin in waiting to a flop with the touch of Purple Aki. And I don’t think those two mix well. The answer as I see it is as follows: there’s no room for him. Who would you take out of the side now for him? It’s reckoned that Martinez will look at 3-5-2 when Alcaraz makes the least anticipated debut in Everton history – seriously, he’s been here since f*cking July – but that only raises more questions. And Jela wouldn’t be an answer. Still, having two supposedly competent strikers on the bench beats the ginger one making Vellios warm up for half an hour before bringing on John Heitinga.
The key to beating Spurs is not too hard to find. They’ve spent about £100 million on a wealth of attacking talent. Midfielders coming out of their ears. Strikers stacked up on the bench. But before we get all moody and imagine we’ve been turned down by Kelly Brook and ended up with Gail Platt, just have a look at the position they overlooked completely in their chick flick-esque shopping spree. Full backs. Kyle Walker is only an international because Glen Johnson’s a tit and clearly Roy Hodgson doesn’t want to unleash Tony Hibbert on those poor beggars in Brazil. Ahem. Walker’s actually their only fit full back right now. Rose is injured and Naughton has been rated 50/50. But having Naughton at left back would be preferable to the impressive Vertonghen or Vlad Chiriches.
It’s obvious now, isn’t it? Wingers that struggle to track back and full backs that would toil to make our bench. Sorted!
Er, not really. This lot have kept 6 Premier League clean sheets. And in the f*cked-up world of football logic that has David Moyes at Manchester United and Mark Lawrenson’s sad ramblings broadcast to the world, Spurs’ troubles have been in attack. Unreal. They’ve only scored 9 goals. How does that work? Basically, Andre Villas has a bundle of 24-carat gold square pegs and puts them in round holes. And with our defence looking decent, if not always solid, and being backed up by the Beard to be Feared, they might struggle. It’s identical to Chelsea when they turned up and shot with all the accuracy of a drunk archer – which means that the game’s for the taking.
There’s a real possibility that a 0-0 could be on the cards. But, in a weekend where the Welsh derby and a retro clash of ‘title contenders’ grabs the attention, it’d be just right if “plucky little Everton” and “the post-Bale Spurs” could show exactly what they’re made of.
May the best man win – if he’s wearing blue.