The worst part of it all is that we’ve had to mull over the Spurs defeat for a full week, especially as the two sides above us won in midweek. Never mind, the league’s not a foregone conclusion yet. We can discuss that later.
But huzzah, the FA Cup returns! Those of you who reckon we should give up on the chase for 4th and concentrate this need to listen to the words of the Right Honourable Roberto Martinez:
“Success in the Cup can really help in the league and the other way round. You just need to find enough strength in the squad to face both competitions if you have a pile up of fixtures.”
And then there are my own views. Yes, you have to read them. Your fault for clicking the link really isn’t it. We try to win every game we play, don’t we? Yes, David Moyes isn’t in the dugout. Yes, Phil Neville left, remember? Technically, we’re up for the league and up for the cup. There’s more of a chance that the fit sort from Wolf of Wall Street (if you’ve seen it, you’ll know) is about to burst into my room and declare “Happy Valentine’s Day you sexy blue bastard” and carefully-
-erm, never mind. Anyway, more chance of that than us winning the league. But there’s really no problem straddling league and cup….Straddling, eh.
No, wait. Keep previewing. In our lofty quest for that shining silver trophy there are but five more obstacles – the fifth round, the quarter finals, the semi finals, the final and the fact that we’re Everton, aren’t we. First things first; the fifth round means a second meeting of the season with Swansea, which is no bad thing. The good news is that this lot should bring a full away contingent as the rugger’s not on this week and it’s better to brave the Coronation Street-esque sh*tey tempest plaguing our fair city than go get their scran and discover it’s past the sell-by once they’ve finally managed to swim home.
In footballing terms, it’s a meeting of two teams eyeing a nice Wembley trip. As usual, we’re going to be on the receiving end of New Manager Syndrome, with Garry Monk replacing moving mannequin-cum-football manager and all round good egg Michael Laudrup. Typical, eh? Would be our luck if another team we’ve got in the next month or so got a new boss and-Fulham did what now? Of course they did.
There’s an all-round sense of glad tidings around that particular portion of South Wales after a barnstorming 3-0 derby win (imagine, eh) before a draw against Stoke in midweek. Monk described the scorer, the friend of tabloid headline-writing hacks everywhere, Chico Flores, as “a warrior”. Not sure he’s up there with the Vikings and the teams that had to play Leeds in the early Seventies, but that’s cute. This lot are confident and coming off the back of two away Cup victories. No slip-ups please, Everton.
In goal will most likely be Gerhard Tremmel, still yet to realise that Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley scored past him in December, such was the power behind those hits. They can’t make many changes, but Amat will most likely join Williams, Rangel and either Davies or Taylor. In fact, there’s a whole mess of Spanish sorts about. Canas, Tapas, Alvaro, Hernandez, er…Leon Britton…Wilfried Bony’s finally in some sort of form and could partner Michu. The perennially confusing Wayne Routledge could complete the line-up and give our full-back either the easiest or toughest game he could forsee.
Awful team news to report sadly Evertonians. David N’Gog is Cup-tied and can’t play. Ah well. Little scruff probably would’ve scored, wouldn’t he.
For Everton, Joel Robles has learned that he has to save the shots going right at him as well as the tough ones and is a very trustworthy deputy to Tim Howard. With Swansea’s pace on the wings, Coleman will have to start ahead of Hibbert. Jagielka and Stones should make up the middle pair, with Leighton Baines on the left. Easy, this.
Barry and McCarthy’s dead obvious, although it wouldn’t be all bad if Barry took a break. He has looked a tad off the pace recently – not that he’s particularly ever at the pace – and without him anchoring the team McCarthy’s bombing forward for a ball that doesn’t reach him. Osman’s in – awh, shut up you lot, he can do a job – with McGeady and Naismith likely to feature as well. That leaves the big man, Lacina Traore. Apparently as well as being so tall he stood up and took out the roof tiles on the Winslow (and there you were thinking it was the wind) he’s got a good touch for a big man. Clichés aside, we’ll see if he’s got the capability to ease our attacking worries with Lukaku a couple of weeks away from featuring again.
And the bench – Howard, Hibbert, Distin, Barkley, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Pienaar. Sound, eh. We must be going up in the world.
Basically, we need to be just a little bit fickle. The Premier League was the be all and end all last weekend, but now the only focus is letting us all get a hand on the Cup, not just that wee Formby lad. Has anyone got 4-0 on their slip? Up the Blues.