It’s not often that I’m left speechless…and this isn’t one of them. Sweet holy fuck Everton.
As regular readers may know I like to stick to the positives. The whole point of this is to make all three of you feel good about the upcoming game. Thanks for reading by the way people. But with the current defending situation it’s hard to find many positives at all at the back.
There are a couple. For the most part Leighton Baines has been exceptional, looking relatively cool at the back and as creative as ever at the top. Two penalties in two games isn’t the usual for us but he took them both in typically ice-cold fashion. Seamus Coleman is a great right back too. He can never get injured again. Never. John Stones is a beautiful footballer but seems a questionable right back, which is strange as he has been put there for Barnsley, Everton and England. For someone who really isn’t that much of a proficient footballer Yannick Bolasie doesn’t half cause us problems.
Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin are causing us major headaches. Are they past it? Considering their combined age is 103 it seems the logical train of thought. Both of the fullbacks look slow, while Howard can’t make up for his mistakes with reaction saves and quick movement any more. What worries us most, I think, is that we’re not entirely sure how they would be replaced. Joel Robles, as they say, can’t catch a cold – he prefers to try and punch it. Stones is breaking through but Galloway, Browning and the rest are still a bit far off. Belief that Howard, Jagielka and Distin will return to their solid best is fading with every game, and that isn’t healthy.
Obviously Roberto Martinez takes his share of the blame for the organisation of the side, but I just don’t buy the “Wigerton” chat. It’s endemic in football right now. Look at Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United. Most sides have been top-heavy so far, and the new style of play which centres around a 4-2-3-1 leaves gaps. Hence why Burnley, with a flat 4-4-2, keep clean sheets but don’t score. The first team to reach compromise takes the spoils. Let’s hope it’s not United, because quite frankly it’s cracking entertainment right now. Dead funny, too.
We’ve reached the point where the need for investment is well and truly in the defence. Players of pedigree with age on their side have bulked up the midfield and attack but at the back youth players need to come through or new ones have to be brought in. Even if Jagielka and Distin do become solid again their days are numbered. That’s how football goes. We move on.
Enough of that. Another distraction comes our way now in the Capital One Cup, previously Carling Cup, previously Worthington Cup, previously Milk Cup, always just the FA Cup’s odd little brother who tags along when he’s not welcome and just brings problems. It’s one hell of a dull draw too. Swansea, who of course have won this more times than us – Neverton, amirite – aren’t an interesting team and their fans are littered with melts who think we’re on their level – ones who should’ve stuck to rugby. Still, while they’re slumped round the Liberty Stadium tonight in their Sports Direct tracksuits and Lacoste caps we can hopefully prove that’s not the case.
They could put anyone out tonight except the suspended Wilf Bony, so I’m not going to even guess. Expect the likes of Gerhard Tremmel, Leon Britton, Marvin Emnes and Bafetimbi Gomis to be bandied about. Not spectacular but it’s the League Cup and when you think of the Fulham side that beat us last year we shouldn’t expect anything from this.
What about the Everton side then?
That’s right. He’s back. The beautiful, beautiful man. In addition to being the most genuinely likable person in football right now he’s a classy player so having him back is a real c0up. Arouna Kone, he of the ice cream head and camel adventuring background, is threatening to actually play some football for Everton. Joel should start in the goal – quiet at the back – with Oviedo or Garbutt on the left, Stones (as the only centre back not prone to being constantly knackered) and Alcaraz in the centre, possibly Hibbert on the right of defence. It would be nice to see Browning or Galloway play, but it’s not likely. Is it worrying that we haven’t seen any of the youth Roberto Martinez promised would play yet? Possibly not. It’s a long season.
Besic and Gibson in midfield. Why not? To be fair James McCarthy could play ninety minutes every day, and he looks like he could do with some more match time to sharpen up technically, but both Besic and Gibson will be desperate for a start, for differing reasons. Atsu and Osman I thought were on the most part shocking on Sunday – apologies for the personal opinions. I know my place. But you have to wonder what exactly the pair add to the side except numbers. Atsu may be able to run fast but looks like a small child could knock him over with consummate ease, which is worrying. Aiden McGeady can’t last ninety minutes at the same tempo but could start. Conor McAleny will fancy a game, but Arouna Kone will be desperate for a start. Samuel Eto’o may play too. He was magical on Thursday but less so on Sunday, which seems to have secured his position as a substitute having an impact only at the end of the game.
You know you’re not arsed about the Capital One Cup. I’m not. I doubt Roberto Martinez really is. But the players care about it, and it’s another ninety minutes of Everton. It can’t get any worse, right? What’s after this game again?
…anyway. Up the Blues.