The international break can fuck off.
Oh, sorry. How are you? It’s been a while. Now…where was I? Oh yeah.
The international break can fuck off.
Not only is it the normal procession of garbage, although England surprised everyone by doing a bit of a professional job at Celtic Park, as if they were…motivated or something. The Auld Enemies showed barely any snide though so the whole thing’s a bust in my eyes. Meanwhile we amassed quite the pile of human wreckage: Baines and his hamstring, Gibson and his being Gibson, Coleman and the rockets in his feet being faulty so he’s gone to sleep like that Philae lander on that comet, McCarthy needs his batteries replacing and Kev Mirallas refuses to accept that he’s the answer to all our problems, while Barry got blindsided by that scruffy mong Jordi Gomez so he’s hopefully out for a real person’s six weeks, not Arouna Kone’s. Oviedo and Kone would make even Daniel Sturridge grateful for his Cheesestring muscles. I’m gonna follow the Roy Keane school of mindless and random angry blame by blaming Roy Keane for it all. Once he stopped being a boss midfielder he merely turned into being an angry tit. It’s over, Roy.
For once everyone’s talking about football. I’ve had people who couldn’t discern the offside trap from a bear trap talking to me about football, although most of it is on that bad bell Ched Evans and Sheffield United almost tearing apart the moral structure of the entire sport before panicking and bottling out of letting him train. “Reaction has been at an intensity that could not have been anticipated”. And then the co-chairman starts moaning about “mob mentality”. He’s a convicted rapist lads. Even if the Independent hadn’t taken it on as its moral outrage piece du jour he’s still a menace and can’t just stroll in. If he was shite you wouldn’t have bothered and you know it. I’m naturally inclined to agree with everything Jess Ennis says so get him to fuck right off.
It’s a weird world out there. We as a race can land a crock pot on a comet that’s moving faster than James McCarthy tracking down a roving winger but can’t sort out our own tit behaviour. The bloke who used to lead the ‘sexuality cure’ group/cult of knobheads has married a man, for fuck’s sake. The Beautiful Game has taken a kicking too, for Evans, then Malky Mackay and Dave Whelan, who really ought to stick to talking about when he broke his leg. In the grand scheme of things, the uninitiated whine, who cares about that silly football? It’s all money and metrosexuals and backwards thinking isn’t it. Well, in the circle of those in the know – seeing as it’s over a billion people we’re hardly in clandestine affairs here – get it. And once the mongs stop babbling about rape and ethnicity as if an entire sport can be held accountable for their drivel, we can get back down to watching twenty-two people knocking a ball about. All the ethnicities, sexualities, genders, religions and nationalities welcome. If you wear the Everton crest with pride you’re alright.
The break has made clean slates of all your impressionable minds, so let me fill you in. Everton are boss. We’re just lulling the likes of Chelsea in, letting them build a big (big, big, big) lead, and then reeling them in. Samuel Eto’o is a trophy magnet.
With that (mostly bollocks) good feeling in mind, let’s go back to the Stadium of Light. It was all a bit disappointing. Hadrian’s Wall has lasted for milennia but Tim Howard’s wall fell apart in moments. Reminded me a lot of that game away to Stoke at the start of the year. Never looking like winning at all, only being rescued by a penalty and generally making us tear out hair out. Vis-à-vis good ol’ Everton. Not long after that we started a boss run of form so you never know.
That was kicked off by a win against West Ham, and it would be nice to nick a win here with us currently on a run of six without defeat (would you believe). That does include two Europa League games and two league draws, as well as the wins over footballing tragedies Burnley and Aston Villa. We may as well continue knocking down more clarets than Kerry Katona by sorting this lot out. To be fair, they’ve made an excellent start to the season. After early defeats to a rampant Southampton and the rampant lunatics that are Spurs, Sam Allardyce well and truly piped down the dissenters by leading his side on a good run of form. It was a mix of luck (Stewart Downing actually finding the form he left back in 2008), good judgment (Diafra Sakho, inexplicably, has been a good last-minute cheap buy off some French sorts) and the ability to whizz off £15 million on Enner Valencia, as part of the post-World Cup signing hype that brought the Premier League the exciting talents of Christian Gamboa and David Ospina. It’s all going well though and there’s talk of the “West Ham way” coming back, whatever that is. Perhaps Trevor Brooking, or the World Cup contingent. Did you know the likes of Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst are ‘Ammers? They never mention it. Apart from having a bit of an EDL contingent about with England flags draped on their white vans (it’s fine, I’m not a Labour MP. I can get away with it) and some of the Green Street loving mob who actually think a football match is a good place to nut someone, they’re mostly a genuinely likeable lot, so all power to them if we’re now seeing a revamped 2002/3 Bolton. They’ll need Okocha and Djorkaeff equivalents to make it work though. Samuel Eto’o would’ve done the trick.
They really hate playing us as well. We barely batted an eyelid at doing the double over them last season because it made it four wins on the bounce in a run of 13 unbeaten against them. There’s all sorts of quality stats to be had. Our form read D-W-D-W-D so this is nailed on apparently. We’ve had 499 different scorers in our history, so viva Besic. We’ve won 21 and drawn 8 of our last 29 Saturday 3pm kick offs at Goodison. And it goes on and on and on. Absolute bonanza of information. Sometimes you wish that games were just concluded on paper rather than grass, but it’s tough to fit 22 players and a referee on a piece of paper. Plus you wouldn’t get that satisfying feeling of splitting your slip in twain.
The reason they’re above is simply that…well, that they have more points…but mostly because their defence is made up of the usual suspects every week. James Collins is no Alec Baldwin, the big dome-headed grock, but he joins Winston Reid in a pairing that suffers no fools. Carl Jenkinson is a few good games away from Arsenal fans telling us he’s better than Coleman, so get ready for that, and Aaron Cresswell is a fine young left back who once graced the streets of Birkenhead as a Tranmere player. The East End of London must seem like Paris in comparison. Behind them is Adrian rather than Jussi Jaaskelainen, he of great Allardycian repute. In front of them is the human steamroller that is Cheickou Kouyate along with Mark Noble, that one player each club has where the fans insist he must play for England, no matter how mediocre he really is. How many caps does Leon Osman have again? Too many. Madness. Alex Song’s fall from grace from Barcelona to being in constant fear he might be substituted for part two of the Sam Allardyce starter pack, Kevin Nolan, has been well-documented. Stewart Downing’s rise back to enough form where he can actually start an England game ahead of Ross Barkley hasn’t been documented enough. He’s been fantastic for West Ham, creating more chances than the likes of Fabregas. Dwarfed in terms of assists by Leighton Baines, mind, but how many aren’t? Downing and the in-form Sakho may or may not be injured, so it could be Amalfitano and Carlton Cole in instead. Hopefully you’re as ready for a late Cole equaliser from dubious defending off a corner as I am. Valencia up top for sure. Good side, but they’re no Everton really.
Or are they? Who’s even fit? Duncan Ferguson might want to warm up here. Our certs at the back are Howard, Distin and Jagielka, but the rest is of concern. Coleman should be OK, but Baines is a doubt. Who replaces him? With Oviedo out it must be Garbutt. Roberto Martinez is starting to look a bit like one of those tits off the Apprentice with all the chat, except about 140% less Tory. All the talk about youth products coming into the senior ranks is like saying Ross Barkley will be the very bestest England player EVER, of all time, EVER. If it doesn’t happen he’ll start to look deluded, and we’ve seen plenty of deluded managers. None are popular. Especially when their team loses their best player and the second best player gets injured, leaving them in a rotten run of form. But of course I’m being vague, that could be anyone. But how many of them can ping two free kicks in within a few minutes? Exactly. Plus Baines has assisted every goal we’ve ever scored so we’re scuppered here.
Barry’s out and McCarthy’s a doubt. Besic is a shout because he’s got clout. I’ll stop now. Gibson may or may not be fit, but this is Darron Gibson, so welcome to the fold Ryan Ledson! Or maybe Ross Barkley will drop back and sulk for a bit. Mirallas is still a maybe, Steven Pienaar’s off collecting acting awards on behalf of himself and Samuel Eto’o and playing Eto’o or Lukaku on the wing is a ready-made nightmare, so Aiden McGeady and possibly Osman or Atsu are in with Naismith in the middle. Lukaku up top. Injuries and tactical tinkering means there are about 20 variations of the starting XI Roberto Martinez could decide on, so I’m going to be non-committal as to avoid getting egg on my face. Any team will do. Everton aren’t they.
It’s about time we kicked on now. As much fun as it is watching Liverpool and Spurs grapple with mid-table mediocrity, it’s not as good if we’re not sitting smugly in the top echelons, laughing from above. The likes of Newcastle and this lot are above us too, and that needs to be sorted out sooner rather than later. The run of fixtures taking us as far as February look quite promising in terms of putting together a truly formidable run of form so as soon as we can get the good times rolling the better.
You know the drill, Everton. This lot may look hard but get the Goodison Roar out and they’ll revert to stereotype. Up the Scaasers. My weekend is filled with writing about Arab feminism and as riveting as it is you’re the highlight.
No matter how frustrating you are, we missed you Everton. You know what you can do international break. And stay out.