Another week, another crisis clumsily averted. Standard stuff for the lean, mean fume machine.

First up was the Man City game on Sunday. We played well, but City were better. It really is as simple as that. There were gaps in the defence and errors made that need to be sorted out, as you can see in our excellent review right here. But this was not Everton getting picked apart by some presumed no-hopers, such as Watford. The league’s best team and most potent attack at this stage and perhaps over the entirety of the season had the quality to undo us and I for one did not have sleepless nights over the fact it happened.

The pros and cons were really clear. Barkley and Lukaku’s growing confidence to pick up the ball and attack defences is certainly exciting, while Tom Cleverley puts in the sort of work-rate that Evertonians have always respected. A lot of people forget Denis Stracqualursi was a genuinely awful player, but he ran round loads so good luck to him. Better than that damn lazy Lukaku, him who has scored 40 goals in 85 games for Everton but no, you keep booing him because he hasn’t chased every lost cause. Top Blue you.

If the Man City game was all that had happened this week, this preview would be over now. Bring on Spurs. Up the Blues. But no, then John Stones wades in with a transfer requests and blows our minds.

Let’s think about this perspective-wise shall we? Let’s start with Chelsea. They want a top quality centre back, one who will be world class if he continues on his current trajectory. We’ve dug our heels in so they’re frustrated. Serves them right. All summer we’ve had Mourinho and John Terry in particular talking about Stones directly in all forms of media to cause a reaction. I don’t quite buy into the media conspiracy idea but it’s weird how Everton are the bad guys, isn’t it? See Ollie Holt and Matt Law, now the scourge of Evertonians everywhere, whining. Chelsea fans, they with their misplaced superiority complex, haven’t taken it well. Those 14 year-old lads from Surrey might not have any friends but they can get on Twitter and tell you Stones needs to leave your irrelevant clubs for trophies and success loooool #FreeStones. Thousands of people have had their disability benefits taken away by the Department of Work and Pensions and then died trying to earn the money they need to keep their families safe, journalists have been gunned down or arrested for no reason, and that’s the moral crusade this lot take up. Incredible. A nice rousing chorus of “Fuck off Mourinho” at Goodison on September 12 please people.

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Our stances have been made really clear. Roberto Martinez from the off has been firm and highlighted the need to retain key players if we are to be ambitious. And good on him. Selling top players can only ever give fleeting success at best, as showed by our post-Rooney squad that only had one great season in them. It was a bit worth it for a year of Lee Carsley cruising around breaking all those around him. It was a bit concerning that it took multiple Chelsea bits, numerous Roberto Martinez rebuttals and serious fan unrest to prompt a short but sweet statement from Bill Kenwright, but better late than never. We, the fans, are almost unanimous in our desire to keep the most talented young defender we’ve had at this club since Toto Nsiala. Or maybe Michael Ball.

And Stones himself deserves sympathy, not anger. A talented young lad, it’s unsurprising that Chelsea want him and even less surprising that the lure of joining the English champions would turn his head. He knows, however, that if he keeps working hard interest from Chelsea and others will not go away. He will be under a lot of pressure from the two clubs, the fans and his agent, and yet he still lined up in all of our first four games and did his job. Stones deserves major plaudits for that. The fan who called him a rat needs to really re-evaluate his decision-making paradigm. Or more succinctly, he can fuck off.

So that was a drama. The last thing we needed was yet more drama away at Barnsley in the Capital One Cup. And yet there it was. Because it’s a good way of showing how our minds totally unraveled on Wednesday night, and because it saves me writing much more, I’ll use my tweets to illustrate a Tennessee Williams-esque descent into madness.

First there was calm confidence. Nice dull win for us right?

And following that, poking some fun at the watching media.

At first, it was just your regular, run-of-the-mill Everton commentary…

But then it all went wrong. Sam Winnall and Marley Watkins struck to put Everton 2-0 down after half an hour. Naturally, we didn’t go over-the-top in our reactions.

Half-time came with Everton 2-0 down and we were hoping Roberto Martinez was taking some affirmative action…

Luckily he did, bringing on Barkley and Deulofeu. It worked too, with Mirallas and Naismith scoring to bring Everton level. But just a minute after the equaliser…

3-2. Incredible. And the frustration was getting to us.

But Lukaku struck and extra-time beckoned.

Luckily we stayed grounded and didn’t demand too much…

But Everton took the game by the scruff of the neck, thanks to the dangerous Deulofeu.

120 minutes of action and eight goals. It was more drama than we needed.

It’s tough being an Everton fan.

But enough of that! At least there were positives…

So, just to sum it all up:

  Who’s up next then? Tottenham Hotspur. Bring it on. Spurs fans are a funny bunch. You couldn’t meet a more depressing bunch of football fans, unless you count our good selves. Yet we have a very good idea that our comeuppance is inevitable, whereas the wander ignorantly into disaster every time. They are the Charlie Brown of football, simple as. They believe they’ll kick the ball this time, and whoosh. It’s taken away. Good grief. Spurs don’t look like usurping Arsenal this season after as they fell to a limp defeat at Old Trafford before disappointing draws with Stoke and Leicester. Harry Kane, he with the Punch and Judy mask for a face, looks for all the world like a one-season wonder. So I hope you’ve got Kane for first goalscorer on your slip. It’s one of those teams that looks great on paper but doesn’t quite work out on the field.

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Lloris, with the permanently annoyed look on his grid, in goal. Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee, or Walker and Rose, the brainless wonders haring on up the field from the full back positions, with the more reliable Alderweireld and Vertonghen in the middle. Dier and Mason were used in midfield last week but that doesn’t scream either solidity or potency so Bentaleb or Alli could come in. Dembele, Lamela and Chadli should flank Kane. The absence of Christian Eriksen is a huge boost for us – make no bones about it, he is excellent and the creative force of this Spurs side when he’s fit. Still, best not to underestimate any of them as Soldado netted the winner last year. Kane and Lamela in a 2-1 then?

For us, it’s Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka and Oviedo at the back with Barry and McCarthy in front. Nailed on, you’d think. Oviedo was deliberately targeted by Barnsley and it works so Spurs will do the same. Oviedo will definitely need a lot of support, which is why Cleverley could switch to the left. That would give Mirallas the chance to feature on the right after impressing against the Tykes. Even that selection is harsh on Deulofeu and Kone, who have both staked claims to be in the side. It’s good to see competition. Barkley behind Lukaku because they love playing off each other and you can see it.

Phew. It’s been a hell of a week. Everton have re-established themselves as piss-boilers supreme, which is fantastic, but the non-stop drama has been too much to bear. We could do with a good, calm, straightforward match. And preferably Everton thrashing these. Make it so Blues.

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