It was the best of times, it was the…blurst of times?
A thousand monkeys constantly having pops at goal would have taken many attempts to slip and inadvertently lob the goalkeeper, as Steven Naismith did on his Goodison return. That, plus a late sucker-punch, knocked us out of the League Cup. Again. 56 years since the first one. While we haven’t been in all of them, it still works out as around half a century of bowing out, pretending it meant nothing, and moving on. Not a great day for the whole ‘nothing will be the same’ spiel.
Let’s not wallow in it for too long, though, and let’s not get caught up in the Naismith debate. Yes, he deserves a lot of praise and respect for his time at Everton, more his sterling community work than a playing stint that lurched between unerringly cool finishing and underwhelming ineffectiveness, but applauding going 1-0 down at home to a Championship side is never going to sit right with me.
I’m one for focusing on the positives though. We’ve got 13 points from a possible 15 in the league. Idrissa Gana Gueye is wearing the royal blue and putting opponents on their arses left, right and centre. We’ve got quite a friendly run of fixtures too, so Big Stand FC fans can wail that “YER HAVEN’T PLAYED ANYONE DECENT SO IT DOESN’T COUNT” line for a bit longer. Arsene Wenger has kept Arsenal in the top four for years by picking off the weaker sides, so it’s not a bad way to be doing things. If we’re going to be flat-track bullies we’ll pick up a lot of points – and that’s not to say that we couldn’t beat the bigger teams either.
We dealt with Middlesbrough very well, responding to Stekelenburg getting knocked over yet again – a man that big should not be hitting the deck more than Charlie Brown going for a punt. It was a blatant foul, of course. We look much more swift and efficient in attack – Bolasie brings an extra yard of pace, but his crossing has also been good considering no winger ever gets every cross right. Lukaku claiming the third goal is pure snide, which is great frankly, because a striker foaming at the mouth for every goal he can get is nothing but a good thing. It was Gareth Barry’s day of course, and a goal to mark his 600th Premier League appearance was well deserved. The man is pure class. He seems to have found the Fountain of Youth, so I look forward to him running the show as we win the league in 2045/46.
Jeremy Corbyn though, eh. That should trigger ‘cult’ trending on Twitter. Hopefully it’ll also set into motion some sort of unity in fighting the real enemy, as they cackle from atop their ivory towers.
And that’s as good a segue to talking about Bournemouth as you’ll get.
There’s more from me, but this week’s guest diatribe is from Joe Jones:
Fuck off Jack Wilshere. Honestly. Aside from all Liverpool players he is by far the player I hate most in the premier league. Imagine having to go to school with him. He’d have been a cocky twat who acted solid around his mates then flapped it when he got confronted. And he probably would be chatting up that nice girl you sat next to in art. And then offered her a ciggy round the back of the sports hall and asked her to his mates party Friday night. And then got off with her while you sat at home watching Blind Date with yer ma. And then he’d come into school Monday morning and told everyone how great he was and how he played for Arsenal. Well the joke is on you now mate. You’re playing alongside Andrew Surman and Steve Cook. Managed by Eddie Howe. Career ruined by injuries. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bloke. I hope you fail at Bournemouth, you Stone Island wearing, earing sporting, full of yourself little prick. Only Sandra, your mums mate stuck in a loveless marriage would touch you now.
Jack Wilshere rant over. 3-0 the Ev this one. We will be looking to bounce back strongly from our horror show midweek, and I expect Lukaku to continue his run.
Also, in case I didn’t quite get the message across…
Fuck off Jack Wilshere.”
So, while Joe jams pins into the nether regions of his Jack Wilshere doll, let’s discuss this bunch of Little Englanders we’re playing. Bournemouth are quite likeable as a club – good manager (and a Blue) who didn’t sacrifice principles for survival tactics last season and saw the benefits of it, plus a mish-mash of Premier League rejects and Football League success stories. They’ve all got an eye on Artur Boruc in goal, mind, because they’ll only accept having so many of them in their town. Smith, Cook, Francis and Daniels form a defence destined to be playing Championship football quite soon. King, Surman, Arter and Stanislas in the midfield – alright, Arter’s decent. Stanislas was last year’s ‘shite player who nets against Everton’ recipient, and Surman is nailed on for it this time. Wilshere might feature too, and Callum Wilson up front. We should beat them – and if we are beating them, make sure it actually happens before you run on the pitch.
The fans are on the pitch, they think it’s all over…oh hang on a sec, it’s not. Bournemouth have scored again.
That game was up there with the worst of Roberto Martinez’s spell in charge – ineptitude at the back, a lack of discipline and fitness throughout. Ronald Koeman values the qualities we lacked on that fateful day higher than anything, so there’s no way there’ll be a repeat. Right? Stekelenburg in goal, Coleman, Williams, Jagielka and Baines at the back. No shoehorning Funes Mori on the left, thankyouverymuch. Gueye and Barry, Bolasie, Barkley and Mirallas probably. Lukaku back in the side and up front.
Ross Barkley is a discussion for another time. I’ve left this preview dead late, so I’m calling it quits here. After this are Palace, Burnley and West Ham, with a visit to those mings so stubbornly refusing to relinquish top spot in the middle. Another win here and the royal blue machine can roll on, leaving midweek disappointment firmly in its wake.
Nice and easy then Everton.