Alright then, international break. Now fuck off will you. Go on. Off you fuck. Bit more. Further. Keep going, keep going…and…yeah, that’ll do. No, actually, fuck off some more.
What do you mean, there’s another one in a month? When Donald Trump causes a nuclear apocalypse and eradicates every nation on this planet, at least the sizzling, lifeless Pangaea that remains wouldn’t host England struggling to overcome some no-marks while Twitter users moan that the game is mind-numbingly dull, as if it’s not the most unsurprising twist since it turned out that yes, Brexit isn’t all sunshine and rainbows even for the jingoistic swivel-eyed daft twats who told you it’s all you ever wanted and more.
So vote Trump, America. Him, the Shite-O-Matic 2000, with the head like a tangerine that’s well past its best before date. Anything to end the horrors of pretending you care about any side captained by Jordan Henderson.
Everton are back, and this time we’re actually playing someone pretty sound. Manchester City are sound by most accounts anyway – if you hate them for being plucked from obscurity and becoming contemporary titans of the game, looking down upon their previously untouchable cringe-factory red neighbours as they buy some of the best players in the world, what have you been hoping Everton do all these years? Thursday marked 15 years since City drew 2-2 at home to Stockport County in what is now the Championship. Now, after playing us, they’re taking on Barcelona.
Couple of negatives mind, one being that success has attracted a wave of bad knobheads, especially now Pep Guardiola is getting the lads who do heat maps of themselves pacing round their ma’s basement drooling over the club. Another is that they’re now no longer whipping boys for us. In the good old days, back when David Moyes had us dreaming of the glory of sixth place, and Victor Anichebe and Jose Baxter constituted promising young talent, we’d beat them home and away. No wins in the last six meetings with City means those times are well and truly over.
Here’s some words from Joey Farrell as he points out how to end that run:
“It’s not every week you have two teams who, in many people’s eyes, have made decent starts to the season, coming in with what they would both consider disappointing form. The enthusiasm that followed from a positive August made way for a very Everton like September. Not the perfect preparation for a trip to the so-called champions elect, but the Blues (Royal, not Sky) can take heart from the recent performances from Celtic and Spurs that show Pep still has a lot of work to do to make City an unstoppable force. As with any Guardiola side, City have shown signs of being a bit of a soft touch at the back, with Everton old boy John Stones bringing his brand of scare the living daylights out of his fellow defenders to the Etihad in the summer.
Give them time and Stones and co. will pass us off the park. Get up and at them, and Everton stand a good chance of giving City serious problems going forward. Once again the spotlight will be on Ross Barkley to step up to the plate, in a fixture where he has previously excelled. The recent form of Romelu Lukaku will also be a massive boost, assuming he’s recovered fully from any knock from any sort of Martinez sabotage on international duty. A smash-and-grab would be welcome, but a point here might not be the end of the world and go a long way to easing those fears of an early season tail spin.”
Well said. Manchester City were awful against Spurs last time out – simply put, Spurs hassled the back line, marked David Silva out of the game, moved the ball quickly and hit City hard when they won the ball in key areas. It was a case of Man City being beaten at their own game, with Spurs pressing high and trusting key attacking players to pierce holes in the opposing defence. That’s how you beat a side like that, with a performance as intense and organised in the last minute as in the first. That isn’t easy, especially at the Etihad. But that’s how to do it.
We were also ineffective last time out, though a home game against Crystal Palace is eminently more winnable than a trip to White Hart Lane. Actually, if you’re Everton, they’re both impossible apparently. Ross Barkley took another kicking from the ‘support’ which, while understandable given his recent form in general, seemed harsh when he created more chances than any other player in the first half and contributed a fair bit before going off in the second period. Romelu Lukaku is back in proper Lukaku form for club and country, with a superb free-kick and a screamer sandwiching missing an utter sitter from a couple of yards out. Cleverley and Oviedo were of course singled out for being Cleverley and Oviedo, but the pair of them played better than most were expecting. The honeymoon period is over, we’ve got well accustomed to Koeman with his face like a weathered baseball and the constant demand for perfection which will drive the lazier and inferior players out of the club swiftly.
Speaking of, if you were suckered in by that Oumar Niasse sob story, remind yourself he could buy himself a new locker for all that money we’re paying him in exchange for a few minutes of half-arsed hopelessness, the big slack biff that he is.
So Claudio Bravo, keeper-cum-sweeper-cum-playmaker-cum-panic attack-inducer, is in net. Then Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendi and Kolarov, you’d assume, unless Guardiola sticks Kolarov in the centre to set off the Genius Management Skills klaxon before he skews another one in his own top corner because Oscar Pistorious has more of a right foot than him. Gundogan and Fernandinho are both ace. Then there’s Silva, who’s pure gold, him with his shite bandido moustache and understated brilliance. De Bruyne is fantastic. Nolito is excellent. Sterling is…a bit of a tit, but is again a superb footballer. Navas is to crossing what Jeremy Hunt is to compassion. Sané is new to the Premier League but is bound to get going soon enough. Aguero is the best out-and-out striker in the world when he’s fit, and Iheanacho looks like a decent young poacher who has escaped the hype that is slowly enveloping Marcus Rashford to carve out a nice niche for himself at City.
Everton then. Stekelenburg had a bit of a shocker for the Netherlands against France, so he’s clearly up for this. Coleman, Williams, Jagielka and Baines at the back. Oh Leighton. Never leave us again. Barry and Gueye in the middle. Could be Bolasie, Barkley and Mirallas in front, but with City’s options on the flanks the wide players have to be able to close down quickly and track back every time. So that’s probably a no for Mirallas. Lukaku up front. Enner Valencia on the bench until he spots his kid in the crowd and legs it.
We’re away to the best team in the league. So let’s win this. Imagine the boost we’d get off piping this lot down. Trying to hold City off and play for a draw won’t work, trying to keep the score down is for mings looking forward to trips to Ipswich and Nottingham Forest, so let’s get stuck into them. Brendan Rodgers got his side to put three past them, him with his industrially manufactured teeth and over-reliance on Kolo Toure, so why not us? This will all read terribly if we get creamed but I’m here to cater to you with some pep, not cater to Pep.
Let’s have them, Everton.