All the rampant optimism is making me a little uneasy.
I don’t deny any of you the privilege to dream a little and enthuse just that bit too much, it’s an almost alien feeling after the complete twat of a last season. You do realise however that this universe is one of balance, and keen to set traps that Everton stumble into every single fucking time.
A goalless away point at Chelsea was the positivity trigger point as it suggested that Everton were no longer invertebrate, and that my friends is real progress. Right until the point Cardiff smash and grab us at 1649 hours this Saturday.
It’s nice to be back with Everton for a stretch of games, without interference, that takes us until the next round of international shit around March time. I say “without interference” in the knowledge that last week of January is a good time for a city break when the FA Cup 4th round is contested without Everton. See? It’s a hard habit to break, this compounded Everton anxiety.
This season provided a rare fertile breeding ground for sold Everton roots. Scarred by the horrors of the season and Allardyce in an Everton trackie brought everyones wants and expectations in line. No longer is Everton a divided fanbase – thanks to Allardyce’s union of revulsion – and instead short term ambition was limited to “just show us you’re really getting better”. So far Silva, Brands and co are ticking these boxes.
There has to be a challenging time or three during the season however, you can count the West Ham and Huddersfield period as maybe the first trying period, but there’ll be more to come. With a third of the season passed I’m upgrading my optimism to “really looking forward to the blues this weekend”, and that’s a heightened state of arousal on my scale.
A cornerstone of the collective optimism is the style of football – a pressing and hard working outfit looking to move the ball forward, and with some pace. Evertonians are easily seduced by this as it’s exciting to watch, does not allow any bastard to take the piss with *our* ball, and gratifies the urge for a good honest graft amongst a predominately working class fanbase. When you look at it like that it’s frustrating that too many other custodians of the team haven’t at least attempted it.
This weekend’s opponents are Cardiff City who got promoted under Neil Warnock, who with each passing looks more like his hair is an anus trying to pass out his turd of a face. That same hair seems to be hurtling down the runway with lift off aborted at a horribly late stage.
Warnock is adept at winning promotion and then getting jibbed a few months into a Premier League season which would suggest limitation at the highest level. There’s certain judgements on him and his style of football and often some snobbery around it. I always think if the football is so basic and limited then surely any opposing Manager would easily overcome it with a superior strategy. It does a disservice to his ability to put together a hard working team that can bloody the nose of the complacent. On a head to head basis Warnock brings his team to Goodison on Saturday seeking his fourth consecutive win over Everton, with him marshalling QPR, Leeds and Palace to wins over the toffs in the past 7 years.
There’s no real issue between Cardiff and myself so they’ll benefit from a disappointedly mild preview. The people of South Wales are a more amicable bunch than their North and West counterparts in my book. Not all mind, before WrexBlue1878 or the like get on my case on twitter. I do have a preference for Swansea down there because in my time spent there I’ve found them a little bit more fucked up but generous of heart, as opposed to the capital dwellers who in most countries tend to be shits.
Some of you may remember a moody away in the early eighties as Cardiff and it should be reassuring to know you’ll be able to spot any assailants as the scruffy bastards haven’t deviated from their fashion or grooming since that period. There’s a wee bit too much keenness for playing on football violence as source of pride down there which is all round bell behaviour, and it’s to the detriment of Welsh history that they didn’t show the same level of resistance to foreign invaders some 9 centuries earlier when Llywelyn aside they put up as much resistance as Everton going a goal down at Anfield. Owain Glyndwr did try and push back some time after that but shit was done, and Wales laid down to the English in return for your Dad messing with the aerial in the loft so you can watch Italian football 25 years ago. “No. No. YES. YES. No. Why did you move it?”.
Get up here and do it yourself then.
It’s a little known fact that fast food accounts for 80% of the modern Welshman’s diet, and being cold blooded animals they can only warm themselves up by direct sunlight or needlessly fighting in a taxi rank on a weekend. Ask yourself if you’ve ever seen a Welshman achieve sex without the aid of a male earring? And lastly did you know that the national sport is drinking a pint of your mate’s piss in the pub on a Sunday for cheap kudos from the rest of your ugly, simple celled rugby team.
I like them lots so let’s have a wee look at some of their players that may play against Everton.
Not actually lets fuck that as a quick look tells me I have barely heard of 3 of them.
Hope they stay up on the basis that they changed their kits to blue again, and the city voted Remain in the Referendum.
Marco Silva will have just enjoyed a break to consolidate the recent progress, with none of the many players away for international break picking up knocks or injuries.
It’s a nap that Richarlison will play in the centre forward role and it’s pleasing to notice less the big fuck off Lukaku shaped hole that’s permeated there for a while. Who plays on either side will be dependent on two factors: if Sigurdsson is fit and if Silva decides to give Lookman a start. I’m writing this without the hindsight of Silva’s press conference so unsure about the first bit. I would give Lookman a start though as it’s the exact type of game to provide that opportunity, and the following game is the derby. If Lookman turns up then great – throw that exhuburence in the mix at the shitpit, if not then whoever Lookman replaced for this game should have a rocket up their arse if reintroduced from the start v Liverpool. Anyway Walcott and Bernard will be in the mix for this one, and both really could do with hitting a patch of form soon.
It’s not only the centre forward where I can relax, it’s also in the middle of the park as Silva has seemed to stumble on some real nice balance between Gomes and the really impressive Gana Gueye. It stood up to the test of Stamford Bridge and now should be looking really impose itself against a Cardiff team that doesn’t travel well at all. It’s reassuring to have a mobile baller in Gomes finally around our centre circle, with promise of further levels to reach as his acclimatisation to English football unfolds.
I was worried about Mina making his debut at Chelsea but those fears were unfounded as he fitted in really quite well indeed, and all the more impressive for playing the majority of the game on a daft booking. Does Zouma get reinstated to central defence? I personally think Silva will stick with the same defence until they shit a performance and warrant a change. That means Michael Keane continuing one of the most impressive metamorphosis I’ve seen from an Everton player, Coleman scampering down the right and the classy but haunted looks of Digne really proving a sound investment on the left. While the talk is rightfully on the defence progression, we can’t understate the importance of having a very capable pair of hands behind them in Pickford. That save he made at the beginning of the second half at Chelsea shows you his value in both points and defensive confidence.
So a preview that started off cautious and pragmatic being unable to control the optimism that flowed as the paragraphs rolled on. There’s hope that there’s levels to up in this current Everton chapter, but even just the prospect of decent front foot togger from royal blue most weekends is real progress indeed.
Neil Warnock would love to change that this Saturday, he must not be allowed.
Fucking into them, Everton.