Realisation, or the sudden dawning of awareness, can affect people differently. Some will stick to their own deluded vision, blame everyone else for not believing hard enough, and then cancel a legally obligated vote. Some, like myself, will down a bottle of red wine and let the ennui and man flu wash over them before taking a rational look at things. Either way, the last 8 days have been some painful ones, and show the work that’s still required to make Everton less…well…’Everton’. At least I’ll still be a bluenose by Christmas.
Due to poor holiday planning I was out of the country for the first two of Les Jeuxs Terribles – you haven’t suffered derby match agony until you’ve suffered it with three Bulgarian guys playing ‘traditional’ music down your ears – but I was back for this one. I can’t tell you much more about those games against the Shite and the Wannabe-Shite than you’ve already discussed between yourselves countless times since, but it’s fair to say that my calls for Lookman to start alongside an actual striker went about as well as anything does these days. The overlying argument from both games seemed to be that we can’t score goals – that’s been obvious all season, and although Brands said we wouldn’t be looking for strikers this January I reckon Silva’s begging him for some like a kid with the Argos catalogue.
For this game, Silva reverted back to Richarlison up front with Bernard and Walcott. As well as tactical issues, Marco also had to deal with looking at the plastic snakes that Watford fans brought up with them; don’t get me wrong, if the same happened to us we’d be even more fuming, but spending money just to wave plastic at someone who most likely doesn’t care is such a waste. At least the kopites brought Tesco bags when they were still free. Regardless, Watford were keen to do one over on us especially with recent form dipping after a decent start to the season.
The first minute pretty much set the tone for the game – a nervy start with even nervier fans. Much of the first half was all about misplaced passes, punctuated by chances created by players actually putting two passes together. Gueye is having a bad time of it at the moment, I’ve seen less lost balls at the vets. And next to Andre Gomes and his silky-smooth moves, it’s starting to stick out a bit. Everton got their first goal from Gomes bursting into the box and passing to a clearly offside Walcott, but they both managed to dupe the refs by pulling back behind the offside line before passing to the perfectly positioned Richarlison. Refereeing is dreadful in this country, and having them full-time doesn’t make for better authority, as any high street M&S will attest to.
After this goal, Watford tried getting back in the game, in between stopping play as much as possible through fouls and the diving antics of Isaac Success – might as well when the referee’s this shite, see Yerry Mina’s Superman punch. The second half seen them piling on the pressure a lot more, with blue shirts not pressuring as much as the stats before the game shown – they were battering us. That, along with Gomes going down injured, got the crowd nervous again – I understand that poor performances don’t deserve cheering, but you could hear the crowd’s angst from St Helens. At least Gerard Deulofeu got a decent reception when he came on, cracking little player on his day, for 20 minutes, in the right climate.
Thus followed five minutes of triple distilled, 80 proof, ‘Everton, That’. You ever want to show someone the pain of being an Evertonian, show them those five minutes – the Pereyra shot bouncing off Coleman, the towering Doucoure header, the shite Sigurdsson penalty – and they’ll understand and start donating £2 a week to help provide you with much needed supplies (ale). I said a few weeks ago when Pickford saved a similar penalty that the goalie still deserves credit for saving it, so well done Ben Foster, but why do players put it through the middle? Just treat it like modern politics – go far left or far right.
Along with the crowd, that seemed to shellshock the team, and the rest of the game they were awful – saying it was like watching last season all over again might be a bit hyperbolic, but christ it was depressing. We’ve seen these problems on the horizon during the good times but it didn’t matter too much at the time. I guess every game is a test for Silva right now, but barring the few games at the start of the season (that could be excused as him finding his best team) this is his first bad patch with the club, and it’ll be interesting to see over Xmas if he does any more tinkering with the squad with games coming fast, or put faith in what he’s selected and change as little as possible to rebuild confidence. In other words, don’t get your pitchforks out yet Gwladys Street Court.
Thankfully, we can face those questions with a draw instead of defeat. Kabasele, who conceded the penalty and then a free kick just outside the box in the 5th minute of added time, will have been straight down William Hill bookies after this match. I’ve never seen a last-minute equaliser have such a muted response, but me arl fella put it succinctly just before Digne pinged in his first ever goal for Everton – “It’ll be a travesty if we score from this”. And so it came to pass. I could feel sorry for Watford fans – they absolutely deserved to win that game – but I’m pretty sure a week earlier they would have been delighted to see Marco Silva’s slightly more gloomy expression after our own agony against the shite, so fuck ’em. Take your plazzy snakes and have a safe journey home, and thank you for visiting our city.
So that’s two points from nine for Everton. Next we play Man City away, in a game they’ll be venting their anger after losing to Tabloid Readers United. So defeat there will be a given, and if we do manage to get something from the Ethiad then get ready for the kopites in your extended family to talk about how they’re definitely winning it all this year before you can black yourself out with enough vodka to kill any normal person. I wouldn’t risk it Marco, start just Niasse. In goal.
COLEMAN – Seamus, I love you, but you’re bringing me down. I can see Jonjoe getting another try in this squad over Xmas, possibly when we need a bit more vigour getting back.
GUEYE – Still the top tackler in our squad I believe, but it’s all for naught if you just give it straight back to them. Big decision for Marco to drop him for a game or two, infuriating arl arses by starting Davies.
DOUCOURE – Bit of alright, him. Looking forward to Watford charging us infinity million pounds this summer for him, then still not dropping the Silva case. Brilliant snideness.