Crystal Palace v Everton Preview

Being into Everton is not for the meek. I don’t have to explain why, you know. There’s times of expanded desolation where you, me, ponder how weekends would look different if we were one of them vacant weirdos who don’t like football.

However it was Leonard Cohen who wrote “there is a crack in everything, that’s how light gets in” and days like last Sunday, and indeed the last month, reach deep into your dark cynical soul and stimulate that most powerful feeling of hope.

Hope that you can experience the emotions of Sunday again, and real soon, hope that a new and better Everton are going to develop beyond the back of summer, and hope that this time its here to stay – at least for sufficient time to absorb it and for it to nourish your life, in whatever small possible way.

The reality is of course that Crystal Palace will now proceed to effortlessly swat a languid Everton aside this Saturday, but it’s part of the Everton psyche to be continually alert to that next Kevin Brock moment, as fuck knows it’s been too long.

The four zip destruction of Manchester United was good for many different reasons but for me it was the affirmation that the Chelsea and Arsenal results weren’t a blip or anomaly of form, and that this current set of 11 have something about them that may, just may, be sustainable enough to grow and develop something worth watching.

It’s also a frustration as the basic blueprint for any Everton Manager seeking goodwill and patience from the fanbase (and therefore club) is really simple. Get yourself a team that works harder than the opposition, will put a tackle in and like to play on the front foot pressuring any unfortunate bastards that think they can have possession of the ball in Goodison without wearing royal blue.

Throw yourself a smattering of skill, pace and composure in there and you have the basis of something which will keep the anxiety of Carling soaked dars at bay. Too often we are subject to a Manager who is too steadfast in their own beliefs to assimilate with the club’s, and as soon as results turn South it quickly leads to disconnect.

Now if “the Everton way” was as simple as that then it would have been copied to fuck and made defunct, but what I’m awkwardly trying to say is “maybe Marco Silva is alright”. The man has been tested this season and is seemingly out of his tailspin of December to February, which should be a reassurance not only to the fans but to him and his coaching team, with their rapid fall from Grace at Watford surely playing on their mind whilst in the abyss of turgid Everton times.

Worth also remembering that Silva, and Brands have put something decent together in effectively only one transfer window as we didn’t splurge anything in January. The pair of them and others invested in Everton now have an opportunity in the summer to carry the confidence and goodwill across to next season, clear out the many that need to be cleared out, and use the resources of Moshiri to add intelligently to a young, promising team. Miss this opportunity and Goodison will recess back into contempt for it’s latest false dawn. Excuses and patience are increasingly thin on the ground as we enter the third year of Moshiri’s reign of relative abundance. Glass ceilings need to cracked, at least so we can gawp and imagine the air up there.

That fucking strike from Digne though. Cleaner than a whistle sterilised in lava.

Special mention to the Goodison crowd too. I think that what happened in March of 2019 settled the ol’ chicken v egg debate of if the crowd gets the players going or if the players get the crowd going. A small group of young lads called The Originals deserve a lot of credit from us sceptical arl arses. Maybe platitudes are cheap on the back of wins, and Goodison will be House Of Nark for sure in the future, but the players are responding to raucous Goodison from the first whistle.

So onto Saturday’s host down there in that there London. Whilst there’s an array of footballing fan fuckery in the big smoke it is pleasant to say that perhaps it’s something to do with being south of the river (pipe down Wirral not you) but Crystal Palace are about a good representation of down south as you can get in footie terms.

There’s no airs and graces, a good parochial support intent on getting behind their club and a general absence of twats doing stuff in their name that would annoy Evertonians.  A true rarity in modern times this.

Thanks to the spider’s web of twitter we are more interconnected with other’s fans than ever before and my interactions with Palace fans are nearly always entirely really sound. No sneering on either side and – what seems – a mutual dislike of Mersey’s big red. Lest we forget that it was this club and this ground which brought us the most enjoyable “Crystanbul” a mere five years ago in times of worry and trouble similar to what we live now.

Palace fans are quick on the self depreciation, have a healthy smattering of working class socialism about them and all in all just want to enjoy their team doing occasionally decent stuff on weekends while having an excuse to drink a third of their body weight. Soccer!

They’re even managed by an ex Pisspockets Academicals Manager in Roy Hodgson who is uniquely not despised by the entirety of the Everton fanbase.

Palace, like us, have had their ups and downs this season – particularly early on when absolutely nothing ran their way – but are sat not too far behind us and safe from the ills of relegation. They’ve put together some good results since new year and it’s highly doubtful this will this be a turn up and boss an easy 3 points job.

Here’s some of their players:

Benteke – Pleased he broke his goal duck last weekend or you know what was coming, and it still might anyway.

Zaha – jewel in the crown of Palace’s talent and supposed tamer of The People’s Daughter. Our full backs will be tested, just don’t leave a leg out or he will take it.

Batshuayi – where do all Everton linked striking saviours go to die?

Townsend – looks as though a gigantic fictitious bunny delivered his cranium last Sunday.

Wan Bissaka – best right back I’ve seen v Everton this season by a country mile. Whilst I appreciate we once also made Stuart Slater look good I would be seducing Palace for him, but will probably want Champions League instead.

Scott Dann – south end kopite who looks like he should be continually plotting world domination with a best mate called Pinky. No time for bygones Everton, twat him hard.

Wayne Hennessy – Nothing that a box set of Allo Allo couldn’t fix, the massive fucking liar.

Pretty sure you can guess the Everton line up as Silva is not one for messing with a winning formula. That means Calvert-Lewin should run about like a dog’s first time on Freshfields, but hopefully with added goals. Richarlison looks a doubt on the right which means Walcott just nabbed what may be a 3 game last chance saloon out there. Your man Bernard, please unblock me on Twitter you wee sexual one touch worker pixie, out on the left.

MOTD referred to Sigurdsson as the brain of our team and when he’s on blob that’s right enough, but by that same token he’s partial to a mini stroke in certain away days. With him now in the zenith of his career you’d say he’s got 18 months at the peak of his powers to produce something to really remember his career by, and Everton are desperate for that consistency out of a number 10 role. Name me a better Everton blammer from range? You can’t.

I presume Scheiderlin will keep his place but be expected to contribute more in possession than against United, and it saddens me to think that these may be our last times of an Everton midfield containing Gana Gueye. Fuck knows what’s clicked with him but his work with the ball has been exceptional since we got our shit together of late, to the point where I wouldn’t begrudge him a decent move. Football just be like that.

The metamorphosis of Michael Keane this season has been a real bonus as we have a first choice young mainstay of central defence, which times nicely with Jagielka ending his innings. I see that some people still don’t get Keane’s worth at Everton and to be frank I think that’s just fucking plain mad. But then so is a fully grown man calling him Mick Kegger so who am I to judge? Zouma has taken advantage of the Hubba Bubba tendons on Yerry Mina to really drive home a case for pestering Chelsea for him on a permanent basis. Someone is going to get a high level centre back with him either way, and his renaissance will send signals to other young frustrated talents looking to relaunch their career away from elite clubs, and that’s no bad thing for Everton. Digne is another example of just that and never did we think we wouldn’t miss Baines, and to be honest I still do, but it doesn’t pain one bit. Coleman deserves a lot of credit considering he looked almost finished in that position two months ago, he’s captaining the side with the swashbuckling vigour we had been missing. But still, Wan Bissaka too. Pickford in goal.

In a season that’s long finished this is a relative game of some importance as that aforementioned summer momentum and goodwill is much desired. Be it complacency or an off day at Fulham matters little, but that away ghost needs settling in this, if we are truly to look like we’re arsed doing something.

Of course quite which version of Everton that turns up is part of the almost thin line between pleasure and pain as an Evertonian.

It was also Leonard Cohen who wrote “It’s almost like the blues”, which makes me wonder, if he was.

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