Four points from our four big games (Liverpool, Newcastle, l’Arse and Man Utd) is a tad below par, and the gap to the ‘orrible lot down the road has shrunk accordingly, but even the most pessimistic, nihilistic doom-mongerers of our clan are struggling to whip themselves into a genuine frenzy regarding our two consecutive defeats. Disappointing for sure, but not much more. That said, the phlegmatic approach would dissipate sharpish if our cheery odyssey were to unravel further at Goodison today. Losing to l’Arse and Utd is understandable, but our Top Four (Three) credentials darn well demand that normal service is resumed pronto – and continued in the coming weeks. Battling draws at mid-table teams are tommyrot now – we need to return to that swift, fizzing passing style, and the games will win themselves accordingly.
‘Arry’s Lexical Ambiguities
David Moyes has celebrated his 10 years in charge at Everton (crikey) as anyone would, by striking a gentleman’s agreement with our glorious leader, to the effect that Monsieur Saha will not feature today. However, ‘Arry has indicated that there is one small caveat to this agreement – in that it will not apply if he decides to pick Saha after all. Apart from stretching the definition of “gentleman’s agreement” beyond anything any self-respecting lexicographer has ever previously contemplated, the selection of Saha would be jolly rotten luck upon Jermain Defoe, who could probably score a five-minute hat-trick, solve the economic crisis and cure cancer within one substitute appearance, only to find himself overlooked again in the following game.
Injury News and the World’s Slowest Makeshift Right Wingers
On the injury that front poor blighter Michael Dawson and the various bits of ligament floating around his leg are out for the season, which makes the return to squad duty of William Gallas frightfully well-timed. If you pardon the cruel bluntness, of greater concern for this afternoon’s jamboree is the absence of One Aaron Lennon and the balance he provides. It seems a lifetime ago now, but once upon a time Bale and Lennon would scamper up and down the left and right wings respectively, allowing opposing defences barely a moment’s rest. These days Bale and his ego roam wherever they please in the ongoing bid to become the new Cristiano Ronaldo, to occasional devastating effect, but quite often to the end of a cul-de-sac. In the absence of Lennon we will presumably attempt once more to use absolute stasis rather than breakneck speed on the right wing, via the heavy legs of VDV or Kranjcar.
That aside, the usual striking concerns need to be addressed by ‘Arry; someone needs to get the crayons out and give the back-four some nice illustrated examples of the causal relationships between ball, opponents, net et cetera; and glory be, Scott Parker returns to the middle. It has been the best of times (Newcastle) and the worst of times (l’Arse) in recent weeks, but champagne football has been our norm this season, home and away, and a return to this vintage would suffice today.