As a famous song goes; tis the season to be jolly. Everton are doing their best to prove that there some exemptions to this widely acclaimed lyric, mostly by being a bit average and losing games all over the show.
The seasonâ€™s dullness continued with a defeat at Arsenal courtesy of a boss goal from Van Persie. I think most of us were made up to go in 0-0 at half time based on how many chances Arsenal spooned. Although we bucked up a bit in the second half it was a bit depressing that weÂ´ve resumed to going to places like Arsenal hoping to avoid defeat rather than having a go. It all felt a bit Walter Smith-ish. A few eyebrows were raised then when Moyes heaped praise on his players after the game for their second half performance. Maybe itâ€™s one of them psychological things and weâ€™ll spank Norwich on the back of the confidence bred into these poor, poor millionaires.
A familiar name returns to Goodison this weekend with Norwich City back in the top flight, and not doing bad at all. It gives the game a retro vibe as there were a team we have played aplenty until they went a bit dump and went into the lower division wilderness for a while, save for the odd season or two in the top flight a since.
Some Norwich thoughts spring instantly to mind. We won the title there in 1987 thanks to our a bit mental left backâ€™s rare goal. We bought their captain who came serve the club so well for well over a decade in Dave Watson. Efan Ekoku ripped us apart one Saturday afternoon at Goodison when we were really, really dull. And of course widespread incest. Life on a barge can sure get cold and lonely in those long east coast winters.
The modern day Norwich is thrust forth into battle by Queen of the East Angles: hair lacquered kitchen witch Delia. She played a blinder by bringing current flavour of the month Paul Lambert in after his Colchester team rinsed them a couple of years ago. Since then theyâ€™ve pretty much been unstoppable in their attempt to reach the Premiership. Theyâ€™ve won plaudits along the way with their quality of football along the way under Lambert. Those who made the trip to Norwich for the pre season game last year were very impressed with their team and general play on that day.
All this has put Paul Lambert into top spot, over taking Owen Coyle as the man some would love to see taking over if Moyes jibbed it/got jibbed. The last experiment with taking a Norwich manager went a big wrong as the Silver Fox tried to re-stir the School of Science spirits with such genius tactics as roll the ball out from the keeper always, even if youâ€™re getting beat in the 92nd minute and signing crap players. Anyway, with Lambert weâ€™ll see, but at the moment heâ€™s doing very well indeed â€“ to the tune of his team being three points ahead of ours at kick off.
Theyâ€™ve done it without any real reknown names too. Ruddy has done well in goal after making the switch from Everton, they also paid a decent whack for James Vaughan too who is not unexpectedly out with injuries for some time. Up front their super grock Grant Holt has scored six times this season and is a danger from any cross put into the box. His partner up front Morison is no shrinking violet when it comes to the physical side of the game either. Thereâ€™s plenty of good ball players in their midfield complemented by the unpredictability of Hoolahan. Theyâ€™re well organised in defence too, with one time target Kyle Naughton tucked in at right back. Three points wonâ€™t come easy unless we really go at them or have an uncharacteristic slice of luck.
So, my good fellow negritos, what about us? Lets get right to it, weÂ´ve got as much threat up front as a British veto. WeÂ´ve worryingly scored just 15 goals in 14 games. Was a bit surprised to see Saha come out this week throwing some blame around. No doubt Louis that being skint doesnÂ´t help the cause, neither does being sat on one of the most expensive contracts at the club and not scoring much and getting injured a lot of the time. Sort that barnet out too you tit. Unfortunately heÂ´s our best striker when arsed and the only combination I can see giving us any threat is him playing slightly behind Vellios. Cahill v.4 is great at barging into players and sniding the centre halves throughout the game but heÂ´s not scoring. HeÂ´d probably be more effective coming on as a sub for the time being.
It seems beards since we seen Drenthe in an Everton shirt and due to being the predictable beast we are, we desperately need a shot of him. Word is that heÂ´ll be fit for this. This is the type of game youÂ´d like him and Coleman – running wildly all over the show with the enthusiasm of a pre-neutered dog – having a go at the oppositionÂ´s full backs. If we start Neville in midfield then really you have to wonder. Rodwell should be fit which would see him or Osman paired with Fellaini. Maybe even that ace lad we seen playing well in pre season will get some game time now heÂ´s signed a contract. CanÂ´t see much change in defence where Heitinga is starting to show a glimpse of form.
Excuses are wearing thin on many. ThereÂ´s plenty of debate off the pitch about the predicament were in itÂ´s effect on our season as well as our tactics and approach of the manager. However on the pitch weÂ´ve got a squad with plenty of internationals on well paid contracts who are playing tripe. Swerve player form, 4-5-1 this or that, grey clouds hanging over the club or balls not bouncing our way and play like what we can.
WeÂ´re coming into a crucial period of games which will go a long way to defining what levels of meh weÂ´re going to achieve this season. While it may be the season of goodwill to all men, that doesnÂ´t extend to those wearing yellow shirts on our pitch this weekend.