A second home game against supposed winnable opposition in a matter of days. You probably have a script in your head of how this will pan out, and you´re probably right.
The game falls a couple of days before a certain chimney insurgent is planning on scoffing half mince pies and glasses of sherry in your front room. Which of you weirdos drinks sherry these days anyway? There needs to be a re-education that Father Nick only delivers presents to those leaving him fine Bavarian beer, or at least seven year old Cuban dark rum.
It won´t be long before the parents reading this will have some awkward questions to answer about the aforementioned old fella who brings gifts. I´m guessing that our defence have had some similarly awkward questions recently about the how charitable they´ve been with their gifts. Letâ€™s leave the fact were utter dirge up front for a moment, it can´t be doing the team confidence any good if they´re perpetually chasing a game against a backdrop of groans and mutual anxiety at Goodison Park. At least with a clean sheet you´re guaranteed a point, but that´s a luxury we´ve been in short supply of all season which is very uncharacteristic for a Moyes team.
When you strip it apart without the tedious media tint on things, that was a very average collection of Norwich players who were there for the taking and they left Goodison with a point. Two valuable points dropped for us in our quest to be the best of the also-rans. Oh how the mighty have tumbled.
Also ahead of us are the mid week visitors, Swansea City. Along with Norwich they´ve came up and established themselves in a place of relative safety while playing some good football on the way. I´m sure while their respective managers will be all too aware of the ghosts of Hull City and Blackpool but they´ll certainly be happy with how the table lies at Christmas.
Swansea play very some very decent football, liking to keep hold of possession and pretend that they´re some sort of Valleys Barca. Forget Messi, they´ve got Dyer. Xavi, eat your heart out at the hobbit pin up himself: Joe Allen.
It´s always nice to see a new, or without disrespecting Swansea, old face in the top division. Also nice to see a team come up from a country where we draw lots of support. For those of you aware of the nuances in the Welsh demography, Swansea are from the South where they´re on the whole very hospitable to scousers. In direct comparison to the fair villages of North and West Wales where they´re making sure the CCTV has got a lock on your iris when you´re collecting a the Sunday paper in your trackies to bring back to a tent pitched in somewhere very wet and with a distinct whiff of cattle dung. Throw in the burrito of South Wales – the rissole – a love of strong cider (can of bo mush) and fantastically easy girls and you have a weird, pleasant cocktail of culture that unless you´ve been there you´ll struggle to understand. Lava f*cking bread too – sea weed on toast – get in.
They do have a tendency to buy into the Danny Dwyer generation sadly though, so be warned as some heavily gelled lad with a crap goatee casts a mad stare at you, while stinking of the pheromones of the Valleys – Joop. Hopefully our players have been briefed on the cultural differences with the Welsh, we obviously don´t want any eight game bans for calling any of their players sheep loving melts, which translated into Welsh means sheep loving melts.
Now while they´ll play some neat stuff and have a go its worth reminding ourselves that Everton have a squad of internationals with proven quality who can deliver big performances when required. Ok let me try that again: we have better players who should be able to do enough to earn the three points at home against Swansea City. Weâ€™ve so far got the sum of one point from two home games against Stoke and Norwich City.
Were yet to hit on that winning or even competent formula up front. Cahill needs to re-find his mojo from the bench, on current form heâ€™d be more suited to pestering tired legs in the second half as a sub. That leaves us realistically two from Saha, Vellios Stracquilirsi and perhaps even Rodwell (in the Cahill position) up front. You can almost see the confidence sap out of the team when weâ€™ve had the opposition pinned back for half an hour with nothing to show for it.
In the middle it would be nice to see us go for it. Coleman remains a doubt, Gueye started lively in a French McFadden style before tiring second half. At least he looked capable of making things happen. Drenthe must start, simple as really. Fellaini needs a partner with more mobility than Neville. It wonâ€™t happen but a game like this would be good for Barkley perhaps.
Much was made of Heitinga getting rolled for the goal on Saturday, not the greatest piece of defending but it can happen. Heâ€™s been the pick of our centre halves for the last month or two but similar to Distin heâ€™s liable to a moment or two of crapness every game. A la Yobo. Hibbert has been steady at right back but itâ€™s a bad signal that the squad is weak if heâ€™s starting every week. With Neville now having the mobility of the moon Iâ€™m looking forward to hopefully Coleman getting a shot there when Donovan arrives shortly. Even Pienaar too, so we hear.
Want some statistics? Swansea have never beaten Everton a competitive game, ever. The other statistic is that Brendan Rodgers´ eyes are about one inch too far apart.
So, that´s that then. All wrapped up nicely in time for Christmas. I hope you all have a good one, and that Everton start the celebrations a few days early.