ItÂ´s arguably our biggest game of the season, well since were that ace that we donÂ´t care about derbies any more, thatÂ´s just small time.
It still stings. A whole myriad of views have been exchanged since TuesdayÂ´s thing with a high level of fume, I hate any sort of article that tries to force itÂ´s view on to you (thatÂ´s being kind classing this loosely as an article) but this correspondent in still livid over an Everton manager playing a weakened team in a Merseyside derby against a vulnerable Liverpool side who if we beat we would have leap frogged in the league. Massive f*ck up that, but time to move on.
In amongst the direness of our season and subsequent recent glimmer of hope weÂ´ve somehow managed to position ourselves into a game against Sunderland at home which if we win gives us another day out at Wembley. IÂ´m in the camp that semis should be played at neutral venues and not at Wembley but letÂ´s be honest here, itÂ´s nice to have something to look forward to. For all the fawning in the media in the last week we might as well change our name by deed poll to David MoyesÂ´ Everton FC, the condescending bastards. IÂ´m not arsed about David Moyes not winning a cup in his ten years, IÂ´m really arsed about Everton going seventeen years without a trophy which is really sh*te.
This quarter final tie brings more North East opposition similar to our last one three years ago, but that was with the wools of the North East in Middlesbrough and commiserations for anyone whoÂ´s ever had to visit there. WeÂ´re up against the far more preferable of all the North East teams: Martin OÂ´NeillÂ´s Sunderland FC.
While the town/city/hamlet itself is not somewhere youÂ´d rush to book a B&B for a sordid weekend, Sunderland does tend to produce decent lids. Keeping their tops on in the middle of winter, generally remaining wearing their shoes and not confusing taking them off as a sign of love for their club and without the delusions that if they finish second in the league for a couple of years that theyÂ´re the Barcelona of Northern Europe. On the whole Sunderland are quite alright.
Unfortunately theyÂ´ve got that cack speaking mole as their new manager and IÂ´m not disputing his abilities as a manager itÂ´s just heÂ´s one annoying little tit. IÂ´d love to see him spitting out words of fume after being denied a chance to walk his team out at Wembley although we should have a bit more pity as it mustnÂ´t be easy looking like Chucky off Rugrats pervy arl uncle.
Sunderland have done miles better since heÂ´s took over, heÂ´s galvanised a decent squad of players and got them performing consistently to a decent standard as you would have expected. TheyÂ´re not likely to storm all before them like some claim but theyÂ´ve got an immediate future around or above Everton in the league if were being honest. They do have some money to spend and OÂ´Neill will piss his bills if heÂ´s not allowed to spend it.
Thankfully the North Easy derby was kind to us as two of their most influential players are suspended. Cattermole is superb at breaking up the play and protecting the defence and Sessegnon is vital to how they play on the counter attack.
Even with them two missing thereÂ´s plenty of other players that on their day are a bit rum. ItÂ´s likely that Bendtner and Campbell will start up front, they done well enough against Liverpool and theyÂ´re the type of partnership that can be dull as dishwater but with a little bit of confidence, not that Bendtner needs any, will give a team problems all afternoon. Bendtner is actually slotting a Danish princess, how boss is that? ItÂ´s an unlikely partnership as Campbell looks like he should be asking you outside an off license to buy five bottles of Hooch in two and five pences, before making an ill advised attempt to mug you for your mobile phone on the way out.
Their midfield is nothing spectacular individually but a very sound unto collectively. It will probably be Larsson, Gardner, the under rated Colback and this years new Adam Johnson: James McClean. Our full backs will have to defend better than they did mid week thatÂ´s for sure. The defence is well organised as youÂ´d expect for an OÂ´Neill managed team before heÂ´ll spend some money in the summer on his customary genetically modified seven foot grocks. Get ready for set piece powerplays next season lads.
Enough fretting about Sunderland, if we play our game to our ability then weÂ´ll put them out.
A good starting point for who should be the team against Spurs, for the first time in the week IÂ´d be delighted to see six changes to the starting eleven.
Stracquilarsi does have his boss moments at home but itÂ´s against top teams where he can run around to his heartÂ´s content like a dog who should have had his balls chopped off several months earlier. Up front on his own though where we expect to have plenty of the possession isnÂ´t his thing. It could feasibly work with Jelavic as a front two partnership but Cahill was rested and I reckon heÂ´ll start along with Jelavic.
Rodwell done a sh*t impression of a sh*t post injury Arteta so I canÂ´t see him starting. HeÂ´s like the best looking lad at school who all the girls cooed over but who turned out to be a crap neck. So potential with him but be honest, when have we seen it? Expect Fellaini and Osman in the centre of the park for this game. Pienaar is cup tied so Drenthe and Coleman should start on the wings, especially since the latter will prove handy for SunderlandÂ´s threat from the wings.
It shows you how seasons can be turned around when the vast majority of us were gutted that Heitinga was dropped for Jagielka. ItÂ´s probably a bit unfair on Jagielka who was returning from injury but Heitinga in general has been twice the defender he has this season. Hopefully heÂ´ll start with Distin. Baines and Neville/Hibbert will complete the defence.
So there you have it. Happy St PatrickÂ´s Day too for our Irish lids, a Welshman who rid Ireland of snakes causing the general population to have black Guinness sh*ts on the 18th March every year is no bad thing. Hopefully the luck of the Irish will swerve their manager.
If there is such thing as luck. There was no luck about the episode in mid week, just piss poor management and application from limited players. It was certainly a big gamble and one which could backfire spectacularly if we fail to gain a result in a possible season defining game.
Sunderland wonÂ´t be lacking motivation or belief but weÂ´ve drawn the home game and the onus is on us. No excuses Everton, get into them.