Itâ€™s a game we probably could have done without but itâ€™s quite quickly becoming our only ticket out of a season that seems to be slipping from our grasp.
Maybe thatâ€™s a bit too morbid but like many of you IÂ´m out of love with EFC at the moment and reserve the right to act like a petulant eight year old while at the same time looking a bit/lot of a tit.
FA Cup Replays are a bit seventies and eighties arenÂ´t they? Gone are the days of second replays so this tie has to be decided on the night. For those of you attending if it goes to penalties it leaves you with a horrible quandary: whether to stay for us getting moodily knocked out or make a dash for the luxury of non-rammed transport home and empty roads. It shouldnÂ´t really get to that, but then it shouldnÂ´t have got to a replay either.
The less said about the Norwich game the better but what hurt most was that we could all see what was coming. The irony of them putting on a sub and changing the game for the better wasnÂ´t lost on us. As usual we have shot ourselves in the foot when there was the real possibility of us troubling the top four. Sack that now like. Gareth Bale doesnÂ´t want us anywhere near that top four anyway.
So itâ€™s our second date with Oldham who we found in the lower leagues of plenty of fish and turned up to be not impressed with the greasy hair and tendency to smoke a Benson and Hedges every nine minutes. But thereâ€™s nothing much out there is it? So weâ€™ll go again.
The original cup tie was crap to watch. We should have tonked them all over the show but we done our usual thing of reducing ourselves to the oppositions level and the late equaliser was as inevitable as the tories trying to get rid of the NHS.
There are two distinct bonuses for Oldham Athletic. Firstly they get another pay day from the replay & TV revenue and good on them. Secondly their fans get to have a big day out in the year 2013 without the help of a DeLorean which like any car worth over £2,000 has never ever put its tyres on the tarmac of Oldham.
The trip to Oldham exposed many of you to memories of simpler times. It was like stepping foot in a Charles Dickens novel for one day with soot faced little scamps trying to make a living any way they could. Jovial banter is evident in the locals although the lack of Colgate was also evident.
As was remarked it would seem that kids donâ€™t leave the security of their pram in Oldham until theyâ€™re fourteen. It might be that theyâ€™re born like human tadpoles or it just could be its scorned upon for any local woman to be not pushing a pram under the age of 40.
â€œFlippin scarsersâ€ this and that as once again we were exposed to one of them lost little wool towns like moons that have escaped the gravity of the big cities.
In terms of player personnel there was nothing to get too worried about. Baxter, same as against the sh*te, had a very quiet game and there was some lad on the wing who looked like he had pace. Whilst not lacking application they did look every inch a side whoâ€™s fighting relegation from the arl Division 3.
We failed to deal with the their jolly green giant forward of Matt Smith who looks like someone has planted the wrong face on his massive head. If he were a smoothie then heâ€™d be one part David Couthard and two parts Rodney from Only Fools and Horses. Heâ€™s your typical lower league grock and the likes of Distin and Jagielka should have him in their back pocket. Thatâ€™s being arl arse a bit as the lid probably earns as much as most of us but makes it count with effort.
I canâ€™t be arsed detailing the rest of the team and what tactical approach theyâ€™ll have to game as firstly IÂ´m not that good at it and secondly whatâ€™s the point? We should be webbing these all over the show. So weâ€™ll talk about Everton.
Thereâ€™s going to be some changes. Itâ€™s needed because thereâ€™s too many players out of form and not doing enough to warrant being kept in the team. We need a shake up so itâ€™s no bad thing and whether the ones who do come in will do enough is another thing but opportunity knocks and itâ€™s about time.
You know the score with Jelavic, heâ€™s long term out of form and not scoring the goals we desperately need so with changes in mind I donâ€™t think Vellios will get the nod but Anichebe should be fit to start this again. Fellaini although playing behind the striker was coming deep a lot in the Norwich game, we might be about to see him start a couple of games in midfield or get a settled run with a different strike partner.
Osman and Gibson isnâ€™t working at the moment so one or both will be dropped I reckon. Probably the former who needs to grow his muzzy back so he can play ace again. I hope itâ€™s not Hitzlsperger and instead time for Barkley to be given a run of five games to show what he can do. He didnâ€™t have a bad a game as others but playing Naismith on the right is as futile as playing Osman there which we persisted with for far too long. Itâ€™s just not his position so itâ€™s a little unfair to expose his short comings. Play him behind the striker and if heâ€™s not good enough then weâ€™ll get a fee for a free striker just as we did with Beckford, then weâ€™ll look again.
Pienaar hasnâ€™t really got going either but I doubt that Oviedo will start as heâ€™s still a bit of a headless chicken on the pitch and sh*ts out of anything resembling a fifty fifty. Give him time though.
Whilst Jagielka and Distin does seem our strongest centre back combination we are shipping a very lot of cheap goals. The lack of clean sheets has undermined our season somewhat. It could be Heitinga getting a final chance to do what we know heâ€™s capable of or time for Duffy, like Barkley, to be given a run of games.
Coleman returning at right back was a bonus, heâ€™s currently the best one we have. Heâ€™s much more effective with Mirallas in front of him though. The new lad Stones has been impressing in the annals of Finch Farm but is cup tied for this or he might have got some game time. Baines is still boss but has had a couple of very average games. Howard will keep goal again.
Saturday caused an awful lot of angst. The whole Moyes thing is under the microscope now. The owner of this fine site commented that heâ€™d never seen so many blues so angry at Moyes at any time than post game Norwich. Now itâ€™s important to retain some context, conceding two late goals to a terrible team and losing the game is the perfect storm for toys out of the pram. In the post-game fume some of us are a wee bit temperamental and say things off the cuff.
However for many itâ€™s symptomatic of a larger issue. This whole debating over a contract thing stinks to high heaven. Weâ€™re Everton not Exeter, he gets paid a great deal to manage a club that can still attract 40,000 fans at home and sells out most of its aways. IÂ´m going to pretend were currently in the elite of the English league but were damn good club to manage on anyoneâ€™s CV. And that Norwich game was a microism of Moyes and his biggest blindspot â€“ being too pragmatic and trying to protect leads when weâ€™d have more luck going for the oppositionâ€™s throat.
Ask yourself how many games have you enjoyed watching Everton this year? Villa and Swansea will be in them, not only did Everton play great attacking football; they also put themselves in a two or three goal lead â€“ offering you a rare opportunity to relax somewhat instead of fearing a moody opposition equaliser from a set piece to deny us two points. Near enough all our wins are tight affairs and thereâ€™s no shame in that if youâ€™re getting the three points but a lot of times it spectacularly backfires. Itâ€™s par for the course to give a few teams a four or five goal pasting a few times a season, particularly with the players we have but while even the sh*te are good for it, we can never do similar. Why? Our approach to the game.
Moyes has done a brilliant job at Everton and this might just be another blip which to his credit heâ€™s usually good at bouncing back from. There is a horrible backdrop to all of this at the moment and thatâ€™s that weÂ´ve not won a trophy in eighteen years and not troubled the top of the league for a quarter of a decade. For Everton ( fubbelklub ) heads should absolutely roll. A large part of that is the ownership of the club and that is a bigger concern than the manager, but whilst Evertonians are generally a patient and understanding bunch â€“ itâ€™s f*cking sickening to see us continually not so much look gift horses in the mouth but put our entire head in the beastâ€™s rancid mouth and twirl it around. Like any other football fan we like to tw*t the opposition and make them hurt like weÂ´ve hurt loads before and we have a history of it, just as we have a history of winning things. So until we do win anything anybody with any position of authority at the club can do well to remember that for all their toil â€“ theyâ€™re ultimately failing. And thatâ€™s whatâ€™s making us a bit twitchy, so bear with us please.
So win this and weâ€™re one home game away from Wembley. You know what you have to do, no f*cking excuses. Get into them Everton.