“Now then, a bad kick-back clearance, Rideout’s in the clear, can he finish?……Walker goes down……STUART SCORES FOR EVERTON”
You dreaming yet? Wembley, although still a distance away, is appearing on the horizon. It’s the FA Cup 5th Round and you can legitimately, at this stage, start dreaming of silverware come May. It’s the rules.
We’ve had it quite smooth in the competition so far. QPR were easily dispatched 4-0 in Round 3 and we avoided the dreaded ‘banana skin’ against Stevenage in Round 4, also beating them 4-0. Magaye Gaye scored in that game – when things like that happen your name is more or less on the Cup. That game though, I’m still in bits over Bryan Oviedo. If I could of been on the pitch and taken a fracture for the lad I would of. I had to drink a hell of a lot to get over that. I know it’s cringey and a bit cliche, but if the players want any motivation to lift that pot in the final, it’s to do it for our Bry.
All you can ever ask for in an FA Cup tie is a home draw and thankfully we’ve been awarded one and welcome Swansea City to L4 4EL. So what about these Welsh lids? I’ve been to Swansea once – it doesn’t quite have the nightlife of it’s older and better looking cousin, Cardiff, but it has far more personality and could probably hold down a relationship longer with a woman than Newport ever could. They don’t speak to the Rhyl, Prestatyn or Colwyn Bay part of the family anymore. Sorry, enough of the sh*te Welsh/family references now.
The connoisseurs of ‘men with great hair’ amongst you will be deeply disappointed that Michael Laudrup was sacked recently by the Swans. The curse of ‘We’re playing Everton in the next game or two so a new manager will make us play boss and get us a result’ struck the former Danish playmaker, so bear that in mind when we struggle to a 1-1 draw on Sunday (see Pepe Mel (West Brom) and Tony Pulis (Crystal Palace) earlier in the season for evidence). Laudrup, the suave get, was simply “too fashionable and too much of a handsome devil to remain in charge much longer” stated Chairman Huw Jenkins, “we felt the time was right for Michael to move on”. Shame.
They have in caretaker charge ‘interim player-manager’ Garry Monk. First off, he spells Gary with two R’s…. the fat wool. Secondly, he’s got that weird red hair that I don’t trust. When all around you ‘Garry’ are calling you ginger you still well have it on your Facebook profile as ‘strawberry blond’, you fat meff. Thirdly and lastly, after their recent victory in the South Wales derby (yeah, I laughed too) Jamie Redknapp was waxing lyrical on Sky about what a good tactician he already seems – for that reason I think Garry Monk is a nobhead.
He brings with him a Swansea team that have struggled a tad this season. The lazy journos and pundits have come out with the jarg excuses already for them, ‘second season syndrome, blah blah blah, Thursday night Europa League’ when let’s face it, they are just not that great. Ok they play some great stuff and definitely have the ability to turn us over. I mean, they’ve beat United already in this season’s competition, but any midfield which has the Joe Allen-lite, Leon Brittain included in it, well, it’s just not that great really.
Is Michu even back? I miss him. He reminds me of those great strikers that used to play in Serie A in the 90s, the ones James Richardson would fawn over whilst reading a pink newspaper in a Naples cafe. Twitter has told me that you can buy 247 Michu’s for the cost of one Gareth Bale, so purely for stats like that we wish him well in his recovery, the next game not included. The goals for Swansea have come in the form of Wilfried Bony who in his spare time played Kenan in the Nickelodeon series ‘Kenan & Kel’. To his credit he is a strong and powerful player at times and we will certainly need to be on guard at the back.
In what is becoming a trend amongst my FA Cup previews on this site, I can’t be arsed to find out much about the rest of the squad other than to inform you that Nathan Dyer plays ok at times and Wayne Routledge has dreamy eyes that your sister would just die for.
Onto to the mighty Blues. It’s been a whirlwind week (pun very much intended). We sat there on Wednesday anticipating a struggle against in-form Palace until Hurricane Snide hit Walton. It didn’t end there though as we made some Malaysian fella the most famous Everton fan since Rocky Balboa. The poor sod. I know the club looked after him and he met the players and what not, but imagine travelling all that way in the hope of seeing Aiden McGeady start. In all seriousness, well in to the club for that.
We’ve been granted a few extra days rest to prepare so we should be stronger. I’d imagine we’ll name a stronger team than the one that was announced on Wednesday. Traore could make his first start, however if not, Naismith, who for my money played great as the striker against Spurs will start. Traore will feature at some point. Our young jewels, Deulofeu and Barkley and nearing full fitness and in contention to start also. This is the type of game that the pair of them could come into and decimate the opposition. Expect the usual back 5 with McCarthy & Barry, our very own Ant & Dec, holding in midfield. Mirallas to start as well please.
What? It’s 1.30 kick off? That means the boozer early doors then. I’ve mentioned in other cup previews about our need for a trophy. Again, this is a great chance to get to the quarters, and if we can get there with a kind home draw then it’s another Wembley trip lids. Of course, we cannot be counting chickens yet, but we have every chance, a win here and you can watch the draw afterwards with that nervous feeling in your gut. These are no pushover though and will be up for this after beating Cardiff and getting a respectable 1-1 at Stoke.
Defeat at Spurs was frustrating as we battered them and I, as much as you, hated seeing that smug get Sherwood in the post match interviews – he’ll get what’s coming to him eventually. Many have said the steam has gone a bit out of our season – absolute tosh. The trouble is, those lot across the park are looking very good at the minute and we are judging our season by what they are doing. So what, if they get 4th or more, they get it, stop worrying about them and worry about us. We are STILL playing great stuff, we STILL have our best players to come back to fitness and we STILL have an absolute dish of a manager.
Our time will come with Roberto. It may not be this season, but we are getting there. We are half a season and a bit into the revolution, it is going to take time. Stop being bells and taking to Twitter to moan about everything. Granted if we lose on Sunday, you can do what you like, but me personally, I am still very excited by this Everton team.
It’s the greatest knockout competition in the world, and we are in it, at Goodison with a chance of getting a step closer to the final. Revel in it. Up the Toffees!.