You know what you’re here for. Everton.

Or maybe that’s a cheap excuse? Maybe it’s a convenient pass for you to get some time out of the house, with your mates, in some seriously dull town somewhere in England? Or to escape down the pub and watch it? Or to spend some time with your lad who hasn’t been talking much lately but who doesn’t need words when watching the game together. Or maybe you don’t even support Everton. Maybe you’re one of them spam Chinese spam robots scanning the words before recommending me some jarg Viagra.

Whatever you are and no matter in which cause you come, read on to find out absolutely nothing at all about the forthcoming game that you didn’t know before.


It’s the prelude to a two match international break and if memory serves me well we are in a much better place than when the last one interrupted us. We’re still not fully there yet though, there’s the clicking of gears but we haven’t got going like we can. Maybe we won’t like?

The performance and result against Lille has injected foolhardy optimism into this preview because it was as good as Everton have played this season. We bummed them hard from the first minute and it was as dominant a performance as you could wish for. It’s customary to play it down pointing out how rubbish the opposition are – but they won the place in Europe based on a third place finish last season, and are notorious difficult to score against. Yet we made easy work of it. And all those tuning in anticipating the world’s latest greatest striker were disappointed to see Tony Hibbert usher him down blind alleys all night long. There’s more snidey digs at them later on in case you like that type of thing.

The league is pretty important too so it’s vitally important that when we approach supposed winnable games that we try and take them. That’s not a slant at Sunderland because we are playing them away and they’re a proud team who’ve caught us short one or two times before. One crap Boxing Day that wasn’t it? But they’re struggling with a few injuries and for form. So much so that if they win this game they go above us, but I said I’d be positive so for the purposes of this preview this is the most important game that’s ever existed. Just like the last one, and same as the next one.


The fixture list isn’t kind to me of late as it’s pitted us against some what we may consider alright clubs. Teams with players and fans that aren’t as concentrated in bell juice as a lot of the others. So they get a pass on the preview (I’m sure they’re made up/totally unaware of their existence) and sadly this week it’s against the club that if I had to pick one to save from a paving slap being dropped at once metre height, then it would be Sunderland. Rather than stay sleeping in bed and allow them such harm.

And that’s due to a number of things, obviously how they are and how theyapproach footie. The type of players they employ and managers they’ve had. But mostly because I’ve got good fortune to know a fair few of them in real life and there’s a kinship of sorts. We both have to suffer odious self-absorbed whoppers as near neighbours and rivals. We both expect the footballing apple of our eye to go tits up whenever anything goes good for us. We both share a healthy dislike for the prevalence of tittish behaviour creeping on the terraces. We both have a parochial support and value in doing traditional stuff that our Dads and Uncles did before us. And every one of them has very distinct personal defects and weaknesses when engaged in a heavy drinking session. It almost feels like home.

So there Sunderland, there you have it. Now stop beating us and let us get back to a long sequence of games where we take your meek defence and midfield right apart. We prefer you like that. Give us a good weekend and roll over for us. Go on. You’ll stay up anyway and we can all relax and be happy this weekend. All of us.

Unless, of course, you’re caught doing a slanty eyed gesture live on TV at a football match.


Monkey sign man can breathe a sigh of relief; he’s not alone now. Thought it was we who done all the bad gesture things? That no one sees or records like.

Listen he was just stretching his eyes OK? It’s normal to stretch his eyes when you’re upset at nasty refereeing. It’s a body language way of saying “leave us alone Platini” in South America. It’s us who are ignorant by not realising this.

And the airplane signs at Old Trafford are…you know, forget it. Any one of them who even tries to sling mud at anyone else regarding prejudice has obviously got a gigantic self-awareness problem. You know what though? They make us look good by comparison without us even trying. It’s hardly as if they truly reflect on the city – only by name not by personnel.

And they just got beat three times in one week. And the day after their last defeat one Samuel Eto’o is going to pull on the blue jersey of Everton and do ace things in it.

Unlucky there.


So should really coast through Sunderland’s projected team then. Starting with up front. Now that they’re Boriniless they are reliant on some big grocks such as Altidore, one time Shirley Temple of the Championship Connor Wickham and the nailed on starter for Sunday’s game Steven Fletcher, or in Scottish terms: Mrs Naismith of the national team. He goes through fits of scoring goals but I’ve never really paid too much attention to if he’s ace or not. Suppose we’ll find out.

Expect Sunderland to pack the midfield where they have a couple of options. One of those options is handsome Jack of Birkdale of whom it seems weird that he ever played for Everton. I’m sure there’s loads of reasons we’re not privy to on why he didn’t kick on but the best I heard was “too much Birkdale, not enough Kirkdale” which is a genius way of putting it. Obviously this is just the curse we need for him to have a season’s best performance against us. Or there could be Seb Larsson in there who’s like a bad pair of grundies bought for you at Christmas that you try and stash at the back of the drawer but inevitably have to use because you put the washing on late and there’s no Bjorn Borgs or Calvin Klein’s left.

Or someone called Bridcutt who’s also Scottish. And then there’s star man Adam Johnson who looks like he treats having to turn up with absolute contempt. He’ll do something boss every now and then on Monday Night Football that will remind you he had a lot of talent. Has a lot of talent. There other wing should be occupied by the lad they signed from Brighton called Buckley.


I nearly forgot a special mention for their manager Poyet whose eyes sinking deeper and deeper into his head with each game passing. He also stuck up for Suarez when he was a bit racist so I’m likely to think he’s a bit of a beaut for a few years yet.

Defence is dominated by the all-conquering-supposed-to-be-United-defence-for-the-next-ten-years of O’Shea and Brown, who are no mugs but are not what they were meant to be. They’re flanked by two generic foreign full backs who are “technical” and “composed” but no one knows too much about them. They’ll probably have a sound afternoon as McGeady had his good game in the week so has subbed on sixty minutes all over him this week. Bit unfair that as I didn’t mean for it to turn into that, he played well against Swansea too. Before being unfairly subbed on the hour mark. Why are we talking about McGeady anyway?

Keeper is Pantimillion who was at City for a few years and looks like Di Maria was supposed to look like until someone put him on boil wash. And that’s Sunderland that.


The full game Lukaku run out on Thursday leads me to believe that we’ll see Samuel Eto’o on from the start for this game. No preference for me really as, whisper it quietly but, it looks like Lukaku is playing himself into form. Fancy that? Him and Eto’o up front together maybe. Or maybe not as you have to find a space for Naismith who is creating himself a really good niche as the type of player Evertonians love. I’m made up with the unintentionally snarly faced little beauty more than I should be over another man.

But then there’s Barkley too to consider, because he’s also rested. Just hope Martinez continues to play them in their right positions. Osman done alright on the left too but I’ve fell for that trap before, but still, well in. Just dead excited for Mirallas to be back soon really, after this international break apparently. Then we’ll cruise.

Barry suffered a bad gash apparently, as men of our age are prone to experiencing at least once? I thought he was having the ref on for the moody tackle in case he got a red. In any case Gibson came on and sprayed the thing about really well, we shouldn’t forget in a hurry how good he can be. Which means that we’ll probably start McCarthy and Besic then. Strawberry sweded James has had a fair few superlatives thrown at him over the past couple of days and rightfully so as he was boss in midweek. Same as Naismith he’s the type of player that Evertonians are prone to loving. With a little more of that football arrogance that his manager goes on about we could have ourselves a really top class midfielder, but more than that – a deadly effective too. And those ones are the ones which make the difference.


Alcaraz’s shoulder is only half as bad as thought before and Distin slotted in like he’d not been away but it wasn’t the most difficult of games for him. I reckon he’ll keep his place for this, along with free scoring Jagielka who has had a significant bounce in only the way only a last minute scorcher at Anfield can provide. Don’t worry, we’ll be riding that for much longer than him.

Coleman is having some mystery injuries of late but hope he’s back for obvious reasons. Baines has far too many assists for any left back to have at this stage of the season, he’s absolutely flying at the moment and as much as a I sound a tit getting too over enthusiastic over any footballer – he’s my favourite Everton player for some time. With his hair like a barber’s magazine from 1991 and his shorts purposely selected one size too tight there’s much to admire.

Tim Howard – hush he’s been quiet – in goal. These clean sheets have been a big part of us getting some respectability back.


Any sort of win is needed to reassure us that the season has finally got going and to provide us with two weeks of contented thoughts about Everton and our remaining prospects for the remainder of the season. If not then supposed crisis hit Sunderland can have the honour of looking down at us from their perch.

So that’s the type of game it is really.

Just need Everton to turn up and do our thing, as that’s what it’s about isn’t it?