You’ve had your two week hiatus from domestic football, sneering from the top of the table at the performance peasants beneath us, but now it’s time to get the big royal blue this-could-be-alright-this show back on the road.
The game by game basis has been building up a head of steam, cumulating in a seven game winning start that has transformed despair – going 3 down to Blackpool in 12 minutes was only eight weeks ago – to even the most miserable pessimistic and edgy Evertonian (roughly about 82% of us in total) looking to the future and believing we can get to a League Cup semi and lose gallantly this season. Imagine that dear reader, put the Echo Falls on ice.
Traditionally there’s two things on God’s green planet that drains optimism out of Everton, no zipped training shorts being released in summer, and Big Red next on the fixture list. It’s fair to say we’ve adopted a collective coping mechanism not unlike going to the dentist, or undercooked sprouts on your Sunday plate, and just got on with the fixture enduring the disappointment to try best move on past it – usually by directing our ire on whatever player or manager let us down for that particular horror show. Actually that’s a little unfair as in previous years we’ve done alright at Goodison against St Kenny’s Pocket Pissers so there’ll be a little apprehension from them – whether they admit it or not – in bringing a team recently filleted into seven pieces by Aston Villa.
It has however been ten years to the day since Everton prevailed over Atletico Asthmatics so quite frankly that’s a prolonged period of shithousery that shouldn’t be forgiven too easy and needs remedying ASAP. Is this the time to do just that? Fuck right off I’m not taunting ye Gods of fate that easy.
Everton’s last game out was a really alright swatting aside of Brighton. Considering the key injuries out it was pretty straightforward – apart from our keeper’s latest brain fart – and it was reassuring to see Everton go through the gears to secure the win. The usual story is Everton never reacting well to set back or adversity but with a sleek baller like Colombia’s second best export, this present Everton have gears to shift into that they haven’t had for quite some time. The supporting cast are doing equally as sound too, once again though too many superlatives attract the demons of destiny so I’m gonna leave it at that.
This next game starts a four match sequence in between ill timed international breaks of Southampton and Newcastle away before Man Utd at Goodison. While everyone may be looking solely at this weekend’s game as a benchmark I’d counter it’s this quartet of games that will help ascertain how good Everton really can be this season. Focusing solely on the performance against – listen carefully I say this only once – the best team in the land and a wounded one at that, would be a tad super expectant of a promisingly talented Everton team.
It’s always tough to write a preview against the Spanish Plaza Masturbation Corporation because there’s little left to be said after what seems like a constant ongoing narrative in your lives amongst friends, family and workmates, and now incessantly on social media. There’s varying levels of detesting ranging from almost ambivalent to many who can detest with the very best (I’m thinking of you, T). You get to choose your flavour of rivalry.
There’s been much wrote about how current relations have deteriorated and the various causes of that. Does social media help? In my view no, its an accelerant for the whole process as many, well me, scour for any wee edge gained over trashing the Liver Bird Bombers and very much vice versa. I’ll confess right here in this bit I hope you can’t be arsed reading up until that I have a deep appreciation of the arts of bitter and probably take as much enjoyment of their demise as any of our achievements but – and forgive me – I cant quite go as far as hating them. Many of my closest mates are reds, sadly swathes of my family too, I can’t apply a blanket of hate because of this, how could I? I reserve hate for the select few like the Conservative Party, Phil “The Power” Taylor, showers that are too hot, the cancer that took my mother, Nigel Farage, cardio, naggers and anything and anyone ever associated with Real Ticket Robbers apart from a few people I’m fond of. Merseyside rivalry should be relentless and cruel. We don’t like them, they don’t like us and that’s sound. There’s an arbitrary line not to cross but anyone who needs that explaining isn’t likely to adhere. So in short, fuck them.
Of course a very accessible battleground between blue and red is found on the internet now and it allows us more than ever – both sides – to sneer over the nuances of each other’s collective tendencies. I think you can draw a clean line between Everton and the European Ban Specialists by their respective ability to criticise their own fans. Evertonians absolutely revel in a spot of civil war whether Kirkby stay or go, Tom Davies yes or no and the famous Crusades of Martinez in or out – you won’t find many blues who won’t have some form of scorn for their own or indeed the club itself. No one hates Everton quite like Evertonians. Over the park though a most peculiar thing happens.
When the latest incident of negative PR, or downright shame, occurs there’s what I like to call “the scarlet silence” as the masses wait to see what the online politburos decide is the official rebuke. The scarlet silence period is filled obviously with every single Evertonian and his dog pointing more fingers than an Ellesmere Port family while sat on stallions that have been specially bred for their tallness. Then the fight back begins, the official line is decided on then pushed out and adversaries are shamed – like for example South American linguistic nuances, Joe Anderson, Sergio Ramos, UEFA, non sleeping imposters, Christian Purslow, a beach ball, historic buildings using blue lighting, them Yanks (not these Yanks), and of course Chelsea fans.
Now no one likes to be accused either directly or indirectly of terrible things related to something you’re fond of, or people associated with it doing some quite heinous things like – oh I don’t know – an exploitative power grab to change the dynamics of the competition you play, condemning others to oppressed opportunity and some inevitable bankruptcy of long standing community serving institutions – but it’s really not that difficult to say “aye that’s shit that” and rise against it, as some did to the news of their club furloughing their own staff back earlier in the year. Whether that was out of genuine goodwill or fear of being shamed I don’t know, but I’d like to believe it was the former.
There’s is however amongst many of them a race to be the most disconcerting kopite out there, in which the online version is littered with many ahahahahas, crying emojis, Mbappe rubbing his eye gifs and going to extreme lengths to show just how not arsed you are, lad. It’s a great copy and paste factory where others – often with no connection to the city – try and assimilate with the exact same behaviours and turns of phase albeit in a less convincing manner. Location and/or accent guilt is a real thing when it comes to associating yourself with Boca Banners whereas on the blue side most scousers feel really sorry for any of our far fled fans getting up at 4am for their day to be ruined before the sun even rises.
So aye, they’re a bit different to us but let’s continue to celebrate it with wild abandon as that’s exactly how it should be. Anyway enough of Lokamotiv Vote Stealers and onto the toffs.
I’m struggling to keep tabs on who is injured, touch and go, or fit. Writing this before Ancelotti’s update tomorrow therefore is fraught with shit prediction potential. Calvert-Lewin made the step up to international football well enough and in terms of levelling up there’s nothing quite like an Everton number 9 having a derby named after him for eternity. Last one, correct if I’m wrong, was the Sharp Anfield derby way too long ago. Richarlison seems to be really disliked by Red Star Bellgrade which is always positive indicator on anyone who can deny them reflected glory, he will start on the left and James Rodriguez over on the right. I doubt very much that Los Fountain Shovers will play as high and ponderous back line as they did against Villa but if they don’t fix it then we have a front line that **may** be able to exploit that, and fuck knows that’s been a while.
It’s a big boost that Allan is fit for dual benefits being that we need a combative nature in the middle of the park and it’s highly unlikely he will be phased by the occasion when so many others are. According to Watford pals Doucoure enjoys a big game so we’ll need more of the same as he produced v Brighton and then it’s likely to be Gomes alongside them. Gomes is a mad one because he has the ability to compete and better most other midfields which he showed early in his Everton career but then faded. With the increased quality along side and around him he’s got a bonafide opportunity to step it up, no better time to then against the Resident Evicting Experts.
If Mina fit? if not then that lad from Norwich will be baptised and probably harshly red carded. Keane has been playing really well so this is a test of his progress as against these they usually turn him with diagonal balls for their mini Lance Armstrongs to run onto. Digne also has a niggle which would be a real blow as he’s quite superb at the left sided togger, if so then Nkounkou also gets his chance. Actually writing this gives me a twinge. You know the goalie and he best not fucking dare in this one.
So that’s the size of it really, a useful benchmark against our rival and a strong opposition. Just how big are your balls Everton?