And with two foul swoops on the south coast that was it, the Walton Globetrotters were ruined, left in tatters with their story destined to be told only to young blues in decades to come. Rumour has it there was a curse put on Everton when Jack Pickford toppled the big never-dribbled-past giant who came climbing up the leaguestalk but no one really knows mate, all we know is that it was the inflection point which fatefully led to Everton’s great descent to the North West Counties league, and yes lad James Rodriguez really did play for Everton once and it was great, just great. Now be a good boy and put your light off.
Hang on, Everton are still top of the table? Some catastrophizing that.
That it took eight games into a new season before Evertonians felt the familiarity of defeat should temper any adverse reactions to it. Not that there were really that many anyway, and the way social media is set up you’re likely to see the most extreme reactions, or just that loon in your Everton circle who is really into NSNO. It would be unhealthy to treat Everton as any sort of pick-me-up for your weekends, masochism actually, but there will always be a handful who treat Everton in a similar way some treat relationships, as a doomed antidepressant to give joy and meaning to life. As someone very wise told me you got to be content yourself before you can allow anyone else to enhance your life. All things considered Everton have enhanced my autumn.
Sunday was an archetypal languid Everton performance away from home but now it gives Ancelotti and his team some work to do on the layer just below the first XI, for which there looks a gulf in class. However you can’t fix what you’re unaware of, so simply just fire Iwobi on the spot and we move on.
As I’ve mentioned in the previous previews this is a four game period bookmarked by internationals that would help shape our expectations for what could be realistically achieved this season. At the midway point having just one point is not conducive for rampant optimism and celebrating in the traditional way by firing off a rocket or two at the liver birds come May, but salvation lies ahead with Newcastle and Man Utd to come.
So it’s a trip to southern Scotland this Sunday where Everton will take on the gigantic might of the world’s greatest football club never to really win stuff. Of course that’s not important when you have a ground with enhanced capacity – as everyone knows THE true benchmark for gauging grandioseness – and did you know Faustino Asprilla once played for them and scored against Barcelona? If you have a social media account or proximity to geordies then you just might.
If you were so compelled to study an echo chamber then forget your Trump twitter or Koresh villages and head straight to Newcastle. It’s a veritable Truman Show but with just over 268,000 thousands stars of the show at last count. After the last two weeks of the world class crying from Big Red as we dared to tackle a few of their players this may be not the best time to say it but, dear readers, be glad that your team, your city, shares a rival because that to and fro, that continual fact checking, that viscous demeaning of everything you hold dear is absolute essential for having a functioning sense of perception and therefore avoiding the must dreaded case of geordieitis, of which there is no known vaccine of yet. Scousers like to argue and our football clubs give us the perfect vehicle for it, Geordies have a propensity for an unopposed self comforting bubble and their genuinely pitiful football club give them all the nutrients they need.
Now if you’re unfortunate or desperate enough to follow on twitter you may be reading this in the belief that I may be a tad cruel to Newcastle and its fans but I’m sorry to disappoint you that shall not be the case. You see the problem is, I kind of like them. Now stay with me for a moment but there’s many more nefarious bells out there to resent way before the Geordies who by large have a joy de vivre, a bonhomie about them that makes them decent company – even if you have to crowbar them away from football to experience this. Their politics is similar to ours in not wishing to starve vulnerable children and they bring a real genuine passion to this league that enhances it. Take them away and they’ll likely be replaced by some sterile try hard non entity (no, really) who have as much genuine culture about their club as an American club with funky nickname and choreographed fans.
This next bit is gonna hurt.
Newcastle are a big club. One that has as much right as many to be given a platform to be what they can be. And to be honest it’s a difficult watch with their ownership over the past decade as loyal, decent working class fans are fucked continually in a nonchalantly snide manner by Jabba The Hut of Lonsdale trackies. Never mind the proposed takeover this year being torpedoed by a Premier League happy to let all manner of humans rights ignorers into the league prior. Timely to draw a line in the sand that prohibits the likes of Newcastle to try and compete against the established order. Sure it may be fun to stare and point for a season or two but the poor fuckers have endured over a decade of it and still loyally turned up to see their proud working class club get fucked repeatedly by slugs who don’t give a fuck for nothing but what the P&L closes on at the end of the month. Newcastle bring flavour to the English game and I have often enjoyed it’s taste. I just hope that the fine relations between our two clubs don’t deteriorate when we effortlessly take Allan Saint-Maximim off their hands this coming January window, but the when the remora swims around the shark it risks being devoured. Cheers. KA.
Steve Bruce is the man at the helm, with his face like a curdled swamp, and is going his best to keep the ship steered through some turbulent waters. They made some decent signings in the summer to invigorate the first team which means Callum Wilson will no doubt haunt our channels like a ghost freighter, and excitable touchline hobbit Ryan Fraser will have his sole customary good game of the season. St James’ Park has been somewhat of a happy hunting ground for Everton of late however and so there is less to fear than last week’s visit to St Mary’s, even if despite that there is more to lose.
Which brings us not so nicely onto Everton and what we may expect from presumed Ancelotti’s tinkering. The ozone sized hole on our left hand side through Richarlison’s absence just got that much bigger with Digne set to serve a match ban for riding that Southampton’s player’s Achilles like a prime Tony Hawk. Our manager went for experience in Iwobi but that didn’t work out at all, and no is it likely to being fair to the Nigerian international, Everton don’t replace players like Richarlison too easy and it should be food for through for the amount of investment and talent spotting required for when he moves on at any point. Since you didn’t ask me though, I’d go for Anthony Gordon who at least has the onus to run at a fullback and seems to pack something resembling a goal threat compared to the alternatives. Ye Gods have smited us further with our Colombian sexlord on the opposite wing having to sit this out so I’m way out of my depth here as it may result in Don Carlo changing a formation that looked pretty settled. Calvert-Lewin will play up front though for sure. His performance put paid to the chicken v egg style debate about whether it was previously the player or the service that made him a dar magnet up front.
Midfield is a wee worry as it just hasn’t functioned in the past few games. Perhaps it’s Allan not yet fully fit after his injury, maybe it’s not yet finding the third piece to compliment it via the Gomes roulette, who knows? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Delph make a start in this one though and the others will be subject to whatever formation we go for.
Everton haven’t kept a clean sheet in 7 games which calls for some fiddling with defence and keeper. We’ve been sort of prohibited by the injuries all over. That looks to be easing up with Holgate, Kenny and Branthwaite soon back in contention, and the latter is fit in timely fashion for this weekend. I reckon Nkounkou will be given his league bow to at left back and richly deserved too for his cup exploits. The Keane and Mina thing has its merits but as a long term pairing it ain’t gonna be the answer for Everton on the basis that they’re just too similar, and this brings a lack of place and efficiency against teams with nippy wee fucks up front who like to move the ball fast. At some point soon I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Godfrey or Holgate paired up with you’d presume Michael Keane to see if that works better. Although with the injuries this weekend we may even get a back three with them all. Fuck knows, tactics ain’t my thing. Pickford will be in goal and it’s a really good thing there’s not Geordies in the crowd to banter our number 1 into his latest headfuck moment.
There’s a tendency in writing these try-way-too-hard previews to talk each game up as a really important one in the journey of Everton’s season. Considering all though this game is pivotal. Everton will be looking to respond to a first defeat and avoid a three game winless run, coupled with the key injures it’s going to give a statement on both Everton’s character and their manager’s ability with what he’s got right now. We’re gonna get that litmus test on expectation.
Despite leading the league from more or less the start no one really believes the most beautiful fairy tale could really happen. Although sometimes you just got to chuck a bean in the ground and see what comes out. And hope it’s not the North West Counties League.