A sixteen day break for Everton transitions them from a really nice end to their last game at Stamford Bridge and into a tough game at home to Tottenham Hotspur, abbreviated to Spurs from this point onwards, assuming their fans don’t have any issues with abbreviations.
The hope would be that such a positive sign off would carry a wave of positive momentum through the grace period – which incidentally did not report any international injuries for Everton players – and fortify them ready to go again with belief, and vigour, against Spurs under the lights at an energised Goodison Park on Monday evening. Hope and Everton have a complicated relationship however, none more so than in recent times when hope has been as absent as a Birkenhead father.
I’m still unsure whether to let hope back through the door despite a decent start to his tenure at Everton by Sean Dyche, with his one-day-before-best scotch egg looks and voice like it’s gargled some gravel for breakfast. Perhaps Dyche’s pragmatism is rubbing off on me, implying me to use quick fire second year Team Leader terms like “it is what it is” and “hard work unlocks all” in a superfluous manner about any subject really that no one has asked my opinion on, yet I feel compelled to provide. In this case the subject is Everton and as you may have gathered I’ve genuinely no fucking idea where this is heading, so I’ll faithfully turn up or tune in out of sheer habit and * hope * that Ellis Simms eating Koulibaly’s soul is some form of watered down with piss Adrian Heath at Oxford moment, and I can get back into a rhythm of my preferred weekend distraction not hurting me.
I’m starting writing this whilst you’re all devouring yourselves over the release of Everton’s annual financial statement. I can read a budget but have absolutely no intention of sifting through Everton’s as a) I’m not getting paid to do so and b) I just want to watch my football team play football to an alright standard on the weekend. It’s just really hard to get too invested when players there are earning more in a week than we are in a year and not even getting minutes for Everton on the field. After much consideration, well about 20 seconds there, I’d like Moshiri to buy the Premier League and just let nature take its course until we can hard reset and try again. In many ways I feel the demise and ending of Soccer AM should give us all hope for the future that what pervades us has to fuck off at some point. All we have to do is just endure, be it from habit, foolishness, spite or complete lack of anything else meaningful to do with our lives. The zombification of a football fan, if you will.
I was just about to write that Spurs are in some form of turmoil themselves, sacking their Manager before this game and heading into it led by third year Team Leader Ryan Mason complete with business card holder (call me any time) portable whiteboard, wandering hands for vulnerable office girls at the Christmas party and sure as hell a club blazer, tie, or both. Do Spurs do a huddle before kick off? I bet they fucking will for this, as Ryan looks on sending his troops to the frontline. Does anyone have Instagram? Can you please check if Ryan Mason is mates with Ant Middleton – the bearded fucking little clam – and Zig Ziglar please? Ever wondered what Harry Kane dropping backwards ten feet out of a helicopter into the Thames looks like? Just give it a few weeks. Elite mentality, mate. Get with it. Ryan’s up at 4.45am every morning (no alarm needed, body clock mate) and straight into an ice bath, reciting mantras from The Art Of War. 120 press ups before a three egg whites protein shake and then journaling his aspirations for the day. Ryan has turned a normal 16 hour conscious day into a 20 hour self improvement plan and it all starts here. 6.05am, another ice bath. 6.30am changed and fresh cologne (Tom Ford pal, anything citric). 6.35am visualisation session of day’s goals. 6.45am sharp: family committee in the kitchen. I’ve save you the full agenda but essentially every single Spurs player wakes up to no less than four messages from him and thinks he’s total fucking ham. Anyway I was gonna write that Spurs are in some form of turmoil themselves before getting distracted by Ryan Mason’s writing letters to Andrew Tate telling him to see the tiger, be the tiger, before realising that Spurs are in fourth place and that’s not turmoil, but some indication of how fucking flippant the Premier League is right now. It’s edgier, more insane and shit more plot twist than the pilot of an ambitious Latin American soap.
Whilst Conte looked somewhat what I’d expect an Ewok dar with managed alopecia to look like, he’s a proven wonderful manager of noted and sustained success. What caused him to lose his shit and become openly hostile to his own club will one day come out in a book, but until then we can just speculate. Or look on in amusement as the press casually poke him into Il Scrappy Doo mode. Without that knowledge of what is going on behind the scenes it’s hard to evaluate but really it wasn’t really professional and must have irked Levy and co that paying fuck knows for a world leading manager is being rewarded with behaviour that Ant Middleton – or some other ex Middle Eastern farmer bullying hotshot – would be prescribing multiple ice baths for. There’s such an array of talent in Spurs’ squad however that they could turn up led by Harry Kane as an aspirational Roy Race and they’d still go out on the field and give Everton a right rum game of football. Just for in the interests of fairness, at least those Spurs players aren’t; running out with the Six Different Hats mantras of that fucking forty something fully grown adult prefect Graham Potter in their ears.
Traditionally this is where I’d say some right rum things about the opposition fans but, be it just coincidence or be it reality, I’ve got a handful of Spurs supporting mates and I like each and every one of them. I can’t even think of a Spurs fan I’ve met who I didn’t like and whilst I’m very sure there’s an array of lily white molesting fuckwits out there, I’m reserving the right to go easy on them. Should you wanna scratch the surface to ponder that dynamic I’d point out that perhaps through a kinship with fans of other clubs who have Everton style (delusions of) grandeur yet are subject to their team ripping their heart out through continual clusterfuck. The only coping mechanism is self depreciation, and I’m fine tuned into feeling affinity with those type of fans. Now don’t let me down please Spurs by singing “is this a library” when you should be shut up and just watching the game. A ratio any greater than two Stone Island jackets per hundred fans also puts you into deep water. A prevalent try-hard fan channel fucks you. Getting pissy over abbreviations of your team’s name is the final straw. Good luck.
Onto Everton. The more we get to know about Sean Dyche the more we know that this is a man of faith in a team that has delivered any sort of result. Which means Everton are likely to start with the same team as the last game and the game before that. Slight caveat here, reckon he will be tempted to put Mykolenko in for Godfrey but call that a hunch.
That means Demarai Gray scampering about up front like a September wasp being a general annoyance and looking for an guarded can of Tango to climb into, figuratively that unguarded can of Tango being an unguarded goal and him not so much climbing into it as firing the ball into that net, even if it’s guarded, in a legal manner to score a goal for Everton. Failing that he can just buzz around really hard looking to create stuff for others until he’s fucked after 75 minutes and Ellis Simms comes on. Everton’s wide men are likely the increasingly alright Dwight McNei,l and Alex Iwobi.
Midfield three? You got it. Doucoure, Gana Gueye and Amadou Onana, the latter being handed the captain’s armband for Belgium against whoever they played midweek. I’m not one for symbolism nor tokenism, but he’s gonna be a really good player. He’s been shit for Everton for a few games now – understandable as a young developing player in his first year in England – so can only hope that wee break away will inspire him to kick on. If not then James “Jimmy” Garner from Birkenhead (no idea if a father yet or not) should be approaching fitness and at least give Dyche something to work with, should any of those middle three not do good stuff.
Nathan Patterson is fit again which is good news considering his performance before injury, however in his absence the evergreen Seamus Coleman has been doing absolutely nothing wrong at the age of 34. As above, it just may be nice to have able subs and replacement players as and when required. Keane and Tarkowski will be the centre backs and either Godfrey or Mykolenko as left back. Jordan Pickford will keep nets and that’s probably your Everton starting line up, although you always retain the right to fume at the Everton social media lad one hour before kick off when he tweets it.
We’re at the stage of the season where you can do those predict the results things, perhaps on a weekly basis should your whim/anxiety invoke, and determine if Everton stays up or not. I like to break the fixtures down into nice little mini leagues of three and then see the yield from nine points against our fellow strugglers. Five points from Notts Forest away, Brentford at home and Chelsea away when everyone around us fucked it isn’t too bad. That sequence is followed by this game against Spurs and then Man (abbreviated) Utd away and Fulham at home. Four or five points from that would likely be ok too, obviously dependent on how those others around us perform for the same period.
In our eager quest for titillation and stimulation from Everton, a concept that would cause Jung and eternity of sleepless nights, this is just one more panto out of all the pantos left, where, hopefully at the end of panto season three more are behind you.
I’ve written quite enough now, just fucking hurt them Everton.