Everton v Crystal Palace

In the ebb and flow of a fixture list the keen supporter is always looking for the opportunity to knock a few together, go on a run, get some momentum going. Couple with it a cup run, dream of Wembley, score a few famous nights, make it a season to remember, lads.

Then there’s the non keen supporter who has to endure his team in a three season state of footballing purgatory while they lament every weekend with the existential pain and anxiety it will bring. Those fans – and for that read “Evertonians” – aren’t looking at any fixture list for runs, they are looking for points. It can be one or three points. Likely and unlikely. Just sufficient points to remain in the Premier League only to do it all again next season as you’re somewhat a fool or masochist by definition. Maybe an addict?

Which brings us to this fixture against a team in freefall on the cusp of firing their manager and within grasp of Everton – particularly if they secure three points against them on this Monday night, under the lights at Goodison. Yes, you will miss it.

It’s been a laborious run in the fixtures just gone for Everton where they did manage to pleasingly dig out a few points, but no victories, to find themselves in the relegation zone and needing points rapidly. I do realise Everton are in this position thanks to a points deduction that’s currently under appeal but it’s prudent to pretend no points will be won back from an appeal panel that looks as assuredly independent as Crimea. It may not be the fault of manager or players this time (yet) but Everton once again are gonna have to dogfight their way out of relegation to try and maintain that purgatory until something fucking good happens at any point in the future, if indeed it ever does. Of all the few things left Evertonians can cling onto for any semblance of pride it’s not being relegated for fucking ages. NSNO, lad. Maintaining membership of a league that doesn’t like us is a form of fuck you objective that Evertonians can get behind. We expertise in the petty, you see. Also the anger, but consider pettiness as our foreplay before we get to the really good stuff.

So Crystal Palace then. The handful of readers and spambots of these increasingly intermittent previews may be accustomed to my complete lack of tactical prowess so if you’re looking for any form of marginal gains insight or XG then fuck off. As a person of feels, I can say that Crystal Palace are a very rare position of being a club and fans I actually like, in this hellscape of a league. For the usual reasons really, nice parochial working class support, a distinct lack of ego amongst their fans, an even more welcome lack of “banter” on match day. Some famed players who were pleasing on the eye. Their services to football in both 1990 and 2014 against Big Red, and their fans’ subsequent complete enjoyment of it. I can forgive the banging of a drum and some ultra stuff occurring on match days as not everyone has to be as miserable and unarsed as us. They’re just alright are Palace, and how we need to swell the numbers of the alright so we can feel a little less lonely in this damned preferred weekend pastime of ours. The league and media has gone into full on WWE fuelled by the grotesque pantomime of social media, when all you wanna do is watch footie and drink beer with your mates. Oh and also hopefully witnessing a few good days to balance up the plethora of shit ones, as you follow a shit team.

As I write this Roy Hodgson has taken ill whilst in the process of being fired, which must be a real nightmare for Crystal Palace HR. There’ll be hushed emails and notes kept on file sent from the hospital waiting room. “Seen Roy, looks ok, was thankful I was there. Gave him his copy of FourFourTwo and fruit basket from Sainsbury’s (expense v1 attached). Passed him his Get Well Soon Card from Moonpig (expense v2 attached) and said we were all rooting for him. He asked why his company laptop couldn’t connect to the server, told him we will just park that for now as full focus on his recovery. Can HR please advise what to tell him?”.

He’s a good man so hopefully he does make a full recovery and prevents anything like a new manager taking over until after Tuesday. As witnessed first hand in the recent cup game there’s a lack of confidence from Palace fans in Hodgson after a prolonged shitty run, not helped by some really key injuries. But still, that’s just how it is now. You’re only ever 3 defeats away from a crisis no matter your achievements and how recent they were, which suits an eager hysteria prone media who are propagating the whole process. Win at all cost lads. MINDSET. How much do you want it? Life and fucking death. Do it for the fans. But don’t the fans think we’re cunts? Just do it and pretend it’s for them anyway, you’re earning more in a week than they do in a year, or two years maybe. Or more.

Palace are missing the likes of Eze – thank fuck – and Olise so the thing we must fear most is Everton being Everton. And a virtuoso performance from someone nondescript, like that fucking gecko Will Hughes ragging our midfield apart and galloping into the spaces Onana is pointing at as Dads lose their fucking minds in the stand. Or Everton could just turn up and beat a team in even more dire straits than us, for once.

I’ve got nothing to really write on the current appeals process really. Relegations potentially determined by corporate overreach or saved by a “super silk” isn’t really for me. I’m just here for the footie, and those beers after. And mates. Maybe a takeaway on the way home and watching it – this time without nerves – on Match Of The Day later if Everton done the winning thing. For a goal I couldn’t really celebrate until VAR had said it was OK.

It’s gonna be sound though you know. Don’t ask me how, it just somehow will be. When the bar has been reduced so low that you can’t even limbo under it then it’s a great reduction of ego. Avoid this relegation, shed numerous troublesome contracts in the summer and do some pragmatic goodness. Midtable nothingness? It’s feels like the first pint of Friday to Evertonians now. A cup run? Pass us the bong. Any sort of European aspirational run? Two speckled doves mate. I’ll neck yer cat. And from there anything we dream of, like not another three decades until our club – a once glorious club – win a trophy.

According to Dyche, who sounds like he gargles his driveway on the way out to work every morning, there’s a few back in contention for this game.

The DCL or not DCL thing will keep running as long as DCL isn’t scoring. And so Everton No9s should be under pressure to score. The question is does it make the team better if he’s replaced by Beto or Chermiti from the start? Work rate and selfless hold up play work so far when its goals that Everton crave to win games. The return of Doucoure will help with that but we really need any one or two of those three strikers to put together some vein of goal scoring run, should Everton wish to move up away from danger.

A sort of similar thing can be levelled at Jack Harrison – who grafts his little June-cabana-at-Wayne Lineker’s gaff arse off every week – but needs a tad more impact in the winning game output. McNeil looks out of form and has done for a while now, but again as above does the replacement help the overall picture more? Danjuma and Dobbin may contest that. We’re gonna need more than Ashley Young keeping it tight out there.

The return of Gueye takes the edge off midfield and essentially turns the remainder of the season into any two from him, Garner and Onana. You can choose who’s flavour of the months or indeed, half, as sentiment fluctuates rapidly towards Everton players when you’re under this much anxiety.

I like the current back four but can Godfrey and Mykolenko do enough up the pitch to influence games that we expect to win? It’s more likely Dyche will value their solidity and put his faith in the midfield wide men. I’m really happy with the centre backs and the goalkeeper though, and that’s something.

Just watched Notts Forest pick up points so gonna add photos to this and send it off. Everton really need to win though to save the hard luck story being written about them becoming a fable. In the fullness of time we can point back to key fixtures in previous seasons and the points gained getting Everton just over the line, just as this game. An opportunity to put someone else right in the mix and give us some breathing space can’t be overlooked as anything else than a gigantic gift horse and rather than staring at it’s smile, we need to jam the varmint’s jaws apart and put out head down its throat. Make it gag, with our head.

It wasn’t the ending I was hoping for but seems a good place to finish this here. Into them blues.

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