I was going to start by saying it’s another tough game isn’t it?
But the sad fact is that whoever we face these days is a tough game.
It’s not like it was a few years back, where you could pretty much guarantee us beating certain lesser teams.
Everton were never one of those teams though and no matter how well we’ve been doing in the league, it seems from my memory at least, that they’ve always been able to take points off us; which is why I quite like this particular match.
You never know what you’re going to get and the outcome is quite often not what you thought it might be.
Roberto Martinez has Everton playing very steadily thank you, with 4 wins, 5 draws and 3 defeats from their games up to now.
They score a reasonable amount of goals and don’t concede too many, just as you’d expect from their ninth position in the table.
Whereas we don’t score enough and concede too many, meaning on paper, this ought to be a straightforward home win.
I really don’t want to discuss our form at all.
The difference this time though, being we have Garde on our side.
Obviously you can’t tell anything from one game, but against Man city, the vast majority of us thought the team had a better shape and looked like they had more of an idea about what they were supposed to do than of late.
Certainly Carles Gil alluded to that fact in a recent interview.
And while we were somewhat lucky in getting a point against the blue Mancs, what it boiled down too was that we got that point, much against the odds.
Maybe it was just new manager syndrome, where you often see an immediate boost to players who realise that they are under scrutiny, but I tend to think there was a bit more to it than that.
I’m not alone in thinking that our squad is better than where we lie in the table, but we just weren’t picking the right team and Garde having done just that seems to indicate that us fans were correct.
That in itself should improve us, but if the team are set up properly and know what they’re doing, you’d expect our results to improve.
Squad news then and Everton might have Baines, who’s a player I like immensely, back.
Likewise Tom Cleverley who hasn’t played in ages. What price he gets one against us if he comes on?
The big news for us is of course Amavi being out, but Gestede and perhaps more interestingly, Gabby are both doubtful.
I have to be honest and can’t say I’m overly worried about the forwards not being available.
Gabby needs to seriously up his game or go and we don’t play to suit Gestede.
Which begs the question of where are our goals going to come from?
Everton have a pretty solid defence and I’m not convinced we have the firepower to get past them.
Whereas Everton put 6 past Sunderland and Lukaku is bang on form.
I don’t see Garde going gung-ho for this one and after recent comments, it seems like Grealish might not start, as the manager assessed him has not being good enough in his last few games; an assessment I 100% agree with.
So perhaps a bit less flair then and a bit more guts in the midfield.
Which all makes me think I don’t see many goals, as long as we can keep our flanks tight.
That’s where it’ll be interesting to see who plays at left back.
I know I might be hypocritical, as I don’t rate the player, but Richardson would be my choice. He does at least offer some solidity.
I don’t see many goals in this game and given that this, the most played fixture in English football, sees both teams having won 80 games and having drawn 58, I’m going to go for a draw.
Seeing that I see us struggling to score, I’ll make it a 0-0, with a 1-1 secondary.
If we can bag another one of those elusive points tomorrow, I’ll be ecstatic.
I’ve added a poll because I’m interested to see how confident we are.