The big talking point here has to be the fact that Emiliano Buendia and Emi Martinez won’t be arriving in the UK until some time tomorrow morning.
Surprisingly, (to me anyway) the flight time from Croatia is only just over two hours so it’s not exactly long haul, but when you combine it with the usual couple of hours in the airport, the arrival at Brum and then the drive to Bodymoor Heath, you’re probably talking around five hours easily. So it’s not exactly ideal preparation for a top level game is it?
I’d be surprised if they got to play and particularly so if Buendia starts.
I like compromise and was glad that we’d agreed to let the players go to the qualifiers, but this has proved to be an unmitigated disaster and I’d wager the players themselves won’t be so keen to go next time. Buendia especially must be at least a bit miffed that he wasn’t even involved at all.
Otherwise, nothing has changed. Trezeguet and Davis are still out and Chukwuemeka and Philogene-Bidace haven’t trained yet since being injured while representing England.
Everyone else is available, which is an improvement on the first couple of weeks.
As for Everton, Calvert-Lewin is out with a thigh injury, as is hissing Delph, who has a shoulder problem.
James Rodriguez has trained well, so could feature, as could Andre Gomes, who’s appearance halfway through the game against Burnley helped totally changed things.
Interestingly, Benitez went with three defenders on Monday, which leaves a guessing game as to if he’ll do the same against us. If so, it’s pleasing to know that we can also do it and certainly we did okay against Chelsea, even if I don’t think it’s ideal with the players we have.
I think the key to this game might well be who gets up to speed first.
Pleasingly, we’ve improved our sharpness with every game and I didn’t feel there was much lacking fitness-wise last week. You’d have to expect we’re pretty much up to speed now.
We concede too many goals lately, while Everton have scored ten in 4 games.
You have to expect that they’ll score then and I’m going to take them to score at least one.
Which begs the question how many do I think we can score?
I’m happy to think that if we play Ings and Watkins up front we can score, although Ings has to get more involved than last week, that’s for sure. His stats were shocking, but I’m going to look at that as a one-off.
I think we can beat them 2-1, but I don’t feel we could beat them 3-2. It’s one of those “I can feel it in my water” jobs, that’s all.
I’m going for that 2-1 to us.
Worryingly, Lawro thinks the same.
A nice three points it is then.