What happened to the days where we used to be able to look at a game and a prediction would involve one of three choices, in win, draw or lose?
They seem so distant and every way I try and look at a game these days, it’s hard to get away from the fact that we’re odds on to lose.
We’ve lost more games than we’ve achieved points and it’s all thoroughly depressing.
Still, Garde’s latest comments made me laugh in a similar way that our magnificent self-deprecating away support no doubt laughed when they read them.
“We will need the perfect game defensively and then we will need to be more threatening in attack.”
(Actually he said “offensively” instead of “in attack”, but I find American English er, offensive when we’re talking British footy. Perhaps I’m being pedantic there, but it doesn’t really matter.)
We all know decent defensive performances are at a premium this season, after all.
Still, I like a bloke with a sense of humour and in fairness, we did reasonably well against Stoke for most of the game, so I suppose it’s not impossible.
But I think Everton are a bit of a different proposition to Stoke.
If you agree that our midfield is a weak point in our side (I know, which area isn’t?), the thought of Ross Barkley having a good game and marauding through the middle practically unchallenged is scary. Best of luck to whoever gets the job of having to try and tie him down.
It’s the midfield that is going to be key for me and I just don’t think we’ll be able to live with theirs.
Perhaps that’s what Garde means when he talks about the defence?
Team news says that forward Arouna Kone is fit after illness and John Stones may be ready for a return after a hamstring problem, on the visitor’s part.
The good news for us is that Jordan Ayew is back and should be nicely rested (if you believe that sort of thing) and hopefully eager to make up for his moment of madness.
Jack Grealish, Carlos Sanchez, Libor Kozak, Adama Traore and Jordan Amavi are all still out.
Given that Ayew will 99% walk straight back into the side, it’ll be interesting to see which of Gestede or Gabby get to play with him. An ideal world says neither, but it’ll be one of them and if Gabby gets dropped, that’ll tell me all I need to know about him.
Not that our attack will be the major concern.
Lukaku will be our worry and if Everton can create in the way they do, I can see him getting at least one.
Will we bring any kids in for this one?
No chance, in my opinion.
Mister pragmatic Garde will bring Richards back in, if his quote about dropping him for not being able to play more than once a week was true.
Bacuna might get dropped, but I doubt it, myself.
Here’s a few facts about the teams;
Villa’s only win in the 10 most recent meetings was a 3-2 home victory in May last season.
Remi Garde’s side are the division’s lowest scorers with 21 goals, including just six in the first half of matches.
Gabriel Agbonlahor has scored seven Premier League goals against Everton, more than against any other opponent.
Roberto Martinez’s side have only won three of their past 13 league matches (W3, D6, L4).
They are on a seven-match unbeaten run in Premier League away fixtures – although five of those were draws.
Their only away defeat all season came at Arsenal in October.
Everton are the division’s fourth-highest scorers with 46 goals in 26 matches.
So a home win looks a bit unlikely doesn’t it?
Roberto Martinez was at the Stoke game and must have went home a happy man.
He’s another one with a sense of humour, as he’s actually commented that he thinks we’re very good starters in games.
I’d take another look at that second stat Rob, me old mate.
I know he always talks up the opposition, but come on.
Still, you have to laugh.
My prediction then and I’m going to agree with Lawro and hope for a 0-2 loss.
But the truth is I worry for us here and if Everton are really up for the game, I can see a good hiding in the offing. And I mean a GOOD hiding.
I have to mention the 74th minute walkout.
Quite simply, I hope it’s a massive success and enough fans walk so the ground looks empty and we get decent coverage in the media.
Which will also mean we’ll still have to be in the game.
If we’re getting soundly beaten, it’ll just take away from the effect.
So my prediction has probably never needed to be more wrong.
I suspect I’m going to severely miss talking about this particular fixture next season.
The most played fixture in English top flight footy isn’t something to be sniffed at, is it?