WHICH TURN WILL WE MAKE? THE CROSSROAD OF OUR SEASON/ EVERTON AWAY
It could be the most important game of our season, this away match against Everton. The form table says that in the last 6 premiership matches only City have collected more points than us (18 pts to our 16 pts) and only City have conceded fewer goals than us (1 goal to our 3). We are very much an in-form team but I must hasten to add that 4 of those 6 matches were home games in which we collected maximum points. We won one and drew the other (against the Spuds) in the two away matches. It could be argued that our present form has been unduly coloured by the home form which has been excellent all season. Or is there something else to suggest that we might have turned the corner as far as our away form is concerned?
The answer will be provided in the coming match against Everton. If we win it, it will be a big announcement that our form has become more than just home based and we might as well begin to celebrate our return to Champions League football. And me thinks we will win it.
In the 1st 10 games of the season we collected 22 pts. Not bad at all particularly for a team trying to come to grips with the philosophy and methods of a new coach. If truth be told, however, we had the rub of the green very much in many of those matches. Not that we cared.
In the 2nd 10 games of the season, with mother luck quite indifferent to proceedings, we gathered only mid-tablesque 16 pts.
In the 3rd 10 games, with our squad getting more and more at home with Emery’s tactics we again made 22 pts, and this time they were well earned.
We are now in the home stretch. Three points already in the bag, 7 games to go and, more than ever, Emery and his team seem to be on the same page. That is why I believe our current form is for real and why I think we will leavc Goodison Park with the 3 pts. But this is the premier league where you never count your chickens before they’re hatched.
Everton like to stretch the field. That suits Emery to fit in his best available players; Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles and Aubamayang our pace merchants, Lacazette and Ramsey sweat merchants, Ozil the creative genius and young Douzi full of precocious forward passes in place of doubtful Xhaka.
This front sextet have goals in them more so when they know that behind them is a defence, believe this, that has suddenly gone very mean. Our current player of the month, keeper Leno, was called to duty only once against the Benitez boys. Koscielny remains a doubt so expect the same back three that played against Newcastle to start.
Everton have arguably the premier league’s best left back in Digne. They have the outstanding holding midfielder Gueye, the immaculate Sigurdsson and the prolific Richarlison – the latter two with 12 goals each. Thanks to Everton’s big club mentality as well as the expansive football philosophy of coach Marco Silva, this is a match the neutrals are going to enjoy. As for the non-neutrals, we should get ready for a nail biting encounter as play swings from end to end.
You already can guess my prediction of the starting eleven:-
Bench: Cech, Lichsteiner, Elneny, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Suarez, Nketiah.
Currently we are 4th on the table with a game in hand. Finishing 3rd this season is still in our hands. We can’t let it go.