After the wonderful distraction of the cups, it’s back to the grind with the league competition and seeing Tim Howard in goal once again. Consecutive fixtures of Man City and Chelsea away would usually be seen as games to get what you can, but for Everton it could be an opportunity to show the fight and resolve needed to have a good run until the end of the season. Wednesday night also provides the opportunity to gain confidence going into the League Cup 2nd leg. Any more mistakes from Howard again though and the atmosphere will turn instantly toxic.
It seemed in the 1st leg like Besic had three back pockets: One for Yaya Toure, One for David Silva and one for Kevin De Bruyne. It’s hard to see the latter two having such a quiet game at home but Besic will once again be looking to control the centre of the field and dominate Toure. Toure has shown in recent games against Watford and Arsenal that he can produce a goal from nothing even when he’s not playing well, hopefully again Besic doesn’t give him a chance. Everton were more defensively solid at Goodison bar overcommitting from a corner, as they were against Spurs. Hopefully Martinez has decided a more solid approach is needed, our counter attacking ability will surely be key.
Howard will come back in goal and Kone will be out wide left. It’s the reality that Evertonians have come to expect, no matter how baffling. Apparently Howard offers ‘unique experience’ to the team, star jumping over footballs is certainly unique. Hopefully Cleverley is fit as that might remove Kone from the team but I feel Martinez will be happy enough to go with the Ivorian. The rest of the team picks itself apart from the right back position, with Martinez any number of players could be used in that role but from his comments it appears it won’t at least be John Stones. Oviedo played there in the FA Cup so could feature again.
What it means?
Three points is what we need but there isn’t many harder places to get them, we need to push up the league table and coming out of the game with a positive result is the aim. You would take a draw but we have just beaten them and can beat them again. One important thing to focus on is what it means for the 2nd leg of the League Cup, if we can get a result that would equate to progression to the final, it may give us added confidence when the real thing comes along.
Three positive results in a row gives hope, it could be one of those classic away performances and a memorable victory but we’ve been experts in getting score draws this year and think it could happen again. Hopefully Lukaku is fit and firing ready to bully the Man City centre backs again.