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Everton v West Ham United

Filed: Friday, 14th September 2018
By: Preview Percy

The international break came at the right time for Preview Percy - mainly because we probably wouldn't have been able to print what he would have written straight after the Wolves match. Let's hope things improve at Everton as there's only 6 days to the next match after this one.....

And so after the international break we return to the day to day bread & butter of league football where we will be away to Everton. It’s a Sunday match with a traveller-unfriendly 4pm kick-off. Trains up there should be ok but they are working on the Southend Victoria line into Liverpool Street should that be your particular mode of conveyance. Replacement bus services and all that. Check before you leave etc.

So Everton then. They dispensed with a certain Mr Allardyce towards the end of last season and then called in Marco Silva who himself had been dismissed by Watford in January following “unwelcome” overtures made to his former employers by an unnamed club. Or “Everton” as they are known. The breaking news is that only 10 months after the approach is supposed to have been made the authorities have decided to look into it. I don’t think the Toffeemen have anything to worry about though. Their neighbours in the red half of the city haven’t been involved in an honest transfer since the early 1900’s and they seem to be immune from punishment so a solitary 10 month old offence will hardly be a priority.

Silva’s first job was to take his new charges to an Austrian village called Irdning which, although being such a small dot on the map I tried to flick it off the paper in the mistaken belief it was a small dead insect of some sorts, has in recent years become quite popular amongst professional football clubs as a training camp. Daisy, the work experience girl with the beautiful smile, informs me that they even provided the world with a Pope back in the 1400s though even I wasn’t around for that one. Anyway poor old Pius II is now less famous than the village football XI whose 15 minutes of glory came in Silva’s first game in charge, as Everton quite literally strolled their way to a 22-0 win. The result prompted a wry comment from Matron that the plucky Austrians had it “all to do in the second leg” before we threw things at her and told her to stop. I understand that the goals are available for all to see on the internet – the funniest one being the one where the ‘keeper, clearly cheesed off with the whole thing, simply stepped to one side and allowed his opponent to walk past him to score. Meanwhile if things are going pear shaped on Sunday and you can’t quite work out what they are chanting, it will probably something of the order of “Are You Irdning In Disguise?”

Silva’s most important move of the summer was, as often happens, to go back to his old drum to pick up a player. That he did so barely caused a ripple until it was discovered that a) the player was Richarleson and b) the fee was £50m. Ok, Daisy the work experience girl with the beautiful smile points out that the fee was actually £35m potentially rising to £50m with add-ons. However £35m is still an eye-watering amount for a player who, although clearly a Silva favourite (he was an ever present last term) didn’t figure high on anyone’s list of players who made a major impact in 2017-18. Even in Herts. So it’s probably as well that the player hit the ground running as it were. A brace in the season opening 2-2 draw against Wolves was followed-up with what turned out to be the winner against Southampton. However, he then earned himself a few weeks off for sticking the nut in on Bournemouth’s Adam Smith, presumably as a result of a disagreement over the nature of the “invisible hand” doctrine in the latter’s seminal work of 1776 generally referred to as The Wealth Of Nations. This means he will be missing presumed suspended this weekend. Free time that he will, no doubt be spending in giving Thomas Malthus a good kicking over some of the more depressing conclusions of his Essay On The Principle Of Population. This may be just as well – Richarleson netted twice on his full debut for Brazil in midweek which suggests a good vein of form.

A further £27m went to Barcelona in return for the services of Yerry Mina. Or that’s the theory anyway. The central defender has yet to make his debut following the move due to a foot injury which seems to have assumed “niggling to persistent” proportions on the scale of things.

Mina featured in the Colombia squad in the World Cup which feels like it took place a lifetime ago and was thought highly enough of by those people within FIFA who could be bothered to take time out from counting the contents of brown envelopes to have featured in the nominations for the “World Team Of The Year” which, apparently, is a thing.

Barca did ok out of Everton this summer. A further £18m went to Catalonia in return for French left-back Lucas Digne. whose signing prompted a “tattoo controversy” which, depressingly, is also a thing. Apparently. It seems the defender has “I Never Walk Alone” inked across his chest, which it was suggested was some sort of link to the Toffeemen’s neighbours. In fact it was apparently a reference to a necklace bearing those words bought for the player by his parents when he was a kid. The player played down any connection with the divers pointing out that he had turned them down twice in the past. So that’s alright then. Digne didn’t make the final cut for the World Cup though he was in the standby squad.

The third arrival from Barcelona was Portuguese midfielder Andre Gomes. Gomes is on loan for the season by which time they hope that the hamstring problem that he had even before the move had taken place might have healed up. Although he featured in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, and was included in the provisional Portuguese squad for the World Cup, like Digne he got the “thanks but no thanks” call before the tournament and therefore was able to spend the summer playing “can you spot Harry Kane?” on the box with the rest of us.

Talking of loans they also have Kurt Zouma in on loan from Chelsea who, Daisy the work-experience girl with the beautiful smile informs me, now have no fewer than 40 players scattered across 10 different countries of the globe on loan. Those Abrahamovic billions must be sparkling by now so thoroughly have they been laundered. At the time of writing, Zouma has made as many combined league starts on loan for Saint Etienne, Stoke and now Everton as he has made for Chelsea since he arrived there from Saint Etienne back in 2014.

It appears that theirs is one of the more crowded physiorooms in the country at present. With 11 players on the list they top that particularly unwelcome table. The “definitely out at the time of writing” list comprises the rather unlucky Seamus Coleman (fractured foot), Phil Jagielka (Cartilage), Michael Keane (fractured skull), the aforementioned Gomes (hamstring), the aforementioned Mina (foot), and James McCarthy (broken leg – ironically but in no way particularly tragically). The next tier of pain is described as “major doubt” and includes Calvert-Lewin (“knock” whatever that means) and Theo Walcott (ribs). Bernard (muscle) and the oddly-named Baningime (ankle) are listed as being “slight doubts” (i.e. we’ve got a lot of players out so we’ll toss a coin on the morning of the match if we’re struggling for numbers).

So what of the last couple of weeks since we last met. Well England have reverted from stumbling through the World Cup back to stumbling through other tournaments. This time we have the Nations League which seems to have been designed for a laugh to see how far it would get down the line of implementation before anyone at UEFA twigged the joke. Harry Kane got some stick for wearing gold boots in the Spain match. A trifle unfair in my opinion. After all the only time we could spot him on the pitch in Russia was when we got a penalty so anything that helps with the “where’s (the) Wally” type game supporters now have to play to spot their captain is only to be welcomed in my opinion. The Switzerland match actually contained a piece of commentary that was gobsmacking even by the particularly poor standards of broadcasting that we have become used to in recent years. Sky, who seem to have won the contract to take over as house broadcaster and propaganda outlet for Liverpool, actually allowed a comment to the effect that “Jordan Henderson had a fine World Cup” to go out on air without challenge. Must have been a different Henderson that I saw giving the ball away so much then. Even Klopp isn’t picking him as first choice these days.

Then there has been the latest spat between our beloved club and the stadium operators who would do well to consider that without the amount of rent they take off us for renting the damned place they would have an even bigger white elephant on their hands. In fact financially speaking in the long term they would probably be better off paying us £30m to take the place off their hands so we can turn the place into a football ground. “Aha” I hear you say “why should they cough up public money for such a thing?” To which I respond “well Spurs were effectively given £30m to fund the infrastructure costs of their new place. In fact they threatened to move elsewhere unless that funding was granted! In the meantime if E20 still want to own a stadium they should act in accordance with the lease terms rather than trying to wriggle out of everything, a practice honed to fine perfection by the owners here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered.

Ok I suppose I’d better talk about football. That defending in the 90-somethingth minute against Wolves was little short of criminal. It was coming though. Time and time again Sanchez looked up only to find himself with fewer options than the food menu at the Swan & Superinjunction (whatever you order is off). It was inevitable that he would get caught in possession eventually – it was just a matter of whether we could get to the final whistle and put it off for a couple of weeks. Wolves was an odd match. We got the proverbial bright start but then sat back as if the start was something to be pleased about. Then, having ceded the momentum, the confidence gained from the start disappeared faster than Harry Kane in an England international.

Our own injury list has grown a bit since I started to write this. The muscle injury that prompted Arthur’s late withdrawal from the Wolves match is shown as a “slight doubt”. Wilshire (ankle) is a definite non-starter whilst Chicharito hasn’t trained this week having picked up some sort of virus. Of the long-termers, Lanzini has returned to the UK after a spell in Barcelona having work done on the knee. Carroll now shows up with an expected return date of 1 December whilst Reid is looking at some time in the new year before becoming available.

The depression brought on by the late goal against Wolves should colour my prediction of this game. And yet…. Surely Pellegrini must, by process of elimination alone, be getting close to working out what his best starting line-up is from those available? And that injury list for the home side isn’t great is it. And this season’s bright spark is suspended. Surely there must be a crumb or two in all that lot somewhere, even if the Sunday kick-off is might push one or two of the “slight doubts” into the “available for selection” column.

I’m going to go all optimistic on this occasion. I actually think a win is possible (though bear in mind I do live in a Home for the Bewildered) but my inbuilt cautious streak suggests that a draw may be more on the cards so the £2.50 I was going to send to Lloris to help pay his fine will, instead be invested via the Winstone Turf Accountancy App (When The Fun Stops You’re probably watching an England match) on a 2-2 draw thus starting the initial cessation of the rot.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At Goodison Park: Lost 4-0 (Premier League November 2017)

Spud face put them 2-0 up in the first half, the first goal coming from a rebound off a penalty given against Joe Hart despite him clearly taking the ball. For the first period of the second half we dominated and were given a spot kick of our own. Lanzini’s weak effort being saved by Pickford was the turning point and it was downhill all the way. Spud face completed his hat-trick from long distance after Hart made a mess of a clearance and Williams completed the rout late on. The match was the final game as caretaker manager by Unsworth who was replaced by Allardyce who watched this one from the stand.

Danger Man Gylfi Sigurdsson

Gifted, which obviously put him well down the list of favourites of the management during the Allardyce regime. One of the more creative elements present at Goodison.

Referee: Martin Atkinson

This will be the first of probably a dozen games of ours this season that he will handle, if past seasons are anything to go by. I guess they are saving Dean for next weekend.

Percy’s Poser

Last time we asked you to fill in the missing word(s) from the the following headline from The Wolverhampton Express & Star:

Danger warning as thousands of fake XXXXXXXXX seized in Wolverhampton

Congratulations to Dame Sybil Thorndyke (no relation) of Mucking for enhancing our knowledge by providing the single word answer: “Squishies”. I would have asked Dame Sybil to clarify what a squishy actually is, but doing so would imply that, in some way shape or form, I actually care. Which I don’t.

For this week’s poser we return to the hilariously awful Liverpool Daily Echo and ask you to complete the following headline:

Meet the Liverpool Mum who says she is changing the face of XXX-XXXXXXX in our city

Something jolly nice to the person supplying the first correct answer out of the digital hat. I expect.

Good luck everyone!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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