Wednesday night gave me the best sleep of 2018 so far. An 8-point cushion from the bottom three doesn’t sound the snuggest, but the plethora of sides occupying the places between us and the bottom three was enough substance to give my previously perturbing mind a fantastic slumber on Wednesday night. Everton’s 2-1 victory against Leicester City was a great victory all things considered and it was certainly one I didn’t take for granted. The fickleness and shambolic lows of this season has taught me to savour every rare Everton victory, no matter how big or small.
Perhaps much to our own detriment, we never learn. Despite winning only one in our last eight games, I found myself looking up the table, instead of down. Just three-points behind Leicester and four behind Burnley in seventh, dare I say a second consecutive seventh place finish is still more than realistic? Maybe so, however let’s wait and see the damage from this Saturday’s dreaded 17:30pm kick off against Arsenal. Ah, the old BT special. The 17:30pm kick off really isn’t a friend of ours. Do you feel like you’re always watching Everton getting dry pumped on a Saturday evening? You’re probably right. Everton haven’t won a 17:30pm evening kick off since way back on 17th September 2016 in a 3-1 win against Middlesbrough. Since then Everton have lost all four of their 17:30pm evening kick off games, Chelsea (a) 5-0, Swansea (a) 1-0, United (h) 0-2 an Spurs (a) 4-0. Meh.
Worse yet, Arsenal will be looking for vengeance on the back of a woeful defeat away at Swansea. They are are on a high after capturing the impressive Aubameyang and securing the signature of Ozil for a further three seasons. They will no doubt been in a rampant mood. Add to that the fact Everton haven’t won at Arsenal since 1996, I’m already looking on crying this one in.
Early team news suggests the £60m man Aubameyang may be missing through illness, which would give the Blues a boost. Meanwhile it will be a return to the Emirates for Wednesday’s two-goal maestro Theo Walcott. It’s fair to say the former-Gunner has started his Everton career well. With two goals and an assist in his first two games. Despite his display on Wednesday night, nothing could take the limelight away from the returning Seamus Coleman. I could write a whole piece on our favourite Irishman, but it would contain nothing that hasn’t already been said by many others. I was astonished at his performance on Wednesday after such a long spell out. He seemed relentless, solid and a constant threat. Not only was his performance dazzling, but the impact on those around him was evident to. To put it simply, we love him more than any other. Welcome back Seamus.
Whether Coleman will be given another run out so soon after Wednesday’s game is uncertain, however we may see a first start for new loanee Mangala. Watching City fans celebrate his departure never fills you with hope, then add to that your preconceptions, which are that he is a bit shite, then it’s hard to get overwhelmingly excited about this one. However, when you’ve watched an average (I use that term with caution) right-back try and play at left-back for so long, it’s fair to say we’re grateful for any addition in that area at this stage. Tosun was left on the bench on Wednesday amidst rumours of poor training…. Here we go again *eye roll*. I’m hoping he can get a run out this weekend and maybe get a goal, or I do fear we might have another dud on our hands.
Saturday will be a tough game, no doubt about it. I am not expecting a result. However, I’ve expected results many a time this season and we’ve gone on to be comfortably beaten. So, if I expect nothing from Saturday, then we will most likely win, that’s how it works? Right guys? Guys? Hello?…