Filed: Thursday, 20th April 2017
By: Preview Percy
What does Ross Barkley have in common with Professor Stephen Hawking? More than you might think actually. They both feature in Preview Percy's look at this weekend's visit of Everton for a start. And, well, that's it really......
Next up we play host to Everton. 3pm Saturday kick-off at the Olympic. Light cloud and an anticipated high of 15 degrees (66.2 degrees in real temperatures). Slight chance of a mid-morning shower. Now I have a piece of news that might rightly be regarded as earth-shattering.
It is this: there are no engineering works between Liverpool Street and points east on Greater Anglia this weekend. Well not until you get as far as Ipswich anyway. Amazing isn’t it? I mean we are at home and they are thinking of running a train service. I mean don’t go shouting about it or they will realise it’s an admin error or something and start digging the tracks up again.
So Everton. Bit of a bogey team over the years. We have had the odd blip in our favour here and there – beating them on penalties in the Cup in the famous Adrian “gloves off” match and last year’s comeback from 2-0 down up on their patch leap to mind. However more often than not they have had the edge – even when we have clearly been the better side.
They currently lie in 7th spot with 57 points from 33 games. They’re not exactly looking over their shoulders, having as they do a 13 point cushion over West Brom in 8th place. Looking up they are just behind Arsenal in 6th on goal difference though they have played two more matches. Both are three points shy of the Thursday Night League qualification spot occupied by the Salford Moaners who seem to have twigged that winning the Thursday Night League might just be their best way of qualifying for the So Called Champions League.
As usual the criteria for European qualification seems to have been put together using some of the more fanciful equations used by Stephen Hawking to prove the existence of Richard Dawkins but from Everton’s point of view they are in with a shout of some foreign travel next season, though our experience suggests that that may be more hassle than it ends up being worth.
It’s been an eventful week or two in the Goodison area. There was already some ongoing debate about the progress made by Ross Barkley in recent years. Then he went out and got himself decked in an unprovoked attack which Merseyplod are apparently investigating. This prompted Sun ex-editor and columnist Kelvin MacKenzie to weigh in with his two pennorth-worth likening the part-Nigerian Barkley to a “Gorilla” and suggesting that the Barkley is one of the country’s dimmest footballers.
The graphics department helpfully published a photo of Barkley next to a gorilla (I presume there were captions for the hard of thinking to explain which was which) and enquired as to whether the player was the missing link. Both the Sun and MacKenzie denied having knowledge of Barkley’s racial background.
Now Barkley may well be not exactly the sharpest tool in the box – let’s face it professional footballers on the whole probably aren’t over-represented in the MENSA membership registers. But MacKenzie might want to ponder the definition of the word dim and ask himself the question as to which of them which one of them was “dim” enough to publish something so stupid that they have been suspended from their job pending an investigation. For the Sun readers amongst you the clue is it wasn’t Barkley.
The work experience girl wearing the Cult t-shirt without knowing who they are tells me they brought in just the two players during the last window. The big money (£20m plus another £4m in potential add-ons) went on Morgan Schneiderlin who was out of favour, never having quite managed to get in favour at Old Trafford. He had fallen so far down the pecking order that France initially blanked him for last summer’s Euros and, although injuries did see him called up to the squad, he failed to make an appearance in the tournament.
A “mere” £7.5m was required to prise Ademola Lookman from Charlton. Lookman’s surname sounds a bit Geordie though he is in fact from Wandsworth. The 19 year-old has England honours at U18 and U19 level thus far in his career and he turned down flat an invitation from the Nigerian FA to switch allegiance to the country of his parents’ ancestry. He made his mark on his debut against Man City, sticking away the final goal in the Toffees’ 4-0 demolition of the Citizens.
Up front they will be able to call on the services of Romelu Lukaku who has scored in so many consecutive matches against us for them that the odds on him not scoring down at Winstone’s the Turf Accountant are identically astronomical to those of Mike Dean getting through a live tv match without deliberately doing something controversial. I did check the injury list in the hope that he might have some embarrassing rash or something that might need to have him quarantined from the rest of the squad but sadly for us he is fit enough to continue his run.
Defender Phil Jagielka has scored three in his last three. However he will be forever remembered around these parts for that handball for Sheffield United against Wigan in 2007 that (it says here following extensive editing by our lawyers) was in no way shape or form deliberate. It was just coincidence that he put his hand up to stop a ball that was going nowhere near an opponent to produce a scoreline that would have seen both teams stay up at our expense had we rolled over and lost.
They will of course be without Seamus Coleman whose horrible injury in the recent Republic of Ireland v Wales qualifier the other week was so bad that even Sky wouldn’t show the replay. Bizzarely the usual injury listing site shows Coleman as being a “major doubt” for the weekend. Really? Better hurry up with that plaster then Seamus. Seriously though, one’s best wishes go to him of course, though I can’t quite bring myself to send the same sort of greeting to McCarthy whose hamstring problem can be attributed to the football gods as payback for the Payet assault last season. Even if it was Payet.
Elsewehere I see that Captain. Racist. Twat. John Terry is to leave Abrahamovic’s money laundering operation. Some have linked him with a move to us. No thanks. Others have suggested he might go to China or the US. Here at the Avran Grant Olympic Rest Home For the Bewildered we think he will sign for a club in the English Defence League or, alternatively, replace Kelvin MacKenzie as a Sun columnist.
Us? Well I am waiting for an explanation of how their first equaliser was allowed to stand last week. Anichebe was so all over Randolph that the ‘keeper required a pregnancy test post-match. Probably. The goal represented a dreadful but all-too-common dereliction of duty from the match officials. Time and time again we hear how officials need to be protected but from what exactly? I mean it’s a different kettle of fish at amateur level but I don’t recall too many instances of top level referees ever being on the end of violence (notwithstanding Alcock’s comedy performance in the sitcom “Paul and Paolo”).
As usual there were a number of games this weekend where goals were allowed due to the failure of officials to apply the laws that they are paid to apply. (Mike Dean now does this so often that nobody notices anymore). And the consequences of these errors for those responsible? Nothing. You don’t believe me? Well consider this then: three times as many people have walked on the moon as have been permanently demoted from the Select Group. The authorities have spent so much time falling for the lie perpetuated by PGMOL that referees need “protection” that it is now virtually impossible to get rid of a useless ref unless he does something really stupid like leaving early in his own car to go and see Ed Sheerhan.
That said we took the foot off the gas twice and got what we deserved. Byram’s red resulted from two yellows the first of which should have been given to Anichebe for diving. Meanwhile Cattermole, who picked up a yellow on 37 seconds proceeded to kick and trip his way through the game without further punishment. Yet again Marriner will escape any punishment from his ineptitude whilst we get punished by missing a player in an already worrying position for us.
The big question mark surrounds Darren Randolph whose form of late has been less than inspiring. For the second goal he came so far they charged him excess on his Oyster card. He doesn’t seem at his most confident and with Jagielka in goal-machine type form in penalty areas lacking a dominant ‘keeper at the moment I would be a bit concerned that his understandable lack of confidence might prove costly.
Slav was quick to defend Randolph with his “we win or lose as a team” statement at the weekend and many took this as a sign that Randolph might keep his place for this weekend. I’m not so sure – I took the comments as an admirable refusal to single out one particular player for criticism. Internally Bilic will have his own thoughts on Randolph’s form which has been a worry for a while now and I would not be in the slightest bit surprised to see Adrian come into the side.
On the injury front we are approaching the date listed for a return for Winston Reid – he has been training and is slated for a much-welcome return. Then there’s the Sakho affair. It’s been suggested that the player refused to go to Sunderland to sit on the bench last weekend. This has been denied by all and Sakho is said to be ready to go on Saturday.
Which is just as well as Andy Carroll is injured. A thigh problem we hear. That noise you can hear is best described as a “resigned sigh”. Further comment is superfluous.
So prediction then. Easy this week. They’re in good fettle. We aren’t. Lukaku will score against us because he usually does. Sorry but the £2.50 I managed to rescue from club cash before the terms and conditions changed will be going on an away win – stick me down for 3-1 to them then Mr Winstone.
Enjoy the game!
When Last We Met At The Boleyn: Drew 1-1 (Premier League November 2015)
Aided by some of the most spineless refereeing ever seen outside of the Jellyfish Premier League, Everton proceeded to kick us off the park. McCarthy’s disgraceful scissors tackle on Payet put him out for 3 months whilst a whole catalogue of cynical challenges went unpunished by anything stronger than a free-kick. Lanzini opened the scoring. You don’t really have to ask who got the equaliser.
Referee: Roger East – this was the joker who told Vardy off for diving but somehow forgot to book him in the recent league match v Leicester. Could we have Buzz Aldrin instead please.
Danger Man: You reallydon’t have to ask that either.
Percy’s Poser: Last week we asked you what was unusual about the transfer of Ivor Broadis from Carlisle to Sunderland in 1949. A tip of the hat to Mrs Mavis Soft-Brexit (no relation) of Writtle who informs us: “Ivor Broadis can have no complaints over the Carlisle manager wanting to get rid of him as, he himself held that position at the time” Yes Broadis effectively transferred himself, which must have led to some interesting fee negotiations back then. Mrs Soft-Brexit wins a copy of “1,001 things to do in Monkwearmouth” which will be published as soon as an author who hasn’t already lost the will to live can be found.
For this week’s poser we ask you: what is it that Everton were allegedly the first to do in the 1880s that every club now does as a matter of routine? First correct answer out of the had wins a kumb cash credit of £500, amounts to be credited at 11:59pm on 31 August. Expiry date 1 September.
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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