So John Terry is no longer England captain. I can’t too worked up about the story that has lead to his demise. I don’t really care what happens to Terry, I always thought he was an unimpressive, sly, unprincipled little kn*bhead as seen in his past antics. This latest episode just adds grist to the mill.
It’s the same old story before every major tournament the press seem intent on finding some story to derail or disrupt the squad’s preparation be it Sven and Ulrika Johnson, Sven and “Fake Sheikh” Gazza’s Dentist Chair or now this. However, it never ever stops them from changing their spots once the event kicks off and trying to tap into the mood and lead the national clamour to “get behind our boys”. If the England team and the FA were a person it would be a cripple, it’s shot itself in the foot so many times. On this evidence Jamie Carragher is best off out of it!
To us and I guess we’ve had it reasonably easy recently in terms of the league fixture list. No disrespect to those teams who we’ve played as some have more than given us a good fight, but you would expect us, if we were playing semi decently, to beat the likes of Bolton, Wolves, Wigan and probably, as it was a home game, Spurs.
However February brings sterner tests in shape of Everton today, Arsenal on Wednesday, and Manchester City in two Sundays time. We also begin our UEFA Cup campaign. If we make progress in this tournament it might assume more significance, but it is the league that holds all the attention at present. Has our recent form suggested we have recovered sufficiently to be able to win our next three games? I’ll just cop out on this one and say “discuss” or “we shall see”.
I guess if we do well in these games there will be more convincing signs, than many feel we are showing at present, to suggest that we are improving. Many, including Rafa the other day, have suggested that it will mean we have turned a corner. However, we appear to have turned so many fake corners this season that we are in danger of becoming dizzy! With elimination from three cups, and the Premiership title nothing but a distant ship smoke on the horizon, perhaps it’s too late to start talking about turning corners? Perhaps it’s more relevant to keep on going straight ahead and keep our eyes on the road. Are we in top gear yet and strong enough to resist the road side muggings? I’ll just sit on the fence again because quite simply I’ve no idea. I might as well toss a coin!
A win today will see us, for an hour or so at least, in forth place. Tangible proof that we are on the mend? However, instead of looking forward towards Arsenal we will still be glancing over our shoulder in the direction of Spurs and City. The latter is especially worrying as they have games in hand making our clash today and the one at City’s place later in the month even more vital. Said Rafa.
“We want to make sure we get back into the top four and this is the first opportunity to try and do that. Our aim is to keep the players playing with more confidence. After Everton, we have Arsenal and that will be another big challenge. But it will be much easier if we have got the right result against Everton and another three points.”
And the match? I guess the result is more important than the performance these days? It will offer nothing that we haven’t been through before. Both sides know each well and where their strengths and weaknesses are. Rafa is under no illusions
“When you play against your nearest rival, it is always important you win but it is all the more vital, as we are in a position where we cannot lose points.”
Frankly it’s not the sort of match we would want at this stage of the season but here it is and hopefully we can show the same spirit personified by Steven Gerrard’s pre match talk at Goodison. Prediction? A fractious, ugly affair that we will just edge 2-1.
Enjoy the game and your weekend.
November 2009: Everton 0 Liverpool 2