Okay, last time I looked at the games coming up I was in a pretty positive mood. We had injured players coming back and were putting some form together. I felt confident that we were turning a corner despite some poor results. From those games we won 11 points from 15, winning three and drawing two. Not bad.
The thing is, things aren’t looking good at the moment. Take those games in isolation and we have won 7 points in the other 10 games we’ve played this season. Yes, I know that we could actually be prioritising the Europa League and putting all our CL eggs in the Europa basket, but that’s a pretty risky strategy to play.
Last night’s Man City game showed that against an under-strength City side we have a lack of quality running throughout the team. We also have those who the ability to dictate games hopelessly off form (Baines and Barkley the main culprits for me). And less about the tactics and team we put out the better.
So – the next 5 games (ignoring the reserves playing Krasnador on Thursday night):
QPR at home (Monday 15th Dec)
What’s that? QPR have lost every game away from home this season? Well Merry Xmas and welcome to Goodison Park!!
I jest of course. At least I hope I do. QPR have got a poor record at Goodison in the past and this should really be a walkover for us. Their best player of recent weeks handily got himself sent off this weekend and so will be missing for this match. I imagine they will put lots of people behind the ball and try and frustrate us whilst ‘Arry tries to grab free kicks for his band of average journeymen like Niko Krankjaer to bend into the top corner.
Prediction: a very nervy 2-0 win (Lukaku and a late individual Kevin Mirrallas goal, mainly as he doesn’t pass much)
Southampton away (Saturday 20th Dec)
Surprisingly this match isn’t on telly, probably due to the fact that our team is from Liverpool but not playing in red. Should be a good encounter.
Last season we lost quite easily 2-0 at Southampton towards the end of the season. By then it seemed like our belief had gone around whether we could get a CL place and we just turned up to lose seemingly.
This game will be very tough and, despite the fact that the Saints have had it tough in the last few weeks I’d unfortunately expect to see them turn us over. Not by too much, and probably by the odd goal in three and due to a unjust penalty decision, but they are just better than us this year.
Stoke at home (Boxing Day)
Oh god. Mark Hughes. One of the most unloved Everton strikers I can remember in living history returns to Goodison, and this time he brings a team that could actually get something from the match. Since I’ve supported Everton you could always expect them to turn over teams like Stoke (or Hull City for example), dispatching them 2 or 3-0 with a flea in their ears. Now I’m not so sure and Hughes is getting his team to have a real go at teams in recent weeks. They beat Arsenal this weekend and really should have taken something from the games away at Liverpool and Man United.
I could genuinely see this being a Boxing Day goalless bore draw, with Jonathan Walters shaving the post being the closest that anyone comes to a winner.
Actually no, that’s too negative. We’ll do ‘em. Easy 1-0. Jonathan Walters own goal.
Newcastle away (Sunday 28th Dec)
Give them and their horrible silver-haired cockney gobshyte manager their due – they have won a load of games recently after a truly terrible start.
This will be a tough game and one that we’ll probably set up defensively for. Probably see Hibbert playing behind Coleman again I imagine. Martinez has tried it once so he’ll try it again, you watch.
Saying that, our record at the Geordies is very good in the last 5 years. 4 wins and one defeat actually. Last season we won 3-0 with a fantastic performance, Barkley scoring an individual wonder-goal.
Can see this being a score-draw. 1-1.
Hull City away (New Years Day)
We really should have spanked Hull City last week but we played like a team that was very tired indeed.
How we do in this game will depend on how we do against Newcastle I think in terms of confidence. It will probably dictate our tactics too and whether we go for it or try and nick a point (something that Martinez would not have considered last season but probably will this year).
Unfortunately I can’t see us getting the win in this match so another draw is my prediction.
Overall Points Haul
Overall over these 5 games (2 at home, 3 away) I have predicted that we’ll get 8 points and actually I’ve been quite generous. We could really do with a lot more and hopefully I’m being a little too negative, and we’ll start by smashing QPR by 7 or 8 goals next weekend. COYB!!!