Stevenage Preview

Right then, first thing’s first. Own up.

Come on, we’re not going on until you do.

One of you knows who it was.

According to the admin tools of this here website, someone has been entering its address into some sort of web analytics site which creates a link entitled ‘analysing competition’.

Competition, eh?

Well, take this as a warning shot across your bows, if indeed you have any bows, we are not going to surrender this much-sought-after market segment without one heck of a struggle, daddio. We’re planting a flag in our tranche of the ‘read the official site and all the papers’ reports and the proper supporters ones as well that rate players out of 10 and all that and I’ve still got 20 minutes left until my next ciggy break, let’s see what sort of cranky bollocks that dickhead has put on there, if indeed it’s even been updated, with any luck it will be something that slightly aggravates me by not confirming my existing opinions’ pie, and you will take it over our dead bodies – or when we just get fed up and jib it on a whim. Whatever comes first.

Consider that the sheepy mitten thrown down.

We couldn’t find a real gauntlet.

Now, ordinarily it would make sense to write an absolute humdinger of a preview from here on in, to hammer home the point that we’ve well and truly got our literary dander up. Despite not knowing what a ‘dander’ actually is.

That might not happen though.

First off anyway, let’s go back and see what we said about Stevenage after the Capital One Cup game at Goodison earlier in the season.

Right, are you back? Did you read it all? We’re going to be discussing it here so if you never, go back and take it all in. The more you put in, the more you will get out.

Honestly, you people.

Anyway, things have certainly moved on since that encounter with Stevenage, with the goalscoring face-saver Marouane Fellaini joining the Old Trafford fúck de clustier and Everton settling into their passing style to the point where it is not the ongoing divisive, philosophical debating point that we predicted. There are times when the Blues don’t play well, but everyone seems to be pretty much agreed now that it’s when the Roberto Martinez plan isn’t executed correctly and, crucially, not a fundamental flaw in the blueprint itself.

What? You can’t have a ‘project’ without a ‘blueprint’, everyone knows that. Everyone in the ‘group’, anyway.

Stevenage manager Graham Westley has been attempting some cut-price mind games this week, suggesting that Martinez would be mad to play his first choice team ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Psychoville, and also stating that the Toffees can expect a bizarre environment at the seven thousand capacity Broadhall Way.

How bizarre can it possibly be? Are Westley and his players going to simulate a really bad drug episode from 1970s cinema by wearing oversized animal heads, laughing maniacally and looming in and out of focus during the warm up? It’s happened before.

Talking of drugs on screen, this century’s ‘jumping the shark’, the moment when a television series announces it is creatively bankrupt, should be the episode when some uptight character inadvertently eats ‘special cookies’ and says ‘Mmm, what’s in these, they’re gorgeous. Is it cinnamon?’ while their housemate looks on horrified and replies, ‘N-o-o-o-o-o-t exactly….’

The only exception to this rule is the Operation Goodguys Christmas special when they use bags of confiscated ‘special snow’ during their increasingly agitated pantomime.

While we’re on the subject of the telly, have you noticed that when anyone is meant to be drinking a cup of tea or coffee it’s always empty? Do they forget to CGI the liquid in?

And when will girls ever learn that if they get in a pickup truck with a college sports star after the prom, especially one who is swigging from a hip flask, the night’s going to end up with a ripped dress and a chase through a cornfield?

So anyway, Seamus Coleman’s injury isn’t thought to be serious and he could be back for the derby. And as a shout out to all the dads out there, ‘What, did you get kicked in the head, lad?’ Because that’s what they would say if you told them that you had a ‘soft tissue injury’.

In other news, the Blues have been courting a bit of controversy this week, starting with Romelu Lukaku standing up for Nicolas Anelka in the wake of the French striker’s quenelle celebration and subsequent ban. To be honest, there has been very little genuine criticism of Lukaku seeing as Everton took the offending interview off their website straight away and everyone could see it was a comment he made in defence of his mate when asked directly about whether he should be punished. No one really thinks that Lukaku has given much, if any, thought to the nuances of French race relations and the cultural hot pomme de terre that is this weirdo salute.

And if all that wasn’t enough, the club has been fined £45,000 for making an illegal approach to some young centre-half at Nottingham Forest back in 2010. As efforts at tapping up go it was clearly a rubbish one as he is still at the City Ground. In fact, he actually had a loan spell at Stevenage in 2012. See, it’s not just all random this, there is some skilful weaving of threads going on in the background.

That’s pretty much the lot, really. There was some talk of the loan deal for Lacina Traore perhaps failing to go through because of the cruciate injury to Monaco’s main striker, Radamel Falcao, but Martinez seems to think that won’t be the case. Why the lofty forward hasn’t signed then isn’t clear, as he has received clearance to play over here and everything. This is definitely feeling more like a proper Everton transfer window.

Talking of transfers, could you believe paper-faced joy extinguisher Arsene Wenger saying that it’s not fair that Chelsea are selling Juan Mata to United now that they have played them twice already? Do people really think that José Mourinho is really that Machiavellian? If you boil down what Wenger said, he’s suggesting that adding Mata to that almighty mess at United could be enough to swing the league game at the Emirates in their favour, costing Arsenal points that could be crucial in their battle for league placings with Chelsea. That’s pretty specific, as paranoid witterings go.

If it does prove to be prophetic though, Wenger will no doubt choose to gloss over the fact that his side is the only vaguely decent one to lose to a Tom Cleverly-inspired, Mata-less United already this season.

Analyse that.

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