It’s alright, Everton never play well in preseason.
That’s the stock reaction from anyone trying to be all laid back when the Blues get gubbed two weeks from the start of the season. And it’s true, the Toffees are notoriously average in friendlies, but as reassurance it’s kind of a hollow statement. True, Everton rarely impress during preseason, but they often don’t play that great during the actual season either, so, you know, what’s your point?
Still, getting arsed about friendlies is pretty much the preserve of cubicle Kopites and Manchester United supporters. Wouldn’t it be great though if Roberto Martinez came out after this defeat at Prenton Park and instead of his gleaming positivity – giving the impression that a defensive shit-show was the plan all along and will see us right for the season, especially when we are getting bummed by horribly competent Europa League opposition – he puffed out his cheeks and said: ‘I’m shitting it here, to be honest lad. We’ve got to play Arsenal and Chelsea in a few weeks – did you see the kip of that? I think I might have ballsed this right up.’
Well, not great, but funny just to see everyone melt the fuck down.
Everton were missing Romelu Lukaku – or ’28 million pound man, Romelu Lukaku’ as he will be known by Sky Sports News forever more – Seamus Coleman and Kevin Mirallas, and that’s a lot of running-forward-shootiness right there. Still, they took the lead in the opening minutes when Leighton Baines’s low cross evaded Steven ‘I wish I’d never bothered now’ Naismith on the edge of the box. The ball ran to Aiden McGeady, who has to be the most ‘I’m really not sure what to make of this fucker’ player we have had in years, who stroked his shot first time into the bottom corner of the net as if he was playing a training match.
Unfortunately that mentality seemed to infect the rest of the team who got roundly ragged for the rest of a half that saw supposed Toffee-target Nolito score a hat-trick. The winger was unmarked for the first, cracking home a cross from the right wing, while the second was a neat chip over Tim Howard following an absolutely horrific mistake by John Stones. The young defender did that ‘can’t see a forward pass so I’m going to try and dribble past two of them even though there’s no real space’ thing that is normally followed by someone having the decency to hold their hand up and saying, ‘Right, I’ll go in goal for a bit’.
A deflected shot saw Nolito keep the match ball. Presumably he will have to deflate it if he’s going to get it in his hand luggage.
The Toffees face play in Paderborn on Saturday where they will play FC – not to be confused with their snooty cross-town rivals ‘2 Der’.
‘Did he just really say that.’
‘Yeah, I think he did.’