Come on Blues, you bad divvies.
After being on a roll that saw players and management talking about trying to go unbeaten until the end of the season, and other such lofty aims, the Toffees apparently peaked against Manchester United and then decided to clock off.
Since then they were absolutely last at Villa Park, where a 3-2 scoreline flattered them completely. Then this weekend just gone – depending when you are reading this – they did actually look competent for long spells at home to Sunderland, but ropy finishing and yet more self-inflicted wounds – they’ve got more than that weirdo from The Manic Street Preachers – allowed the bumbling Black Cats to snatch a couple of crumby deflected goals. Even Danny Graham, who looks more and more like that fella who played the mayor in Spin City every time he surfaces, managed to score for the first time since Labour were in power.
Everton hit the post and the visitors struggled to get out of their half mostly, but that’s because they are relegation-threatened Sunderland.
You really don’t get any gold stars for effort when faced with such overwhelmingly modest opposition – a team we habitually biff all over Goodison Park.
The casual attitude displayed by the Blues since the win against United was encapsulated by an incident right on on half time. With the visitors’ defence ‘creaking’ – they don’t really creak, do they, more shout and moan and spit and stuff, but you get the gist – Everton won a corner. The crowd were on their feet, excited at the prospect of one more attack and possibly a goal at such a crucial juncture. Instead of taking the corner though, Aaron Lennon just loitered near the ball and waited for Leighton Baines to jog over from the far side of the pitch. With perfect comic timing – like the bus driver who pulls away with a hiss of the air brakes just as you collapse against the closing doors, Saveaway flapping in your hand – the referee blew the whistle with Baines only yards away from the flag.
Maybe Lennon was scored of upsetting the fullback, whose comments about penalties in midweek, while meant to be come across as all easygoing and like, whatever man, actually seemed rather pissy if you ‘read between the lines’. Which is another way of saying ‘interpret the way that suits you’. Apparently he was told that it’s important that Romelu Lukaku scores as many goals as possible, because he’s an ‘asset’. I.e. the better his tally, the stronger the case for asking for even more crazy money when he gets sold on. You can debate the pros and cons of that as much as you like – in fairness Lukaku does tend to slot them, even if he took that one against Villa dead weird, in a way that will undoubtedly see him come unstuck at some point if he continues. What it doesn’t explain though is why Baines hasn’t been taking them when the golden goose isn’t actually on the pitch. The conclusion we are jumping to, because we feel like, is that he’s gone all moody girlfriend.
‘No, no, I don’t take them any more. See Roberto, it’s not up to me. Not my decision, I’m just the fucking left-back aren’t I. Fucking scabby-head, me.’
Anyway, Baines is injured now and could miss the remainder of the season, which presents an opportunity for Luke Garbutt and his comedy Tom Cruise run. He struggled when he came on against Sunderland, and you would have thought it was him and not his opponent Adam Johnson who had the Family Enclosure singing ‘Living next door to Aki’ and screaming ‘The screws are going to piss in your tea and your cellmate is going to hit you with a PP9 in a sock’.
It’s West Ham at the weekend, with the joke in the papers being that both sides will either be trying to lose or at least kicking shite out of each other in a bid to not qualify for the Europa League via the ‘fair play route’, surely the most pathetic way of qualifying for any competition.
Do other countries treat the UEFA Cup with such disdain or is it only the money-mad Brits? Some fucker has to win it – usually someone from Spain – do they bleat like motherfuckers about the effect on their league form?
Maybe when England loses its fourth Champions League place McGuffin – effectively the bag of gold from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre – everyone will settle the fuck down, let the same teams who qualify every year just get on with it and actually try to win some actual trophies themselves. Why bother resting players for the Rumbelows Cup when you know there’s absolutely no chance of finishing above Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal?
Actually, while we are talking about livening shit up, why not expand relegation and promotion too? Six down, six up. Promotion play-offs from about halfway. No parachute payments. Have a touch of that.
There certainly wouldn’t be many ‘meaningless’ end of season dead rubbers then. And if you do go down, it might not be the end of the world, because six come up the year after. It would be absolute Thunderdome carnage. And massively boss.
But no one ever listens to us.