King of the Holloway Road

Let’s get it out there now. Do we want to win any trophies if they have asterisks by them?

The Blues are clearly going to sweep the board this season. Will their achievements be tainted?

But seriously now.

This has been something of a positive opening, hasn’t it?

Who knew? Get well-better players and you will, well, play better.

What on paper had the potential for a ‘some promising performances from the new boys but two goals from Harry Kane were the difference’ opening day fixture, turned into a big, strutting ‘how-you-like-me-now?’ announcement of the new-look Ancelotti Everton. 

You can clearly see Dominic Calvert-Lewin – CALVERT-FLEWIN MORE LIKE! – mouth ‘what’s our name?’ to big Bobby-off-King-of-the-Hill-head, Eric Dier, after contemptuously crashing through him with the orange-glowing-metal fury of a Stuka dive-bomber to score the header that sealed the much-deserved points for the Well-Hung Warlords of Walton.

As they like to be known.

Allan, replete with his little Frankie Goes to Hollywood muzzy, was everything we hoped for in midfield. Tigerish, almost like a tiger, he looked like he’d been playing in England for years. Except he was good.

Abdoulaye Doucoure we’d seen before for Watford, all effortless energy and liquid limbs, but while his workrate was central to the Blues’ dominant midfield display, he also showed a subtlety and intelligence that complemented his more technical teammates, not least James ‘Nowaitch’ Rodriguez. 

Everyone’s already ‘done their spuds’ about the clean-cut Colombian and this, typically, is being written on the Thursday, on the far side of a Carabao Cup tie. You’ve seen all the compilations, player cams and heard the pundits who never doubted him ever say just how easy he made playing away to Tottenham look. But still, it does no harm to reiterate just how fucking cool a debut that was. 

That one midway in his own half when he flicked it over some bollard’s head as if to say, ‘behave, dickhead’ just made an absolute mockery of the ‘will he be able to cut it in the high octane world of the Premier League?’ merchants.

Did you see him eat an apple at one point in the second half?

He did, he ate an apple.

The assured first touch and the comfort on the ball of these types of players; that quality is cumulative and as they move the ball about the opposing team’s shape begins to twist and buckle and stretch like celluloid over a naked flame. The likes of Richarlison, Andre Gomes and Lucas Digne couldn’t believe their change in fortunes, gambolling into the lush open spaces, joyful and unencumbered, like that dead happy horse who throws his jockey at the first and still finishes the race. 

In that groaning metaphor, the jockey is essentially Alex Iwobi. 

Or any of the rest of the squad who we are, like, so over now.

Many of them turned out on Wednesday against Salford City and, give them their due, they managed to make easy work of it. And so they should, of course, but we’ve seen the Toffees make an absolute balls of the early rounds of the League Cup enough times that there were still calls before the match to, altogether now, ‘just play the fucking best team we’ve never won this fucking thing’.

However, Ancelotti managed to blend enough experience and know-how with youthful nettle-grasping to ensure that the League Two side never really had the sniff of an upset.

Anthony Gordon and Niels Nkounkou down the left certainly made the sort of impression you want from youngsters given their opportunity. Gordon did everything but get the goal his direct running deserved, while the French fullback looks like he has the lot. There’s certainly more to him than just a big lad who can get up and down the line – he got his head up and delivered some great crosses and cute through-balls in yet another dream debut.

Less impressive, sadly, was Moise Kean up front. Everyone wants to see him ‘explode’ and show how the fuck he’s ever got a cap for Italy, but it just doesn’t seem even close to happening for him. It feels like his first touch lets him down that often, that when the ball does stick to him, on the fourth attempt, he’s reluctant to let it go and so tries to do too much. He never seems to be able to ‘play himself in’ with a couple of little lay-offs early on to put some doubt in the defenders’ minds. For the 90 minutes it’s like the ball owes him money.

‘And tell your Ma we want that fuckin’ shirt back.’

He did convert a late penalty after a foul on Gordon, but even that he took weird and then had a dead sour look on his face – even worse than that of Gylffi Sigurdsson who permanently looks like he’s just been told he is captaining the women’s team next week. Seething, but doesn’t want to offend anyone by objecting.

Fleetwood next week and then potentially either West Ham or Hull after that. Hopefully Everton can ‘go deep’ in the competition this year and continue to use it as a platform to give valuable experience to the young players. 

And that’s it, other than to recommend wholeheartedly the Tommy and Hector podcast, as it is just about the funniest thing you will ever hear. It’s Tommy Tiernan and another Irish comedian, Hector Ó hEochagáin – easy for you to say – and a lady called Loretta Blewitt. Every bastard’s doing a podcast now but this one is genuinely marvellous. 

No, actually. Two recommendations this week. La Linea on Netflix – a four part documentary on a mad little Spanish city where all the drugs come in from Morocco. An eye-opener and no mistake.

And like that he was gone.

6 thoughts on “King of the Holloway Road

  1. Saws Tommy Tiernan at “The Phil” just before lockdown – he had the crowd, well some of them, not me, not by a long chalk, singing “We’re gonna win the league,,,,,”

    Gobshite

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