So what do we expect now? We didn’t come close to the reaction required in the league after the Hull defeat when we scraped a draw against Sunderland. That game was absolute dross, our first clear chance came after about 80 minutes and there was no urgency in the side until we conceded. There wasn’t a massive amount we could have done about a strike like that, but it was a game against a side that had only won one game at home this season. We shouldn’t have been in the position where we could get sucker punched like that. Sunderland did play deeper than just about any side I can remember us playing away from home, but it’s not like they were the first team to ever play like that against us and they caught us unawares with their ‘crafty’ tactics. Sit Fabregas and van Persie on the edge of the area having long shots, whatever, as long as it puts pressure on them. Instead, we camped in their half and misplaced passes all over the place, and looked vulnerable on the counter against a team that had pretty much no willingness to attack. That match should have been where the side stood up and proved the Hull result was a blip, instead they meandered through a dismal 90 minutes with no real willingness to win.
We’ve made nowhere near enough of a relatively easy start, and now the games come thicker, faster and harder. We have nine games in the next month, with no mid week gaps. It will certainly put our paper thin squad to the test. The defence is conceding simple goals, the midfield is looking a bit weak, Adebayor hasn’t quite managed to carry on where he left off last season, and van Persie isn’t playing as well as he should be with his ability. There’s no point counting us out of anything this early, the team can improve, but it’s looking like it’s going to be a difficult season.
Everton’s last league win came over a month ago, so far this season they’ve won two drawn two and lost three. They’ve got problems at the moment, but they’re always a dangerous side, and players like Arteta and Osman can pop up with random wonder goals and we seem to be struggling with those at the moment.
Everton have been one of our favourite teams to play in the Wenger era. We’ve beaten them nineteen times, drawn three times and lost four of the twenty five meetings between the two sides in all competitions. We’ve beaten them in twelve of the last thirteen attempts at home.
There are injury doubts all over the place, with the international break, as usual, decimating are already miniscule squad. Gallas, Sagna and Bendtner are out for the next two matches. Fabregas, van Persie and Djourou are all question marks at the moment and will all undergo late fitness tests. If fit, Djourou will probably slot in at right back with Song or Silvestre accompanying Toure in central defence. With Bendtner injured and Vela fatigued from travelling, I’m not sure how we’ll play if van Persie isn’t fit. Do we have enough midfielders left to go 4-5-1? Eboue could start after Walcott’s international exploits, and Nasri should be back in the starting line up. Diaby will be back in the squad.
Cahill is suspended after his red card against Liverpool. Phil Neville is most likely out as he is still recovering from a hamstring problem.
PLEASE NOTE, ARTICLE WRITTEN BEFORE NEWS OF DJOUROU BEING RULED OUT (Mean Lean)