So we heading towards the final third of the season. The part of the season where we find out whether we have been able to build on early season promise, or if they have fulfilled their well earned title of late season flakes.
We have 12 season defining league games left this term, with between 1 and 4 cup games too. How we perform in these remaining games could leave us feasibly anywhere between 8th position and cup quarter finalists to qualifying for the Champions League and winning the FA Cup.
Our recent injury problems have lead to us dropping off the pace slightly in the league. The disappointing results at both Anfield and White Hart Lane have contributed to use being 5 points off Spurs and 8 off Liverpool.
Of the aforementioned teams Liverpool seem to be the strongest at the moment, seemingly scoring as many as they want, particularly at Anfield. How they respond to their cup exit will be key for them, but they could end up competing for 3rd or higher. They have yet to suffer any key injuries though, and with the World Cup coming up an injury to everyone’s favourite South American would not be unwelcome.
The Spurs result was very disappointing given that the performance was much more Everton 13/14 like. But for two poor refereeing decisions we would have come away from White Hart lane with all 3 points and the outlook would be very different.
Liverpool and Spurs still have to play each other so one or both will drop points there, whilst Liverpool also still have to face Man United, Chelsea and Man City as well as almost all of the relegation threatened teams.
Spurs, as well as Liverpool also have to face Chelsea and Arsenal. They also face some of the relegation threatened teams.
What this tells us is that the positions are far from set in stone. No team seems to have an easier set of fixtures than any other.
Despite the strength of the start we have made under Martinez the goal has always been to make progress this year, and in that vein any place above 6th is success.
The routine win over Swansea at the weekend sees the Blues go into the Quarter Final of the FA Cup against Arsenal. Once the draw was made I believe that I was in the majority of fans hoping for an Arsenal win versus Liverpool. Given our recent shambolic collapse at Anfield, and our early season performance at the Emirates playing Arsenal was always going to be the most appetising.
Arsenal approach the game in much the same way as Roberto’s Blues, and less of the counter attacking style that has found us wanting at times this season. If we play to our best then there is no reason we cannot progress either directly or by bringing them back to fortress Goodison.
If Arsenal are indeed dispatched then the only real threat left in the competition is holders Wigan, sorry Man City, the threat is Man City. The remaining teams of Wigan, Brighton, Hull, Sunderland, Sheffield 1 & 2 or Charlton hardly inspire fear.
It’s been a strange year for the FA Cup this year with the majority of ties being mostly Premier League teams paired up, so here’s hoping that Wigan et al can throw some more shocks (just in the next round mind).
All in all I am a happy Evertonian so far this year, and I can see myself being a very happy Evertonian at the culmination of the season. Hopefully with an FA Cup and a European place to brag about, but who knows? All I know is I can’t wait for this final chapter of the season!
Come on You Blues!