Yes today is the day we could finally do it. After 20 years of hurt Everton get another chance to win some silverware in a cup final. We last had a chance in 2009 in the FA Cup against Chelsea, which despite the fastest goal in FA Cup final history the Blues lost against Chelsea.
This time is is the ever so slightly less prestigious, but no less important Barclays Asia Trophy Final against Chelsea’s London neighbours Arsenal.
The fact that this trophy has been won by the likes of Bolton and Portsmouth in the past should not detract from the relative importance of winning this final for the Blues as just 12 months ago the Blues stuttered through pre-season without winning. This time around we are currently unbeaten (1 win, 1 draw) and we should look to keep that going in this afternoons match.
The two games so far have seen the use of a balance of youth and experience with the likes of Browning and Galloway impressing as well as stalwarts such as Osman and Pienaar showing that they still have something to offer. Add to this the returning Deulofeu and new signing Cleverley and we’re looking in good shape for the start of the season in a few weeks.
Expected starting XI.
Howard, Coleman, Galloway, Stones, Jagielka, Barry, McCarthy, Barkley, Deulofeu, Osman, Lukaku
There is no reason why the Blues can’t win this ‘friendly’ tournament, but a lot will depend on the approach play up to Lukaku. The Blues created a lot of chances against Stoke but failed to put any away, with the biggest culprits being Deulofeu for his lack of decision making with the final ball and Lukaku himself for some questionable finishing.
Arsenal will likely field a strong line up too with Peter Cech likely to make his debut, but the Blues have shown in recent years that we can go toe to toe with anyone in the league.
How to Watch
The game is being shown live on Sky Sports 1 immediately following the 3rd/4th playoff of Stoke vs Singapore XI. The match kicks off at 1:30 GMT.
Up the Blues!