A little bit late but here we go, it is New Years day after all! Here we are back to it what seems like 24 hours after our last game!
In the previous game vs Southampton we predicted a 2-0 win, we were close as the Blues managed a 2-1 win courtesy of another top corner rocket from Seamus Goalman and Lukaku finishing of from a great pass off McCarthy.
All in all the Blues where good for their victory, however some of the fluidity and tempo was lacking from previous games. Some of this can be attributed to the way Southampton press the ball all over the pitch, but more likely was the combination of missing players and a fixture pile-up only the English FA could sanction.
Speaking of the Saints they looked a very good team for two-thirds of the pitch. However when they reached the final third they seemed to fall apart, even their goal came from nowhere. You have to think if they can turn their mean defence and tricky midfield into clear goalscoring chances, they could have a chance of getting close to the Europa League.
All in all though the players who came in did OK. Naismith looks a different player under Martinez, and at one point even beat their left back for pace. As I said in review against Chelsea earlier in the season he is a very solid squad player who can come in and drop out without looking out-of-place, our James Milner of sorts. Baines had for him a relatively poor game without doing much wrong and Ovideo was solid again.
The biggest question mark however still hangs over the goalkeeper with Saints goal going straight through his gloves when it seemed easier to stand still and catch/palm it over the bar. He is young however and I am sure his decision-making will improve.
On to today, and we face a slightly different test, albeit with more players to choose from! Tim Howard and Gareth Barry should come straight back into the team. People that could drop out are Robles, Naismith, Baines (or Ovideo) and Osman with Howard, Barry, Mirallas and Pienaar coming in.
The reason I suggested Baines could miss out is that Martinez may see a cold away trip to Stoke as a great opportunity to rest the Hamstring of Baines, saving him for later more important games this month. Plus it’s not like Ovideo has been found wanting whilst deputising, and it would be a shame for him to return of obscurity again.
The returning players should give us almost our full preferred first team out on the pitch to surely blow (an admittedly slightly improved) Stoke away.
I predict a 1-3 win here for Everton with Mirallas, Alcaraz and Barkley as scorers to keep our push for the title (thanks Rom!) alive!
Come on You Blues!