SAFC v Everton (A) Preview

Having lost the last three, we’re badly in need of a win. Unfortunately the next game is against Everton, at Goodison Park. Rarely a happy hunting ground for SAFC even when we’re in form, never mind completely out of it! It’s gonna have to be a monumental effort on our part.

SAFC Team News

Well let’s start off with the news. Steve Bruce said on Wednesday that no players who are currently injured are any closer to a return. So don’t hold out any hope Cattermole or Welbeck might get a spot on the bench this weekend. On the plus side, at least nobody else is injured.

So what does that mean for the team selection? I think there will be changes, but nothing major. The players have had an extra weekend off due to their FA Cup incompetence, so I’m not buying any ‘tiredness’ issues this week.

I’ve seen some calls for Mignolet to get the nod in goal, but given the time Craig Gordon has had to recover from his errors at Stoke and against Spurs, I’d like to think he’ll continue between the sticks.

At the back, well it’s pretty much as you were too. Bardsley continuing his fine form at left-back, Nedum Onuoha at right back. The only question comes in the shape of who will partner Titus Bramble in the middle? I’m not aware of any injury to John Mensah, but he’s probably due one having started two games in a row. Anton Ferdinand was doing well with Bramble, and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion he’ll come back in at the expense of ‘The Rock’.

To the midfield, and this is where we have options in our four. We know it’s pretty much nailed on that Henderson, Muntari & Sessegnon will start, the question comes with who will be the fourth? Ahmed Elmohamady hasn’t been involved much of late, and could find himself back in the team on the right wing. Or Brucey could opt for some experience in the middle like Steed Malbranque, or Bolo Zenden. Or even throw us a curveball and chuck in a Riveros or Colback.

I think it will be Steed, roaming the wings and cutting inside, with Sessegnon doing the same on the other side, anchored in the middle with Henderson & Sulley Muntari. Personally I’d go another route and bring in Zenden. That bit of experience could be crucial on a tough away day, and would allow Henderson to revert to the right wing, where he is a much more effective player.

Another midfield curveball could be youngster Billy Knott who has been included in the squad for the game. The 17 year old came through the ranks at Chelsea alongside Josh McEachran, and was rated just as highly, if not higher before being bombed out of Stamford Bridge on disciplinary grounds.

The young midfielder has hit 9 goals in 14 from midfield (at last check) this season in Bally's talented youth team, so look out for him donning the number 30 shirt this weekend.

Up front, well it’s gonna be Richardson sitting in behind Asamoah Gyan. Who else would it be?

Bruce’s Probable Team:
Gordon; Bardsley, Onuoha, Mensah, Bramble; Sessegnon, Henderson, Muntari, Malbranque; Richardson; Gyan

My Team:
Gordon; Bardsley, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Bramble; Sessegnon, Muntari, Zenden, Henderson; Richardson; Gyan

From the Everton side

Only two words required really; Tim. Cahill. We must by now have found a way to stop him, but by God he just keeps scoring against us. I’ve heard he has a slight injury, which may keep him out of the game... So with that in mind, I urge every SAFC fan to join me in digging out your Tim Cahill voodoo doll, and giving it a bit of a kick. I don’t normally encourage this sort of behaviour, but you know if he plays, he’s scoring, and without him we have a much better chance of coming away with something.

That’s not to say he’s their only threat. I’m not sure a team which contains the likes of Fellaini and Arteta alongside talented youngsters like Rodwell & Coleman are poor enough to be 14th in the league, 3 points off the drop zone.

It seems a false position for Everton, but then again, as I always say, everyone is where they are for a reason, which is what gives us any semblance of hope. We’ve got to muster up some confidence, and go there like we are the better team, and believe we’re gonna win, not letting ghosts of the past haunt us.

Prediction

It’s a pivotal game for both teams, so one answer is that both teams will cancel each other out, and that’s what I’m going with. I’m going to go for a thoroughly uninspiring and boring 0-0. Which I’ll be over the frigging moon with to be honest; Clean Sheet, stopped the rot, and bring back some confidence.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the game, and keep the faith.

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