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Saturday, 8 December 2012

AVB can't win - Everton away.

So after a seemingly slow start out of the blocks under AVB, we're approaching January with more smug content then looks of disapproval and smacked arses. Results change. Opinions change. We're used to how this all works now. Revelling in the past under Harry, although understandable from some in AVB's early reign, is now utterly redundant. Comparisons between the two are unjust but inevitable. Let's live with the times and move on, as most have grown to do so in the last 6 weeks.

I sincerely expect I lack the number of fingers and toes to count the probable number of times I've repeated the statement "we face a strong Everton side at Goodison". Moyes has always built a bullish side who play without fear, especially at home, regardless of who stands in front of them. The game comes at a time that could really prove a milestone under AVB's tenure of how far we've come since August. We're slowly settling into what we regard as our best 11, with the odd nit-picking and moan regarding one American player or another.  In the past I've arrived away from home with more anxiety and doubt than I have this season. It's almost as if the tables have turned. We're living in a mirror of our former-selves. We seem at ease away from home, we play without fear or weight on our shoulders. We're more relaxed on the ball and the players seem to express themselves far more than they have at White Hart Lane this season.

For me, the most interesting battle will fall between Fellaini & Sandro/Dembele. I'd expect Sandro to drop deeper and almost man-mark the Belgian who seems to thrive going forward. With Pienaar also likley to cut inside and Baines pushing joining in with every attack, our midfield will have a handful to contend with. I'd encourage Lennon to start more advance in the hope that this may restrict Baines from having the freedom of attacking our right. Our best opportunities may be that of breaking at pace.

I'd love to see both Ade & JD starting. Although what may initially appear as 4-4-2 on paper, it is unlikely to stick. Adebayor naturally enjoys coming deep and getting involved as almost a third centre-midfielder, proving a useful intermediary when linking midfield and attack. I continue to stay torn between starting Dempsey or Sigurdsson in place of Bale. I feel Dempsey is really starting to look more the player we were accustomed to last season and I put this down to hard-work on Dempsey's behalf and faith from AVB. This, for me, would edge the American into the starting 11. Despite this, I still feel we've barely seen the tip of the iceberg with Sigurdsson with chances proving limited.

A similar performance to last week against Fulham wouldn't go a miss, but I'm not holding my breath. It's these sort of games in which grinding out a result would be taken with great delight. It's easy to forget we're still in transition with recent events proving very positive. Although, I get the impression AVB is still seen as someone fighting to prove critics and doubters wrong and this will - unfortunately- forever outweigh the credit he's due. Only time will tell. Let's continue getting behind him, as more of us are starting to do.

Score prediction: Everton 1-1 Spurs


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