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February Optimism

Radio City's Alan Irwin, 9th February 2012 - 12:36

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Alan Irwin is the Voice of Everton for Liverpool's Radio City 96.7. An experienced radio journalist, Alan commentates on all of the Blues' matches and is well placed to provide insightful blogs on the progress of the team.

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Football’s fantastic isn’t it?!!

My last blog was just prior to the Fulham FA Cup game and there was a real sense of apprehension around the club. How quickly things can change. We’re now in the fifth round of the FA Cup (and looking forward to it!), have beaten the league leaders, brought in a five-and-a-half million pound new striker and seen the excellent Steven Pienaar return to the club.

The mood around Goodison is totally different to the one that prevailed following our home display against Blackburn. A week or so may be a long time in politics but in football it seems a season can be turned on its head!

However, let’s just temper things somewhat. Pienaar’s only here until the end of the season. Jelavic has to prove himself in the Premier League. Donovan’s only got two more games before he departs and our next three home league fixtures are pretty daunting.

Some may also wish to add that we failed to beat a Wigan side that prop up the top flight and are surely doomed to Championship football next season. Also, we went out of the FA Cup at the fifth round stage last season to a team a division below us!

I’m looking on the bright side though. We’ve still got four senior first team squad members to return to fitness, we’ve only lost one of our last seven games in all and are unbeaten in five. Pienaar’s a player that will deliver for us and I’m confident that, given a decent run of games, Jelavic will score us a fair few goals. On top of which, this is the time of the year when our form picks up and incredibly, we’re three points better off after 24 games than at this stage last season!

So first up then, Chelsea. They haven’t exactly liked it at Goodison in the last couple of league meetings and they’ll be wary of our performance against Manchester City recently. We need to be at that level once again to take the three points off a side that aren’t exactly exuding confidence themselves.

Torres continues to fire blanks up front, Drogba’s still on duty in the African Cup of Nations, which means it’s Sturridge and Mata, we need to care of, along with Lampard (if he plays) as he seems to love coming to our place and scoring! Display the right attitude and commitment once more and a result is certainly not out of the question.

Then it’s onto the FA Cup trail again. Blackpool. Who could forget the last meeting? Certainly Louis Saha won’t. Four goals for him in a rain-lashed thriller at Goodison. Strangely (or should I say not surprisingly!) he only went on to score one more goal in the rest of the season!

Well, we know there’s no Louis for this game against Blackpool but we’ve more than enough to see us through to a quarter final surely? It’s a much changed Blackpool from the one that we saw last season in terms of personnel and I’m hopeful that their concentration is very much on a return to the Premier League rather than an extended Cup run.

So, just the two games remaining in February and forever the optimist, I’m predicting two home wins.

One other prediction too. David Moyes won’t be leaving us for the England manager's job!

Cheers,

Alan

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