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Reid On... Festive Fixtures

Club legend talks Spurs, City and more in latest exclusive column.

Reid On... Festive Fixtures

We're entering a busy time in the season, but I have always found that the crowds enjoy the games over the festive period.

Certainly as a player, I loved the fact that fixtures came thick and fast with a lot of points to play for. With all the celebrations, it's a great period for everyone, more so the supporters, but players are used to it now so as busy as it seems, they know how to cope.

The month started with a draw against Manchester City but I thought Everton were the better side to be perfectly honest. They went ahead, played some good stuff and looked an accomplished side. I don't think they've had the results their performances have deserved over recent weeks, but if they carry on playing like that I'm sure they'll win more games. 

City's penalty was a bit soft. Marouane Fellaini does get on the wrong side but players these days go down easily and make the referee's job hard. Sometimes you don't get the breaks and I certainly think Man City got a break with that decision.

The officials have a really difficult job with the pace of the game and it’s the responsibility of players to stay on their feet. I remember when I was at school, the teacher said not to let anyone know if we were hurt - stand up and handle it. I think it's as simple as that, otherwise you'd have 50 penalties a game.

SPURS ON SUNDAY

Tottenham are going to be another tough test this weekend, but it's one of those games that you look forward to. Spurs are a good footballing side and it will be a really decent game.

Mousa DembeleMousa Dembele is Tottenham's key man according to Peter Reid.

Gareth Bale is an outstanding player, but the one I like the most is Mousa Dembele. He's got a great left peg and he handles the ball very well. Jermain Defoe's getting goals and is always a threat, while Aaron Lennon and Bale are dangerous on the wings.

If Bale doesn't play through injury, he will be a big miss for Spurs. He's a terrific footballer with devastating pace. He's one of those direct players that can score or make a goal, as we have seen recently.

STOKE LOOKING SOLID

After Spurs Everton head to Stoke, who I am pleased to see are continuing to do well. I don't think defending is a priority in the modern game, but it certainly is at Stoke City. They will be very, very difficult to break down when Everton visit on 15 December. 

They have one of the best defensive records in the Premier League, and have got a good run of wins under their belts at the minute, so confidence will be high. Tony Pulis has made some really good buys and he's making them better all the time.

MAGIC MIDFIELD

There have been a lot of consistent performers at Everton, but none better than Fellaini this term.

He's a bit different because he's so physically imposing. Anything chest to feet with him, he handles very well. He's a deceiving type of player as well - because he's a big lad, you think he wouldn't have good feet, but he has really clever feet on the ball.

Leighton Baines and Darron Gibson congratulate Fellaini on opening the scoring.Darron Gibson celebrates with Marouane Fellaini after the Belgian's strike against Manchester City.

It's nice to see Darron Gibson back too. Although I think Everton have done well without him, he’s one of those players that you don't realise how important he is - until he's not there. 

People always say you need holding midfielders in modern football but I think you should have a bit of everything in you - like Darron does. You don't have to go and win the ball, but if you get back into position and keep your shape, then that's good enough. I always think the best teams both defend and attack as a team and Everton certainly have the players to do that.

THE FA CUP DRAW

Whoever we play in the third round, Cheltenham or Hereford, it will be a 'proper' cup tie. I remember playing against Telford when I was at Everton and there were about 40,000 at Goodison. 

That's what the FA Cup is about; the big boys getting drawn against the minnows. I think it's exciting and it's going to be an interesting tie. I think Everton will be too strong, but you're always wary of playing the lower sides. You don't want to be making the headlines for the wrong reasons.

I do feel sorry for the fans with another fixture being moved to a Monday because it's difficult for them to get to the games. The players are used to these things and that's the nature of the game these days. The TV scheduling over a full weekend is just part and parcel of it now.

SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR

The European Championship Finals weren't exactly outstanding so that's probably why there's no footballers on the list. The golf was going well, Andy Murray was doing well and the Olympics was absolutely fantastic, so I can understand the 12 nominations and it's good to see a few ladies in there as well. 

I think it's too close to call. Bradley Wiggins had a good time and the Paralympians were brilliant - David Weir was outstanding. If I was going to go for one, I'd choose him.

 

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