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Derby Double Is Late Xmas Present

Radio City's Alan Irwin, 16th January 2009 - 09:37

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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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I thought the festive season was well and truly over, but suddenly I feel like a little child at Xmas time again! The anticipation, excitement, tension and importantly the belief.
 
The build up to derby day always gets to me, but with two games in six days I'm not sure I'll come through it with my sanity still intact!
 
Anyone who tells me they dislike the whole pre-match drama that goes with the territory nowadays is surely not a real fan of the game. Part of the joy of these clashes is the banter beforehand, the pub debates, the fact versus fiction, the sheer volume of bets staked, be it for real or just pure one-upmanship. And this time around with one game following the other there's a chance for immediate revenge if necessary........or double your money wagers!!!
 
For some reason it feels a little different this time around too. Maybe that's because we're currently in such a rich vein of form. And that old chestnut about form going out of the window in a derby match................well I've never been a believer of that. Surely it's better to be heading into the biggest games of the season on our run of just two defeats in fourteen games than two wins in fourteen??? If we look back in derby history it's generally the form team that wins it!! There are of course exceptions to that rule and many will point to FA Cup giant killers as evidence of that fact. But they are more one-off occasions than the norm.
 
I expect Liverpool aren't exactly looking forward to facing us over this coming week. They're not firing on all cylinders, matters off the pitch are capturing more headlines than their performances on it and Rafa's rant appears to have fired up opponents more than his own players!! What timing!!
 
All in all I'm genuinely looking forward to two thrilling matches (maybe three even!). Our away form is second only to Chelsea in the top flight and that incredible stat of only conceding 2 first half goals in 19 away league games in 2008 will surely serve us well in increasing Liverpool's frustration come half time at Anfield!

Their fans aren't noted for their patience and it could just play into our hands. There's no doubt we won't be going there with the intention of all out attack (we don't have the fit personnel for that!), more to hold, frustrate and then break. 4-5-1 has served us so well on our travels, there's no need for change now!! And with six successive clean sheets these games may just be arriving at the perfect time for us.
 
So, it's time to forget about the disappointment of Fellaini's absence, focus on all the positives we currently hold, and, like me, get excited and believe!!!

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