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Not Going To Lisbon To Luz

Radio City's Alan Irwin, 20th October 2009 - 12:17

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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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Just penning this prior to what will hopefully be another successful European trip. This is the one most Evertonians I’m sure have been looking forward to. It’s a visit to a top city and a great stadium belonging to a club steeped in European tradition. There’ll be thousands of Blues taking over the city of Libson on Wednesday and Thursday so I’m expecting quite an atmosphere over there.

I’ve quite a number of mates making the trip so no doubt it may prove a lively one on Wednesday night..........after I’ve been to see the team train of course at the Estadio Da Luz, attended the pre-match press conference which will take place early Wednesday evening at the Stadium, and filed all my relevant pieces for Radio City!

Only then will there be time to relax for a few hours and take in the sights of Lisbon, which by then may well have been turned into a colourful shade of blue!

I’m convinced we can win the battle off the pitch in terms of out-shouting their fans but on it could well pose a different problem for us. Benfica are unbeaten in their domestic league games this season, winning six and drawing just the one, scoring plenty of goals along the way too.

Their one defeat has come in the Europa League over in Athens so that does give us a little to be optimistic about as AEK were certainly no world beaters based on their showing at Goodison Park.

I’m not overly concerned by our current form, two home draws against opposition we’d be expecting to take all three points from. There were chances created in both games that should have been sufficient for us to record victories, but sometimes that happens. If we look back to last month we recorded four straight wins scoring 12 goals and not conceding. Chances were being taken then and I’m sure we’ll return to banging a few goals in. Problems arise for sides when opportunities in front of goal aren’t materialising. If we do get to that stage we have got issues to address.

We now face three games in three different competitions over the space of six days. It will be testing for us. I agree with David Moyes that the organisers of the Carling Cup haven’t done themselves any favours by scheduling our tie for the Tuesday after we’ve had to play a league game on the Sunday. No wonder some managers are accused of disrespecting the competition when their clubs are treated so shabbily. However, I do want us to field our strongest eleven next Tuesday at White Hart Lane. I want us to progress and have a real go at winning this trophy. It does after all still provide a route into European football for next season and should we progress next week it’ll be the quarter final stage already and we’d have only played two matches!

I know it will be difficult over the course of the next week with all three games being away from home, but I’d take a draw in Benfica as a good result, we’re more than capable of winning at Bolton on Sunday and I feel we’re heading for a bit of a late one in North London on Tuesday........that could go all the way to extra time and even penalties.........draining our already tired resources even further!

Never mind though, progress will be well worth it!!

Plenty of travelling for all of us over the next week but I sense it’ll be very enjoyable!! See you there!!

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