The views in these blogs are those held by the individual blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton Football Club.
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Its always the first fixture I look for, yet it is the fixture I hate more than any other! It is of course the Merseyside Derby and this Sunday is the 214th installment of it.
I've been to every one, home and away, since April 99. In that time, we've won four of them - is it any wonder I hate them?
Following on from the win at Birmingham, there are plenty of grounds for optimism. The performance at St Andrews was a typical one under David Moyes. We were very solid throughout, the back four, especially Jagielka and Distin, were superb in keeping our first clean sheet of the season. Fellaini and Arteta both playing in their best positions had a big influence on the game, while Coleman and Osman both did very well on the flanks. The only thing missing was a goal from Yakubu. I'm convinced it is coming, he's looking so much sharper and i really hope for him that it comes his way on Sunday!
As I said in my last blog, my biggest concern over the Derby is that we tend to freeze. Instead of taking the game to them, we always seem to be put on the back foot very early in the game and we never recover from it. I hope we just go at them from the start, because we really will not get a better chance to kick them while they're down. I'm not bothered about all the off-field goings on over the park, I really couldn't care less, my only concern with regard to them is that we take three points off them!
I really hope that Howard Webb doesn't steal the show on Sunday. He needs to try and let the game flow as best as possible and it would be great if not every single 50/50 goes their way! He will also do well to remember that the red 8 and 23 are not the one's in charge, he is! If he does that, then who knows what can happen...
Our season got going thanks to that little bit of luck that was Roger Johnson's own goal and in Derbies a little slice of luck never goes amiss, so im sure everyone of the Blue persuasion will be hoping for a little come 1.30pm Sunday.
There's now only three days to go and the build-up is reaching it's climax. The banter is in full swing and the expectation continues to build. For me, i'm still nice and relaxed, instead of the usual wound up, nervous state the Derby tends to get me in. In the two week period where we played them three times in January and February 09, I felt exactly the same. Nothing. No nerves, no anticipation. Just nice and calm, fairly relaxed.
At the end of those three games, we came out on top with a winning goal that had that little bit of luck. I'm sure that i'm not the only one hoping for the same outcome at the weekend.
To those 11 lads in Blue on Sunday, one of you could make yourself a modern day hero alongside the likes of Lee Carsley and Andrew Johnson. I hope for all Evertonians everywhere that one of you takes the opportunity to do it...
Onwards and Upwards!
Up the Toffees!
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