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How do they rise up, Rise up, rise up? How do they rise up, Rise up high?

It’s nearly that time of year again, the time of year that plays havoc with my bowels, says David Martin.

Derby Day is almost upon us and we go into the game wearing the unusual and uncomfortable tag of favourites.  Whilst Liverpool are said to be in transition (how many years of transition is that now?), Everton are being described as the real deal and genuine contenders for a Champions League spot.

However, this is the Derby and every Evertonian knows it would be stupidity itself to write off Liverpool as if the game is already won.  This may well be the worst Liverpool team on paper in many years but Rodgers is starting to get them to work together as a team and there are signs of an upturn in their form.  No doubt they will be buoyed by their midweek win against Anzhi while we have a lacklustre display against QPR to reflect on.
Nonetheless, there is a reason why we are being touted as favourites for this game and the reason is that we are the better team.  We have got by on spirit for many years and it has become the term most associated with Everton teams during David Moyes’s tenure.  This seasons Everton does not rely solely on spirit to get through games as we have added guile, pace and skill to our play.  Everton are now a team full of genuine attacking threat without it be down our potent left side, courtesy of Baines and Pienaar or the direct running of Mirallas or one touch finishing of Jelavic.

There are some interesting decisions to make for David Moyes on Sunday.  Pienaar is out thanks to a ridiculous second yellow against QPR and with Darron Gibson ruled out the central midfield remains a problem.  The likely return of Fellaini will be a huge boost but the question is where to play him?  I would be tempted to shift Osman left to allow Fellaini to stabilise a recently flaccid midfield.  This would allow one of Naismith or Anichebe to occupy the behind the striker spot.  Sadly, it is more likely Osman and Neville will stay were they are with Mirallas moving left and Coleman pushing up on the right.  On the plus side, this does allow the return of Tony Hibbert at right back, someone whose defensive solidity we have certainly missed of late and someone who I would consider vital for a Derby.  The right side will be under a lot of pressure on Sunday with Johnson and Sterling likely to start and as such we will need a defensive minded right back to contain that.

 

My Derby Team

Howard

  Hibbert     Distin   Jagielka   Baines

   Mirallas Fellaini  Neville    Osman

        Naismith

         Jelavic

What we will see 

Howard

Hibbert  Distin  Jagielka   Baines

Coleman  Neville  Osman  Mirallas

Fellaini

Jelavic

This is a game in which sitting back is not an option.  Our defensive frailties coupled with a lightweight central midfield means it is unlikely we will grind out a result.  Despite my reservations about our likely lineup, it is time to attack, to play without fear and show our class.  Derbies are often turning points in a season but for Everton it is time to hold firm and stay the course.  Come on you Blues!

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Dave Martin

Lower Bullens as a child, Gwladys Street as an Adult and now in Family Enclosure with the new generation. Was there in 95 and hope I will be there at some point in the future.

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