There have been some rather bizarre and uncharacteristically arrogant discussions amongst Evertonians in the last week. We go into tomorrows game against Crystal Palace as strong favourites as pundits and fans seeing nothing but a comfortable victory for the blues. However, we should all know by now that the Premier League is one full of surprises and going into a game like this expecting to win could be a huge mistake.
Crystal Palace are not a great team. Whereas other teams that have come up are at least cohesive, a slew of new signings have had a catastrophic effect on how Palace have gelled and performed. The candid resignation of Ian Holloway is as big a sign as you can get that things were not right and more importantly, the league table tells a story as even at this early stage of this season they risk being cast adrift.
Unfortunately, the resignation of a Manager is often a catalyst for, at the very least a short term revival and this is something that I am sure Roberto Martinez is wary of. All of a sudden expensive new signings are no longer guaranteed a place and even for an interim Manager they often have a greater incentive to fight for their place. They start to work harder for each other and often the results start to come in as a result. While it may be tempting to rest certain players with the Merseyside derby imminent, it is just as important to make sure we come away from this fixture with all three points.
This isn’t to say we won’t and shouldn’t see any changes tomorrow. However, rather than resting players as if it is some sort of nothing cup or pre-season game, we should be making tactical changes or changes due to loss of form. Take Kevin Mirallas as the perfect example. He’s been wildly inconsistent so far this season and may well benefit from being taken out of the lineup tomorrow. With the impressive Deulofeu ready and willing to step into his role and looking a very capable understudy it would be rude not to unleash his pace against a leaky Palace defence. One of those mazy runs have to end with a decent finish eventually right?
There has also been some debate as to whether James Mc Carthy should be starting tomorrow with the possibility of him missing the derby a real concern if he picks up another yellow card. However, as able as Osman can be I think Mc Carthy has already become too important to us to leave him out of any game on a if or but.
In all likelihood Everton will come away from Selhurst Park with all three points tomorrow but only if we don’t underestimate Crystal Palace or overestimate how good we are. We have played some good football this season but we have yet to put in a truly great performance over the course of a match and cannot afford to become complacent. I have little doubt Roberto Martinez is warning his players of the very same. A victory tomorrow will further solidify our promising league position and boost morale going into yet another International break that leads us into a Derby. Be it against Manchester United or Skelmersdale United our attitude should remain the same. Solo el Mejor.