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Massive March

By Chris James :  02/03/2008 :  Comments (18) :
Last month I posted on here saying how crucial February and March were going to be if our season was going to turn from good to great.

Let's face it, even Tony Marsh couldn't disagree with the fact that February's gone pretty bloody well. Having dusted ourselves down after the Chelsea defeat we were unlucky to draw two home games against decent opposition and then have rolled into 5 wins on the bounce including a Euro-thrashing and effectively knocking two of our 4th place/Uefa Cup rivals out of the race.

Of course the problem with success (and it's a fabulous problem to have) is that you have to sustain it and this makes March even more massive.

We've got three eminently winnable league games (in which we're going to be favourites to take the points), a really tough but exciting Uefa Cup challenge... and then it's the derby!

By my reckoning, even 8 points from the league will set us up nicely for a CL place (we've surely got to fancy ourselves with 9 points from Brum, Derby and the Barcodes even if we get nothing from Villa, Chelsea and Arsenal ? so that'd mean 70 points which surely would be enough!)

Then, on the Uefa Cup side, if we can manage to squeeze past the Florentines (and ideally manage to avoid Munich in the next round), we've surely got to be seen amongst the favourites.

Obviously it's easy to speculate and we've got to take each match as they come in our biggest month of the season, but to be honest I don't think we could be much better prepared.

The squad is almost fully fit with genuine options in case of injury (Arteta and Fernandes weren't even on the bench today, neither was Valente and there were 3 very good strikers vying to accompany the Yak up front). We're in great form, able to play football as well as scrap, and our confidence couldn't be higher.

For the first time I can remember as a blue, I go into almost each match expecting us to win and I genuinely do believe we can secure fourth AND have a real stab at winning the Uefa Cup.

March is going to be a monster, but I'm looking forward to every minute... COYB!!!!!!

Reader Comments

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Steve Mink
1   Posted 02/03/2008 at 20:13:42

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Wish I shared your optimism re: the maths, Chris. Looking at the fixtures ahead, Liverpool’s look slightly easier than ours
Rob Jones
2   Posted 02/03/2008 at 20:51:56

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Absolute bullshit, Steve ? they?ve got Arsenal, Man Utd, Us and Spurs FFS, three of which are away
Steve Mink
3   Posted 02/03/2008 at 21:09:19

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OK Rob

Maybe I’m the eternal pessimist
Anthony Newell
4   Posted 02/03/2008 at 22:01:55

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As far as we're concerned it?s the old cliche - one game at a time and not to look beyond the next fixture.

As far as the Shite are concerned, let's hope that one of West Ham, Reading or Newcastle can do us a big favour. Ironically and as pony as they are at the minute, I can see Newcastle taking some points off them.

The Derby game will be the proverbial six pointer. If there is any justice out there we will get two penalties to make up for the ones we should have had and walk away with all three points. Like the way Moyes said we will give them a ?run for their money? - damn right, let's go and beat the bastards.

Steve Flanagan
5   Posted 03/03/2008 at 10:27:17

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Just to let everyone know, as well as not trying to get ahead of ourselves, Everton are currently 3rd favourites at the moment to take the UEFA Cup.

The best price you can get is 8/1, with Bayern Munich and Tottenham ahead of us (Tottenham are about 7/1 on average, with Munich on 4/1)
Chris James
6   Posted 03/03/2008 at 10:47:28

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Hey Steve (Mink), I think actually you may be right, on paper Liverpool’s run-in is marginally easier than ours, certainly in terms of games that could be lost.
I can see us losing a match more than them and I actually think they could secure 1 or 2 points more than us before the end of the season.

However, they’re going to need 3 points more (at least - the 4 goal difference isn’t overturnable with the likes of Derby, Sunderland and Fulham still to play) and I think they have more drawable pressure games (i.e. with half-decent opponents who have something to prove/play for).
West Ham = outside chance of UEFA + FA Cup final revenge
Newcastle = Really need to get some points now to turn things around + Owen against old club
Birmingham+Reading = playing for surival Blackburn and Man City = Playing for UEFA
Suffice to say Arsenal, Man Utd and Us will all be v.tough games where a point is probably most they can expect.

So that just leaves them Spurs (unlikely to have anything to play for in last game) and Fulham (who are rubbish) as nailed on points.
Greg Murphy
7   Posted 03/03/2008 at 12:29:20

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There’s another really significant game at the start of April that’s currently slipping under the radar of attention because it looks so nondescript.

And that’s Derby County at Goodison on April 6th.

If the RS beat West Ham on Wednesday (I think they will) then, with things level in terms of points and goals, it will really start to hammer home how crucial goal difference could be.

With a minimum gap of 5 goals between us (if they beat West Ham 1.0) it will emphasise that the only thing separating the two sides was the 6.0 tonking they dished out to Derby last September at the pit.

Now, if we can manage to stay neck and neck with them (at least) until April and then serve-up a Yakubu feast to Stubbsy and the boys then theoretically that’s the goal gap closed.

I know it’s really rash to be talking like this - counting chickens and all that.

But I’ve just got a sneaky feeling that there are two "Derby" games that could influence the outcome of the season for Everton.

Footnote: if we get through to the UEFA QF, we really couldn’t ask for a better deal in the aftermath of the first leg on April 3rd than to face Derby at Goodison three days later, could we? All hail the FAPL!!
Damian Wilde
8   Posted 03/03/2008 at 12:35:53

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Normally it would be enough, but I can possibly see us needing more than 70 points to secure 4th place. Both Everton and Liverpool will probably keep winning and winning. The derby will be very important. It’d be great to do it though; most importantly for ourselves, but as a bonus, stopping the RS who financially need it!!
Dave Wilson
9   Posted 03/03/2008 at 13:26:05

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Bring on Florentina !
The rest will wait . . . . . ..for now
David London
10   Posted 03/03/2008 at 13:50:46

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I may be on my own, but it?s just good to have a season that lasts into March. Winning a cup or 4th would be a bonus.
Andy Callen
11   Posted 03/03/2008 at 15:23:07

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Greg are you forgetting the 7-1 against Sunderland?

I agree it could all come down to goal difference but assuming we will batter each team is disrespectful and deluded. Are first aim should be to get the 3 points, then to try and reduce the goal difference. I believe the RS will concede more goals then us from now till the end of the season, their back four looks dodgy from set plays.

All we can ask for is the boys to go out there and do their job, to the standard we know they are capable of. Everything else will follow as I believe we have a better squad then the RS and want it more.NSNO
Greg Murphy
12   Posted 03/03/2008 at 15:56:44

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No, not at all Andy. I was going to mention the Sunderland thrashing because I reflected only last night that it’s a good job we did score so many against them (which is why it was so frustrating at City on Monday because we should have gone on to win it 4 or 5 nil; and also yesterday considering the first half dominance).

But it is the case, though, that if they win on Wednesday then they will be at least five goals clear and that can be balanced down to the hammering they gave Derby.

You’re right in saying that it’s disrespectful to a degree but it was just a paper exercise and I’m certainly not blithely expecting us to slam six past Derby (in fact I’m slightly worried about the Sunderland game on Sunday TBH).
Brian Garside
13   Posted 03/03/2008 at 20:45:35

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4 goals behind without 1 penalty all season!
Pretty good I´d say.
Nevermind AJ´s dissallowed goal which would have meant 2pts more thereby making this thread irrevolent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lee Rogers
14   Posted 04/03/2008 at 06:46:39

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Have a look at Chelski?s fixtures ? they have to play all the top teams including us. Maybe just maybe we could possibly finish third!! COYB
Nick Xenos
15   Posted 05/03/2008 at 02:21:58

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I’m with Lee on this one...I just have a feeling that we will blow Liverpool out of the water in terms of capturing that 4th and final Champs’ League spot, and also give Chelski a run for their money. We are clearly in better form than the other lot and our recent results, as good as they are, probably understate our performances. On the other hand, Liverpool were rather fortunate to come out of that first half with Bolton 1-0 ahead, as up until Jussi’s blunder they were on the rack. We have proven in the last two games that we can do the biz without Arteta in the side but we will defo need him back in for the run-in to make this a sure thing.
Peter Laverty
16   Posted 05/03/2008 at 13:18:09

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go to bbcfootball/premierleagueand do the score predictor. i did this as honestly as possible and ended up with Liverpool 4th on 72 points, Everton fifth on 72 points, with Liverpool about 6 goals better off than us...

Steve Carter
17   Posted 07/03/2008 at 10:17:46

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That’d be right, Peter Laverty. Fiorentina shut shop against us next week, then we wait a month or two and the Shite dud us on goal difference. It’s a grand old team to support...
Graeme Schewitz
18   Posted 07/03/2008 at 14:37:25

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I am struggling to understand why Moyes went into the Fiorentina game with a defensive mind set. We are palying well, confident, the YAK is knocking them in yet he was left alone up front and hardly had a look in. In reality we could have been hammered 4-0. We have to start believing in ourselves, everytime we play the top 4 or a big name we seem to go into ourshells. We all know how important an away goal is in Europe. Come on Moyes lets play attcking football we have the team and the strikers now to knock a few in against any opposition.

When we take the pitch on Sunday lets get the attacking mind set back into 1st gear. Come on lads lets end the year on a high!!!!!!!

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