Looking at the league table this weekend it struck me that it made very interesting reading for us Evertonians.
With five games to go until the halfway point of the season I see the next month as being critical to how our league position shapes for the end of the year and here is why.
If you look at the table currently there is a certain amount of symmetry to it for us Evertonians.
All the teams below us that we have played against we have either beaten or drawn against. Now, while there have been some really good performances against the likes of Villa, Sunderland, Chelsea and Southampton there have also been a few games where it felt like two points dropped against the likes of Bournemouth and Swansea.
Conversely, if we look at those teams currently sitting ahead of us in the league we have failed to win against any of them (either losing or drawing). While this included a couple of good away points against Tottenham and West Ham, our results against the other teams currently sitting above us have been largely disappointing.
Assuming that the Blues take all three points in the fixture against Palace on Monday, converting our previous results to a win against any other of those teams above us would see that team move below us. Amazingly, given we are currently sat in 11th position, we would have as many points as the team currently sat in second place had we beaten them.
This in my mind only helps to underline how crucial it is that we start to beat the teams currently sat above us in the league if we are able to mount a real push for Europe and, dare I say it, the Champions league places.
December see us with two away fixtures against teams below us in the league – Norwich and Newcastle – which based on the above should mean we secure at least a draw and maybe all three points. However, it’s the next 3 home games that I see as critical. We play a rejuvenated Palace on Monday night, a side under Alan Pardew who have already won at Anfield and beat us at home last term. Please stop Bolasie.
Next up Leicester who have been a revelation this season and deservedly find themselves top of the shop at the moment. The threats of both Vardy and Mahrez have proved a strong test for all defences this season, never mind the relatively inexperienced back line that we currently have. Make no bones about it – this is going to be a really good test against a team full of confidence.
The final home fixture of the month is Stoke who have also showed signs of rejuvenation in recent weeks. Having like ourselves secured a Capital One Cup semi final place this week they followed that up with a convincing victory against City at the weekend. With the likes of Bojan, Shairi and Arnautovic in their team they are going to pose a very different threat than they have in recent years.
I am hoping we can take 11 points in December (seven home, four away) that will put us in a strong position going into a busy January that sees us play no fewer than seven fixtures which include matches against Chelsea, Totenham, three matches against City and an FA Cup Third round to boot.
As with many recent seasons it feels as though we are in the brink of achieving something great here; can this season be the one where we can really push on realise some of those dreams we have all been harbouring for so many years, I really hope so.
Keeping key players fit is going to be crucial going into this busy Christmas period. All I have asked Santa for this Christmas is some good results in December a fit squad, the addition of a decent left winger and some cover for the defence. Who knows what could happen.
Is that being so greedy?