Everton v Birmingham City: Match Preview

Weird Picture. Why are they tackling each other? Maybe this won't be a Bormingham match.

Maybe this match is destined for a 0-0 score line. Maybe last Monday's match against Manchester City will spur a turnaround. Maybe we can only compete with teams positioned in the top ten of the table, but not with clubs in the bottom ten. I really don't know. It's hard to predict the future or even understand Everton.

The point is I should expect a victory against a team that we beat at home to break their home unbeaten streak, is 16th in the Premier League table, has trouble scoring goals, and is historically bad at Goodison Park. But I don't. 

It doesn't help that we have had trouble scoring goals this season (not including last match) and Birmingham don't concede goals too easily. 

While typing the headline, I first wrote Bormingham instead of Birmingham. Was it a subconscious action or just a mistype? I can't believe I'm saying this because our club love to not score goals and draw all the time too. Just like Birmingham City. I'm pretty much saying this has a good chance to be a boring scoreless match.

Now on to injury/suspension front.

First the bad news. John Heitinga (knee), Steven Pienaar (groin), and Phil Jagielka (thigh) are all doubtful. Jagielka is the real concern because we don't really have a CB to replace him and it looks like Hibbert will probably fill in for him if Jagielka is not fit enough. That also concerns me because Hibbert saw his first action in a while, just last match. Anichebe is suspended for one match after that ridiculous double yellow card against Man City. Even though it seemed like he didn't make in immense impact, Anichebe was important because he was a threat to score up front. Losing him will probably be a bigger impact than we though. 

The good news is that Mikel Arteta will be back after his lengthy three game suspension. It's also good news that Tim Cahill and Leighton Baines still exist because they are pretty much our only offense/scoring threats/any chance to be decent.

Birmingham will be missing James McFadden, but Alexander Hleb is finally back in training after a month absence.

 

BBC Match Facts:

Head-to-head

• Everton have traditionally enjoyed the upper-hand in this fixture, with 59 league wins to Birmingham's 24.

• Birmingham's only victory over Everton in 13 Premier League meetings was a 3-0 home win in February 2004.

Everton

• Everton have lost 99 Premier League matches at Goodison Park. They have only won two of their last nine Premier League home games.

• David Moyes's side have managed only four top-flight wins this season, but have lost only five of their last 29 league matches.

• They have shipped just one goal in their last four games on Boxing Day.

Birmingham

• City have only been defeated once in six Premier League matches on 26 December.

• The Blues haven't won away from home this season. Their last away win was at Portsmouth in March.

• Alex McLeish's side have recorded only two league wins in their last 15 games.

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