That may turn out to be a big win when everything's said and done in mid-May. Just when Everton looked like doing what Everton do, crumble when it's least expected, our Spanish wonder and Wes Brown came to the rescue.
Roberto Martinez and his Technicolor Dreamcoat
Everyone knows that Roberto Martinez is the most positive man in the Premier League, heck he might even be the most positive man we’ve ever seen in the Premier League. The side effect of that is that positivity leaking out into the players, you listen to them talk, Tim Howard and Leon Osman most recently, and they ooze confidence. And that’s something that never used to happen. Martinez has talked about everyone needing dreams and something to strive for, he’s certainly got the players thinking that way, and now those most pessimistic of people – us, the fans – are also dreaming.
It’s what they always say right? Teams that can win scrappy are going to be successful come the end of the season. One of the things Everton haven’t done enough this year is to win scrappy. When it’s been needed the team have inevitably drawn the match, not won. Recently though that’s changed, obviously Gerard Deulofeu’s quality made the difference on Saturday but Lady Luck was the real assist for that goal.
One of the keys to the recent run has been Martinez’s imaginative use of the squad for the three places behind Romelu Lukaku. Find a Blues fan that has predicted the lined up for the last seven games and you’ll be talking to Russell Grant, or maybe Mystic Meg. Now Lukaku has found form again it’s been important to change the dynamics around him and with Steven Pienaar and Bryan Oviedo missing for a long time the importance and flexibility of Aiden McGeady (2+9 (starts+substitute)), Deulofeu (7+14), Ross Barkley (21+9), Leon Osman (25+8) and Kevin Mirallas (26+4) has been huge. The back 7 have been settled and, Phil Jagielka aside, remarkably injury free to offer a base for our front four to do their thing.
Liverpool to win the league, Everton in the Champions League. Yes please.
The RBM spot poll last week was overwhelmingly (85% for this) in favour of putting Everton ahead of Liverpool and why wouldn’t we? Yes every Evertonian will hate the blather that comes out of Red mouths but only a fool would favour any other teams fortunes over their own. Taking the Red and Blue hats off for a minute, think about what that would mean for the city. For football in the city. For business in the city. For people in the city. Plus, it shows what can be done with a progressive manager, a reasonable amount of money, and some belief. Sound familiar?
The popular view is that Arsenal have the easier run-in, and on paper that’s the case. But they have to face an improving Stoke City team that have something to prove and are aiming for a top half finish. Mark Hughes will have his team up for that. Then Norwich City on the last day may be a make or break for the Canaries. And West Bromwich Albion, a team that can draw against anyone. Easier yes, but easy, maybe not so much. We can dream can’t we?