Ahead of the 227th edition of the Merseyside Derby later tonight, Everton midfielder James McCarthy has called on the Blues to recreate the atmosphere from last Tuesday’s roaring comeback win for the Toffees against Arsenal.
After twenty minutes of being on the back foot against the Gunners, a couple of strong challenges, most notably from McCarthy, got the fans excited again. And from that point on there was really only winner in sight with Everton making it difficult for Arsenal to operate in the middle of the park and eventually creating enough chances to win the game late on.
Goodison Park has been often described as a ‘bear pit’ during night games, with fans getting excited and making it a hellish environment for away teams to play in. With the added incentive of this being the Derby and the Blues desperately needing to get on a roll again, the stakes are high tonight.
"The fans responded after a few tackles and Arsenal knew they were in a game.
"It was a really great atmosphere and now we're looking to the derby. The fans will come out in their numbers, as always, and within the squad we know how massive the game is. We look forward to it.
"Under the floodlights at Goodison you can see the atmosphere and it's one you want, one we're all really excited about.
"It's definitely always a big game, it's your rivals and you want to get one over them. When Monday comes, we'll be ready."
It has been an odd season for McCarthy, who at one time was the cornerstone of the Everton midfield but has fallen out of favour with new manager Ronald Koeman. A couple of injuries (groin surgery, and a muscle tear) and a club-vs-country row haven’t helped matters and the player has been linked with a move away in the January transfer window.
However, a strong performance on Tuesday in front of Roy Keane against Arsenal had the player back in Koeman’s good books. Fans will be hoping for another pivotal performance from the Republic of Ireland international tonight in the Derby.