I’m all for this race for fourth place but it comes to something when I can’t unreservedly enjoy Chelsea being beaten at home.
Manchester City’s surprise win has put them into pole position in the battle for fourth, on an afternoon when Jamie O’Hara proved that even on-loan Spurs players can’t take penalties.
We really need to beat Everton to leapfrog City, but this was always going to be a tricky fixture, even before City put the pressure on us.
Everton are in fine form, with recent wins over Manchester United and Chelsea, though they suffered a heavy loss on Thursday against Sporting LIsbon, which will have hopefully taken it’s toll.
The Merseysiders were once one of the few teams we could really claim to have a hoodoo over, but over recent years, it seems that the spell has been reversed. Everton have now won at White Hart Lane for the past three seasons.
A win always looked tough and it became that much tougher when it was revealed that the squad had been infected with some kind of lurgy. Corluka and Palacios have both been ill this week and are doubts, while Defoe is struggling with a hamstring problem and Crouch has a foot injury.
Crouch would have started on the bench anyway following Pavlyuchenko’s recent heroics, but the other three would be badly missed if they can’t play. Kaboul look ill-suited to playing at right back against Wolves, but he along with Assou-Ekotto and the young Kyle Walker is one of the three uninspiring options should Corluka not make it.
Or, Kaboul could be pressed into action in midfield if Palacios is out. The only other real option alongside Huddlestone is Jenas. Oh dear.
If Defoe can’t play then Gudjohnsen might get a start alongside Pavlyuchenko, or we could start with a five man midfield that includes both Kranjcar and Modric.
In short, I have no idea whatsoever as to what the team might look like. There’s just too many ifs and buts to add to the depressing certainties, which are that King and Lennon will definitely play no part.
Still it’s not all doom and gloom. Everton will be without both Cahill and Fellaini, which obviously makes them a lot less dangerous from set plays and less powerful in midfield.
Against Manchester United, Everton started with Donovan, Osman, Arteta, Bilyaletdinov and Pienaar in midfield, with Gosling and Rodwell both coming off the bench to score. Whatever permutation of those seven, that David Moyes chooses to go with, they will have plenty of attacking options. It doesn’t however, look like they could really pick a midfield with the express notion of stopping us from playing.
So it could well be an end to end game with plenty of goals. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t feature any last minute, missed penalties (though with Pav on the pitch and able to take them, that is less likely).
Only one thing left to say. Come on you Spurs!