Three months and one week after Everton finished 2011-12 with a flourish with that impressive 3-1 win over Newcastle United, the new campaign is upon us.
The European Championships and the London Olympics may have ushered the 2012 close season along a little faster for fans champing at the bit to get the Premier League going again but with the Blues on a run of form normally reserved for Champions League qualifiers, the summer was something of an unwelcome disruption.
Of paramount importance, of course, is the fact that the summer thus far — we cannot, of course, reflect on the transfer window's business in its entirety yet as there are still 12 days to go — has, on the whole, been one of construction rather than destruction for David Moyes, albeit barely.
The number of outgoings from the senior and Academy ranks has reached double figures since May with just Steven Pienaar and Steven Naismith added so far, but in terms of Moyes's first-choice line-up, the team has been improved. What the squad is desperately short on, of course, is real depth, particularly with a couple of players potentially going out on loan.
Jack Rodwell's departure was disappointing given his early promise, but there is no question that if the manager can add some real quality to the squad before the 31 August deadline, then the exit of an under-performing asset still finding his way back from a succession of injuries will have been worth it from Everton's point of view.
And, of course, despite all the speculation linking him with a move to Old Trafford, Leighton Baines kicks off 2012-13 as an Everton player.
More good news in the immediate term is that it looks as though Moyes will be able to name his strongest eleven for the high-profile season-opener against Manchester United under the Goodison lights on Monday evening.
Marouane Fellaini has shaken off a slight groin problem and the thigh strain that kept Darron Gibson out of Ireland's friendly with Serbia has also cleared up.
Given the small numbers in the squad, the line-up for United mostly picks itself, with the only real question marks being the central-defensive partnership, who plays right back and whether Naismith will play from the start in the Tim Cahill role.
Phil Neville's leadership and experience may get him the nod over Tony Hibbert at fullback and given how well Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga performed together, they might be the favoured duo in defence despite Phil Jagielka's goalscoring exploits for England in midweek.
Both defensive decisions will probably rest on where Fellaini is deployed and whether Heitinga or Neville are pushed into central midfield to provide more brawn. Fellaini excelled when pushed up behind Jelavic in the 4-4 draw at Old Trafford in April but Naismith's pre-season form linking up with his old Rangers strike partner may persuade Moyes to include both from the start.
For his part, Sir Alex Ferguson, already without injured trio Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans, looks to have suffered further depletion to his defence. Rio Ferdinand is a late doubt after reportedly picking up a groin strain in training on Friday which could sideline him for a month.
That could mean an unorthodox central defensive partnership of Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick for United for whom all eyes will be on new signing Robin van Persie. The Dutchman has had success against the Blues for Arsenal but Moyes will be looking to stifle his influence and ensure that the Red Devils' new £23m signing has a quiet debut.
It goes without saying that a flying start at a stage where the big teams have yet to hit their stride would be a fantastic tonic for Moyes's boys and really help get some momentum going instead of the usual slow start.
The Blues' recent record against the biggest clubs on opening day is not great but Everton have the firepower — and a potential 12th man in the stands — to put an early dent in United's attempts to recapture the title from neighbours City.
The anticipation built up over the summer after the impressive finish to last season will surely only add to the excitement of kick-off to the new campaign and that should ensure a raucous Grand Old Lady under the floodlights and in front of Sky's live cameras.
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219 Posted 19/08/2012 at 07:37:04
A win in this game would be a great way to kick off the season.
Not even going to try guessing the start eleven, just get it right Moyesy!
220 Posted 19/08/2012 at 07:43:26
223 Posted 19/08/2012 at 08:22:02
226 Posted 19/08/2012 at 08:43:24
227 Posted 19/08/2012 at 08:48:32
229 Posted 19/08/2012 at 08:52:17
233 Posted 19/08/2012 at 08:56:05
237 Posted 19/08/2012 at 08:46:17
When we are on top in some of the games this season I want us to really turn the screw and go for more goals. I don't want to sit through another season like we did last time out until February.. Oh, I am not another one of those moaning ant-Moyes gits. I just want to be entertained, I want to see our team try and play good attacking football regardless of who we have out on the pitch. If we lose some games on the way then so be it. And finally, if I hear our manager talk about reaching 40 points as the main priority then I swear I am going to go clinically insane. Lets set a minimum target of 65 points and consider anything less than that as a failure.
238 Posted 19/08/2012 at 09:03:57
I am like Tony too, I worry that Baines will be this years last minute transfer window sacrificial lamb.....hope not!
240 Posted 19/08/2012 at 09:03:54
If we take our chances tomorrow night in what I hope is going to be Fortress-Goodison this season we will hit the ground running and kick the season off with an almighty bang!!!--!
242 Posted 19/08/2012 at 09:16:07
I'm with you though. I hope we play like we did most of the second half of the season and attack a lot more but sometimes you have to sit back and try to defend a lead.
249 Posted 19/08/2012 at 09:41:12
250 Posted 19/08/2012 at 09:25:06
No, no, no... Hibbo wants to score, he takes it, BANG!!!!
1-0, game set and match!!!!!
251 Posted 19/08/2012 at 09:55:16
And yes Shaun, obviously there mindset issues etc...but clearly there is so much more as you allude to. Last season, by September, we had no Arteta, no Pienarr, no Jelavic, No donovan, a past it Saha, no creativity except from Osman...etc etc. United had...Rooney, Berbatov, Hernandez, Welbeck, Ashley Young, Nani, Valencia....not to mention a plethora of central midfield options, if no world class ones. Not everyone has the ability to play great football, and for some teams their strengths are in defence. We have one of the best defences in the league, and it would be crazy to alter our system. This system, we need to make sure we keep it on the deck, and attack with a front four. I’d like us to play a 4-2-3-1, with Jelavic up top, supported by Pienarr, Naismith and hopefully Mirallas, and Fellaini as a link, and Neville or Gibson sitting. I think the 4-2-3-1 is the formation in football, and I think along with Barca and Real, we will see Spurs, Arsenal and Chelski play it domestically.
253 Posted 19/08/2012 at 10:05:19
256 Posted 19/08/2012 at 10:19:06
260 Posted 19/08/2012 at 10:59:33
If he does go, it will be the club pushing him out.
Though no doubt it'll be spun as demanding a transfer and taking a pay cut to make it happen.
And 90% of the fans will feast on this banquet of bullshit and clap Clegg's mug on the big screen.
Cos he's one of us, you know.
262 Posted 19/08/2012 at 11:05:32
272 Posted 19/08/2012 at 11:45:16
315 Posted 19/08/2012 at 12:52:55
The gist was that Utd, City and Chelsea are nailed on for top 3 slots again, but that 4-6th is wide open.
Arsenal and Spurs have both effectively lost their best players (VP and Modric - not to mention first teamers Song and Adebayor) and are likely to need time to adjust to new players/management style.
Liverpool have an even bigger rebuilding job ahead and it's unlikely Rodgers will be given time to complete it. Indeed the only team from top 6 which seems to have maintained stability or improved are the Toon army.
Ultimately my conclusion was that regardless of the Utd result, I feel we are going into this season with a team that has a very real chance of challenging Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Newcastle for 4th and should at very least be able to finish about 2 of them for a Euro-slot.
348 Posted 19/08/2012 at 14:26:44
3-1 to Everton tomorrow.
358 Posted 19/08/2012 at 15:02:07
359 Posted 19/08/2012 at 15:17:09
Pienaar - Left
Naismith - Right
Osman - Cahill role
Bench: Neville, Jags, Anichebe, Barkley, Junior, Vellios, Mucha
Based on the above and rumors that Barkley will be loaned out and Anichebe might be sold to Blackpool our depth is worrying and a few solid loan signings are needed in addition to Mirallas.
I'll take our 1-12 against anyone in the league. We need to work on 13-16.
Enjoy the game! Prediction:
Everton 3 Man U 2
421 Posted 19/08/2012 at 18:46:21
422 Posted 19/08/2012 at 18:21:39
424 Posted 19/08/2012 at 18:54:16
442 Posted 19/08/2012 at 20:17:07
Neville Heitinga Distin Baines
Naismith. Osman Pienaar
445 Posted 19/08/2012 at 20:21:48
455 Posted 19/08/2012 at 21:07:17
461 Posted 19/08/2012 at 21:27:18
Most of the time I watch at Dizzy Pub on Roncesvalles though cuz it's closer for me to stagger home.
485 Posted 19/08/2012 at 22:26:37
493 Posted 19/08/2012 at 22:34:37
512 Posted 20/08/2012 at 00:54:09
514 Posted 20/08/2012 at 00:57:34
Looks good to me.
516 Posted 20/08/2012 at 01:03:57
517 Posted 20/08/2012 at 00:59:53
Maybe the only blues in there!!!!!
527 Posted 20/08/2012 at 01:36:04
538 Posted 20/08/2012 at 04:14:04
I'm staying just off Spadina/Dundas in a hostel. I think I will most likely be going to Scallywags as it's walking distance and will hopefully have more Blues than Manure fans.
Enjoy the game!!
544 Posted 20/08/2012 at 06:22:27
550 Posted 20/08/2012 at 07:00:49
Ever a better time to smash them?
554 Posted 20/08/2012 at 07:30:59
555 Posted 20/08/2012 at 07:36:09
557 Posted 20/08/2012 at 07:40:12
Utd seem to be having a bit of trouble at the back and with their noisy neighbours winning yesterday, there might be an added bit of pressure off the red fans.
As someone said above, the buzz seems to be back and if we can stop Fatman and Robin, we'll take the points.
561 Posted 20/08/2012 at 08:29:04
Jumping for headers and dealing with long balls is meat and drink for players as good as Vidic no matter how long he's been out.
To get at them we need a bit of pace and a lot of movement. For that reason I'd like to see Jelly and Naismith both playing high up the pitch and our midfield and defence both pushing right up.
If we start sharp we're in with a real chance. If we're as flat and out of match fitness as we were against Arsenal a few years ago then it could be acutely painful.
562 Posted 20/08/2012 at 08:42:17
568 Posted 20/08/2012 at 09:12:55
I know alot of the pundits don't think we'll do much tonight but it you have to play Utd at some point and Goodison at night, on the first match? Bring them on. If Carrick has to play CB then I'm happy with that. Can see a few goals tonight and am torn between 2-1 to us and 2-2.
Enjoy it lads. Oh and Michael Owen,why? Reckon Bill will parade him (if he signs) with Kev just so some of the boos might get drowned out!
The men who come from Merseyside to sail the seven seas, will hear the call of Everton come riding on the green.
570 Posted 20/08/2012 at 09:23:47
584 Posted 20/08/2012 at 10:25:27
606 Posted 20/08/2012 at 12:35:12
"Come riding on the breeze", surely?
610 Posted 20/08/2012 at 12:33:31
Everton 3-1. Jela 2, Naismith 1 - Fatman 1
612 Posted 20/08/2012 at 12:01:03
The Pro's: Game is under lights, crowd will be up for it, half time intro for Mirallas will fire everyone up.
The Cons: Utd will be up for it big time, they aren't gonna start slow given Citeh won, RVP's arrival will spur their forwards.
I expect us to compete for 70 mins and then run out of puff - simply not enough games pre-season. I don't blame Moyes for this. A small squad does not allow him the luxury of losing or two through injury prior to the start.
Tactics wise, centre mid is key - we were superb in this department at Old Trafford. In my opinion, the result probably hinges on the fitness of Felli and Gibson.
622 Posted 20/08/2012 at 13:52:40
I don't think Carrick and Vidic will be weak for Manure. On the contrary, I don't think Ferdinand is what he was and would have preferred him to play to be honest. It will be a tough game and, as I mentioned earlier, we need a big game from the defence to give us a shot at 3 points.
624 Posted 20/08/2012 at 13:59:10
Anyway, just been up to the megastore and saw the short sleeve top in the flesh,err...........Probably been said before but it just looks like they ran out of blue cloth and tacked on the white bands to make it longer. Went for the long sleeve version myself.
Are we there yet?
644 Posted 20/08/2012 at 15:19:16
MU have 4 central defenders out.
I'm positive for this season but would be happy with a draw tonight.
First game and all that.
Still, after a couple of drinks, I'll probably start thinking about how many we'll put past the Mancs and even start to feel sorry for them just for turning up. COYB.
649 Posted 20/08/2012 at 15:22:22
Like the line up but can't see it myself. I think he will play Felli deep, just in front of the back four, 4-1-4-1 with Osman in for Naismith, and 1 up top with Jelavic ( Stranded, & looking for scraps )
650 Posted 20/08/2012 at 15:24:48
Given Jags is fit, presumably Moyes will try to fit all three senior CBs into the side.
653 Posted 20/08/2012 at 15:44:55
656 Posted 20/08/2012 at 15:26:46
Haha yeah it is a bit of a hike....but at least I can be relaxed in the massage parlour next door :) Football Factory maybe the better option for me, I just hope its not full of load mouthed mancs.
657 Posted 20/08/2012 at 15:50:10
658 Posted 20/08/2012 at 15:38:30
Well done Moysie a good 2-0 win against the mancs particularly pleased with the creativity.
I and similar minded fans aren't in this to say "we told you so" just keep up what we've been preaching and we'll say no more about it.
(If it goes tits up - "effing 'ell Moyes will you never learn)
660 Posted 20/08/2012 at 15:47:41
Neville Heitinga Distin Baines
Naismith Barkley Pienaar
That would be the more obvious and conservative Moyes selection. I can see it happening, I really do. Actually with a number of CBs out for Utd will Moyes use Ossie to pick them apart or physically pull them in every direction with Fallaini playing off Jely?
676 Posted 20/08/2012 at 16:42:17
Baines Jags Heitinga Hibbert
Naismith Fellani Pienaar
Nice and attacking with a solid core. COYB. Literally can't wait.
Also blues, for those that fancy a flutter, Paddy Power have 100/1 - for EFC to win 2-0 with Jela to score 1st. That must be worth at least £1.
679 Posted 20/08/2012 at 16:55:06
Here's hoping that it's pretty much as Mohammed Horoub has it.
681 Posted 20/08/2012 at 17:18:27
683 Posted 20/08/2012 at 17:21:12
685 Posted 20/08/2012 at 17:19:42
Hibbert, Jags, Distin, Baines
Osman, Fellaini, Pienaar
Jeavic. I think he might push Fellaini up behind Jelavic for this one after he did so well there against United last season. Neville will hold with Gibson to stop United for 70 mins, then Naismith will come in for Neville. Fellaini will drop back to make room for the new Scot on the block. 1 -1, Jelavic and Van Persie.
(I believe in Mirallas.....where you from, you sexy thing!)
705 Posted 20/08/2012 at 18:55:03
I've switched over the recent posts to the new thread and opened up the Live Matchday Forum
886 Posted 19/08/2012 at 08:38:30
I like that song they sing by Neil Sedaka:
"Oh Carroll, you are but a fool
Don't ever leave us, though we treat you cruel."
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