Kevin Mirallas, Everton FC
WE have been starved of success at Anfield. It’s 14 years since Kevin Campbell’s goal – and the last time before that was Andrei Kanchelskis’ double in 1995.
Statistically runs like that have to come to an end some time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be this time. Having said that I am still confident for Sunday – and I’m confident for several reasons.
If Everton aren’t hitting the heights we know they are capable of they are still very difficult to beat, are producing good results, playing well in patches which means they are capable of scoring goals – and boast a defence which has reverted back to the solidity which has underpinned much of David Moyes’ time.
Liverpool, of course, will point to their recent stunning victory which was achieved at the height of Luis Suarez’s most recent affair.
It is not unusual, of course, for teams to be galvanised by such circumstances and while any team in the Premier League would be worse off without Suarez there is possibly another effect at work.
Daniel Sturridge is a player I have known about for a long time having watched him on behalf of Chelsea many times when he was at Manchester City and someone I never failed to recommend whole- heartedly.
With the Luis Suarez ban his standing at the club changed overnight and he knew that for the next four games, barring a disaster, he was going to be the main man. which is something he has always wanted, but never had up to this point of his career.
The confidence of most players would benefit from knowing that they’re going to be playing.
Having said that Liverpool were faced with some appalling defending last weekend, something I can confidently predict will not be the case on Sunday.
It’s a situation we have also witnessed with Seamus Coleman and Kevin Mirallas.
In our own camp, of course, we have players who can create and score goals – Baines, Pienaar, Osman, Fellaini who has proved himself to be a big-game player – and there is the rapidly improving Kevin Mirallas.
Like Sturridge, Mirallas and Coleman are players who have grown in stature and confidence because they has enjoyed a long run in the team.
Both had problems with injuries and David Moyes doesn’t usually throw players straight in.
He beds them in, shows them the Everton way and if they don’t buy into it they don’t become Everton players.
Working hard, tracking back and playing for the team has to come first, before you put your own individual stamp on top of that.
The last time Everton won at Arsenal Andrei Kanchelskis scored the winner. The penultimate time we won at Anfield Kanchelskis scored both goals – and while I’m not comparing Mirallas with Kanchelskis just yet, there’s a feeling that he can bring something unpredictable, a piece of magic and without doubt pace which frightens all defenders. In recent weeks there have been moments when he did little things that gave an indication of both his ability and growing confidence. Hopefully we’ll see a few more on Sunday!
Everton FC's best Merseyside derby moments in pictures
May 3 2013
Early kick-offs are not good for derby thrillers
I’M disappointed that Sunday’s derby is a lunch-time kick-off.
I don’t think there is any team which plays its best in an early kick-off and I can’t recall many in the past few years which have been really thrilling. There’s something about an early start which dilutes the intensity and makes them soporific affairs.
But this is a Merseyside derby.
It’s a game which could have a big say in who finishes above the other – and it’s about time Kevin Campbell and that Everton team lost that tag of being the last to win there.
I was with Kevin the other night and like Radio 5 always ringing me up about the Cup final, it does makes me proud – but it’s a record of achievement you’d much rather pass on.
No excuses for PFA error
FOR five years at the end of my playing career I was very proud to be chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association.
Before that I was a management committee member and delegate for the entirety of my career.
The PFA has long had a wonderful tradition of improving players’ rights over many decades and thereafter protecting them and was a real voice in the game.
My last act as chairman was helping to resolve the acrimonious dispute over how the broadcasting rights should be distributed and a deal was signed which guaranteed a healthy revenue stream to the PFA to ensure its long-term future.
Since then the Premier League has not only marginalised the Football League and the Football Association to a certain degree but also the PFA whose main purpose now appears to be to act as a conduit for redistributing its percentage of broadcasting rights and providing a soundbite whenever one is required.The showpiece event of the PFA’s calendar is, of course, the annual awards dinner into which an awful lot of time and money was always invested, and I presume, still is.
So it was inexcusable that an entertainer could be booked who would then go on to litter his remarks with offensive language.
To be fair to PFA chairman Clark Carlisle, he has come forward and more or less offered himself up as the fall-guy for this error in judgement even though he would have had very little, if anything, to do with the booking of Reginald D Hunter.
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