1. Some Shameless Self Promotion
Before I begin previewing tomorrow's game (and why wouldn't I want to put that little delight off for a while) I'd like to thank the good folks at http://www.whoateallthepies.tv/ who have named The H List as their Blog of the Week.
I'd also like to thank our back 4 whose perfectly timed year long career sabbatical has provided a rich seam of comedy gold.
Anyway, backwards and downwards...
2. The History
I'm afraid that things don't look all that bright for us in terms of a win tomorrow. Everton tend to play pretty well at our place and indeed our last win over them at Upton Park was in 2002 courtesy of a Trevor Sinclair goal. My recollection of that night is that it was freezing cold and the game would have benefitted hugely from some sort of mild distraction like sky diving squirrels or an influx of locusts, such was the boredom.
The game last year was an enjoyable 2-2 draw highlighted by a rare outbreak of Marlon Harewood not being inept when faced with an opposition goalkeeper. It was also notable as Shaun Newton came on and I didn't vomit up my small intestine as a result.
Our earlier encounter this season ended in an abject 2-0 defeat at their place. (Note: I just have that line saved to my clipboard nowadays).
3. The Opposition
Everton are one of those teams that never ever excite you, but never ever make it easy. They are filled with players who could charitably be called "ballast" and yet sit proudly in 5th place mocking our over paid, under exerted, sweat avoiders.
If rumours are to be believed, Phil Neville is playing fantastically for them, something which just hurts my spleen to type.
And of course, there is Andy Johnson.
AJ, as he should never be known, has gained many plaudits for his chivalrous decision to stop falling over everytime somebody looks at him askew. I suppose it is churlish (for I am a churl) to criticise somebody for trying to improve his image, but a man of my lofty principles simply cannot stoop to praising a fellow for cheating less than he used to.
4. Where Do We Go From Here?
Quite what Curbishley plans to do in order to prevent a hat trick of alarming 3 goal defeats is way beyond the simple grasp of a man such as myself. Looking back over some old H List entries I note that I have been randomly calling for change all season with little noticeable foresight.
For instance, I have had Marlon Harewood in and out of the side all year. I don't know what I want right now but shaking him all about would at least complete the set.
Apparently Anton Ferdinand is set to return to the side after a groin strain, presumably sustained in the process of not preventing Jon Fucking Stead from scoring against us last week. As far as I'm concerned, unless his groin muscle fell out of his leg during the game then injury is no excuse....
5. Luis, Luis
I'm afraid that Boa Morte gets his own section this week on account of putting in the least effective performance I have ever seen from a West Ham player on Wednesday night. And that is really saying something considering I watched Richard Garcia's career from start to interminable finish.
What on earth has happened to this guy? He used to be so average, which is several levels above his current status. Against Chelsea he was faced by Lassana Diarra, a player who is comprised entirely of pasta, and failed to do anything even vaguely competent. At half time Mourinho replaced Diarra with Paolo Ferreira, possibly for a bet, and the pair promptly spent the next 45 minutes falling over in some sort of Portugese synchronised diving ritual.
Never buy anything in the January sales. Especially not from Harrods.
6. Here Are My Straws, Wanna Clutch At 'Em?
The ever positive Curbs believes that 3 consecutive wins could still see us safe which at least proves that the supply of hard drugs into the East End hasn't dried up.
Not that this column is renowned for an excess of positivity but our last 4 games yielded just 4 points in the corresponding fixtures last year. Don't get me wrong though, I'm delighted that he appears to have moved on from giving team talks that consist entirely of him lying on the floor yelling "We're all doomed!".
7. Hit The North!
Our last 4 games are against teams from the North West of England. It will surprise absolutely nobody to learn that we have mustered just 3 points from games against teams from this region all year. In keeping with the general insanity of our performances however, those 3 points did come against Manchester United.
So the title of this piece should really be "Gently prod the North" or "Could you at least tickle the North?".....