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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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Premier League: Sheffield United vs Everton; Christmas footie is here!

It is the most wonderful time of the year because there is loads of football to watch and it’s Christmas if you didn’t know.

This year has been awful to put it bluntly, but the footie has given a lot of us something to be excited about and actually look forward to.

So, a bit of that during Christmas cannot go wrong especially for the people of Merseyside.

For the blue half it has been a full year under the Italian Carlo Ancelotti and things are only just getting started for him.

In the Champions League places at Christmas shows a massive improvement and it has delighted all Everton fans in the city and worldwide.

Three wins on the bounce against some tough opposition and Arsenal in the league has seen The Blues back competing near the top end and now they need to perform against opposition who are not at their level to stay in and around the business end of the table.

Sheffield United, rock bottom of the table, welcome Everton to Bramall Lane and on paper it should be another three points for Everton.

But that is exactly why the fans will probably be more worried about this game than the ones against Chelsea and Leicester City.

Everton’s poor run of form in the league this season was against teams that they realistically should be beating and after building such brilliant momentum the last thing they want is to throw it all away.

There could have been ever more momentum if Everton had managed to reach the league cup semi-final in midweek, but a poor performance saw them bow out of the competition. 

Everton were second best from the first whistle in the contest and never got going at all in the 90 minutes meaning the trophy wait continues until they start their FA Cup journey in January.

But now the main focus in all on the league and James Rodriguez could help with that.

The hope was that  he will be ready for the Boxing day game but there has  confirmation that he willl miss the next two games  so he will be out for a fifth successive game whilst manager Ancelotti said after the mid-week game that Richarlison is ok after his hefty collision with Eric Bailly.

So, we will have to wait and see if the Brazilian will start.

One player who is confirmed to start is Jordan Pickford as Robin Olsen started against Manchester United.

The Swedish international seems to be getting favoured a bit more in recent weeks but Ancelotti is insistent that it is for rotating reasons rather than anything else, Olsen had a solid game against Manchester United, but his distribution was questioned so Pickford may just edge him at this moment in time.

Everton’s opponents will be looking to build some momentum themselves due to finally getting another point last weekend against Brighton and also after putting in a solid display against Solskjaer’s team getting beat only 3-2.

The Blades are seriously lacking goals at the moment even after spending big on Liverpool’s academy starlet Rhian Brewster who has fallen out of favour.

He would love nothing more though to score his first Premier League goal against his ex-local rivals and with the schedule being as packed as it is he may get the chance to impress manager Chris Wilder who has favoured tried and trusted David McGoldrick and Ollie McBurnie.

But anyway.

It is another game of 22 fellas kicking a ball about in the strangest year of all.

We all love it no matter the circumstances but on Boxing day after one too many Christmas sherries it’s always that bit better, unless your team lose obviously.

Merry Christmas to all you blue noses and don’t fall akip before the games on, it’s a late kick off.

Have a belter!

Written by Elliot Thompson

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