Blues stroll on
Everton easily saw off European hopefuls Sunderland with plenty left in the tank. Two goals from Beckford, the first after great work by Leon Osman, the second by even greater stuff from a rejuvenated Mikel Arteta, was enough for the points. A clean sheet too, the first in 13 games, was a bonus as Everton enter a period of winnable games.
Possibly confident after the heroics at Chelsea, the Blues looked comfortable throughout and it was a surprise that we ended with just the Beckford brace. But the feelgood factor was most evident and Everton played without the usual weight on their shoulders.
Birmingham's Carling Cup win against Arsenal has closed the door on a Europa Cup for the 6th place team so any slim hopes of reaching Europe through that route looks to have been dashed. So we will just have to win the cup! Famous last words, perhaps, with a danger of complacency against a Reading side that came to Merseyside last year and put out the Dark Side. Waiting in the wings will be the winners of the Man City/Aston Villa match. Should we progress (please, please) my preference would be Villa. An odd call, perhaps, given that we have won the last 4 at City and haven't won in years at Villa. But Villa Park in the cup has been good to us and the tea-leaves say that is where we will fare best.
Injury doubts to Fellaini, Saha and Beckford could leave Moyesie with a selection headache though Billy has hit a bit of form, Cahill is chomping at the bit to get back in the team and Jack Rodwell looked a class act when he replaced Fellaini against Sunderland. New signing Vellios is rumoured to be in the squad.