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[Archived] Everton v Rovers Preview

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Saturday 21st January 2012

Everton v Rovers @ Goodison Park, 15.00

On Saturday 21st January the Rovers take on Everton at 3pm at Goodison Park. Everton have been in the headlines themselves, with supporters’ protests against Kenwright and their board (without much of the media derision we have had to endure, of course). On Twitter there have been messages of support to Rovers fans and I have met quite a few Toffees who have sympathy for our current situation. But despite mutual sympathies between the clubs’ fans that may exist, this all goes out of the window on Saturday when we must battle for three precious points to try to claw our way out of our very own crisis.

When I recall this season’s home fixture against Everton I still feel frustrated, cheated and pretty gobsmacked by the end result. Quite how you can miss two penalties is beyond me, and to end up losing in the last minute to an Everton penalty was gut-wrenching. Hopefully the players will feel similarly, and will seek to put it right in the upcoming match. I feel heartened by the players’ determination and heart yesterday, and hope they follow it up with a similarly spirited performance. If we were to grab a win it would be the first back to back victory that Kean had presided over, so I’m certainly not holding my breath.

In the last 7 visits to Goodison the Rovers have a record of W2/D1/L4. The last time we won there was an opening day victory in August 2008, with an injury time winner from Andre Ooijer in Paul Ince’s first game in charge. The Yak was on the scoresheet for Everton that day, and it is a shame that he won’t have the opportunity to add his name to the scoresheet on Saturday due to his sending off yesterday and resulting three match ban.


Everton sit 9th in the home form guide, having W3/D1/L2 of their previous 6 home fixtures, gaining 10 points from a possible 18. In their last home game they lost 1:2 against Bolton. In yesterday’s game Everton held Aston Villa to a 1-1 draw at Villa Park, with substitute Anichebe equalising in the 69th minute. Rovers are currently in 18th position in the away form guide, which makes for dismal reading. Of our previous 6 outings we have obtained 4 points from a possible 18, with W1/D1/L4. It is satisfying to note that those 4 points came from Old Trafford and Anfield. It is also nice to note that the Rovers have won BOTH our previous away and home games, and we haven’t been able to say that for a while! I am clutching at straws but in this season of dismal statistics, I am going to clutch away where I can!

With Everton losing their previous home game to Bolton Wanderers, and Manchester City due to visit Goodison in the subsequent home match, it is likely that David Moyes will show determination to acquire three points from this fixture. Let’s hope Steve Kean manages to out think his fellow Scot. You never know.

Everton currently reside in 10th position in the Premier League, with 25 points. Rovers are in 17th position with 17 points, finally above the dotted line for the first time since September. Rovers have scored 32 goals, compared to the 21 of Everton. Only 5 teams (Man City, Man Utd, Spurs, Chelsea, and Arsenal) have scored more goals than Rovers!

By contrast, Everton have managed to limit goals conceded to 25, whereas we have conceded an eye watering 44 goals. Only Bolton Wanderers have conceded more goals (46). Yesterday Rovers became the unenviable holders of a new Premier League record – we are the first team to fail to keep a clean sheet for the 21 opening fixtures. (Although, actually we have not kept a clean sheet since April 2011) Will we further extend this record to 22 games without a clean sheet at Goodison on Saturday? Let’s hope not!

What to expect from Everton?

The Guardian’s Russell Kempson describes Everton as ‘out of sorts’, and they seem to have a rather extensive injury list at present, so perhaps this is a good time for Rovers to play them? The following players were not available for the Villa game yesterday: Jagielka, Osman, Barkley, Hibbert, Rodwell and Coleman.

Tim Cahill was Everton’s top goalscorer last season, with a total of nine. However, since December 2010 he has not scored for the club, although he came close at Villa Park to ending the drought. Whenever I hear facts like this I always feel like putting money on the player to break their drought against Rovers, it always seems to be the way! Mark Hughes is reportedly preparing a bid for Cahill, and he might be out to prove a point, although Moyes insists he is still part of his plans. Everton seem to be struggling to score goals this term, with the loss of their talisman Mikel Arteta (who scored THAT penalty against us back in August). This season, Everton’s leading scorers so far are Leighton Baines (3), Leon Osman (3) and Apostolos Vellios (3) but it doesn’t seem like any of their front-men are setting the world on fire. Hopefully, that’ll continue to be the case on Saturday.

Moyes has freshened things up in this window, despite well-publicised financial constraints, with the acquisition of Landon Donovan (on loan). He made his debut at Villa Park yesterday, and received praise for his performance. The team has been further strengthened by the arrival of Darron Gibson, who also made his debut for the Toffees yesterday. Young centre half Shane Duffy made his Premier league debut for Everton, after a loan at Scunthorpe, and the lad reportedly put in a good shift.

What to expect from Rovers?

I was thinking we'd grab the first goal, sit back and invite pressure until Everton pop up with the inevitable two goals close to and then deep into injury time. But Kean appears to be learning (finally) from matches against Sunderland and Newcastle, so maybe, just maybe we will manage to protect a lead?

Yakubu will miss out on playing against his old club due to his red card in yesterday’s game. With Kean’s instructions not to play Roberts due to “contractual issues” we cannot rely upon him to play the lone striker role. David Goodwillie played some decent football in the Fulham game yesterday, and he may get the nod again on Saturday. The Rovers team looked more threatening yesterday, benefitting from the pace of Olsson and Hoilett, particularly on the counter-attack. I would love to see a return to first-team action for Rochina, who made his Rovers debut in the fixture at Goodison last term and I seem to remember that he was our only highlight of a depressing game of football. If he manages to get a start on Saturday, hopefully he can show his strengths once again, and possibly penetrate Everton’s defence in the Yak’s absence.

I predict that Kean will stick with a 5-man midfield of Pedersen, Dunn, Petrovic, Nzonzi and Hoilett.

I hope Christopher Samba makes a return to the Rovers side, but have a feeling that he may no longer be a Rovers player by then (although literally every body part is crossed that he’ll be pulling on that blue and white shirt). If he isn’t playing we can call upon a CB pairing of Givet and Hanley (who is looking increasingly solid) and Olsson and Lowey can play LB and RB.

After the nightmare of two missed penalities against Everton in the home fixture, it is hoped that since our superb penalty-taker the Yak is out, there will be one or two players (at least) practising penalty-taking at the training ground this week.


With Everton's difficulties in finding the onion bag, I'm hoping for a cheeky 1-0 win for the Rovers and a long sought-after clean sheet. (Obviously yesterday's excitement rubbed off on me).


Tickets are still available at present (according to OneRovers) and are priced at £25 for adults, £18.75 for seniors and £12.50 for juniors.

One last thing

Come on Rovers! :rover:

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Isn't it fantastic what a difference 3 points at home can make?!

Excellent preview, roverwhelmed; let's hope your optimism is well-founded and that, irrespective of what [if anything] happens off the field this week, we did actually begin to turn a corner yesterday.

Even though I don't expect Everton to give us as much space as Fulham did yesterday and I agree with you in that Cahill's probably a stonewall cert to get one next Saturday, I'm with you; let's hope for a cheeky 1-0 win! I'm not bothered who gets it; just so long as we get those three points to narrow the gap on the likes of West Brom and Fulham and make it a 6- or 7-team mini-League at the bottom of the Premier League.

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Well done Roverwhelmed, great preview. Very difficult to forecast as so many things up in the air, this could be an eventfull week (probably not).

No yak next week, no 'proven' forward available...Hanley and Givet looking to be forming a partnership at CH, could it be a return to the Sam days and Samba at CF (if he's still here and his 'stomach cramps' have been sorted)!!

Young players have shown their value recently, with their pace and higher stamina levels.

Some of the older players putting great contributions in yesterday, Dunny, Peds, Robbo, Givet...does give me a bit of hope.


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I think the conundrum of who we play up front will be very interesting indeed. Could be Goodwillie, Samba, Formica or Rochina? If fit and willing, think I would just favour Samba, he's bound to occupy a couple of defenders, and will allow our attacking midfield to press on. Just think the rest, are just too light weight to lead the line. It wouldn't surprise me, if Samba might fancy a change too. Will be a good test of Kean's managerial capability. Will be happy if we can grab a point, though obviously we really need 3! If Samba is gone, then Goodwillie will play.

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  • Backroom

We dominated them at Ewood, and they really are a poor team, no matter what their league position is. Their football is truly, truly dire. Problem is, they're able to grind out wins and have a solid defence. This will be a tight one - 2-1 either way IMO, I'd say to Everton on the basis Kean's never won 2 games in a row in his managerial career and we struggle against teams that close down quickly in midfield (and at the very least Everton will do that).

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Brilliant preview!

The high from saturdays win has worn off (didn't take long..) and I really can see nothing but a dire game and Rovers to lose 1-0 or draw 1-1. It's easy to forget that Fulham had only won 1 game on the road before coming to Ewood and Everton at Goodison won't be giving us any freebies. All down to what team Kean fields on the day. I'd play essentially the same eleven that started against Fulham and let Formica or Rochina play up front in the absense of Yakubu. Guess it also depends on who will be available for selection (transfer out/in, injuries, "injuries" & contracts...).

Oh...and I'm with you on Cahill, m1st....considering putting a 10'er on him to score first!

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Excellent preview.

Goodison always a difficult place and I think we will do well to come away with a point.

Cahill is bound to score - all droughts seem to end against Rovers. McFadden & Saha also seem to like playing and scoring against Rovers.

Think it will be a difficult afternoon and don't expect to come away with anything better than a 3-1 loss.

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Moyes has freshened things up in this window, despite well-publicised financial constraints, with the acquisition of Landon Donovan (on loan). He made his debut at Villa Park yesterday, and received praise for his performance.

Unfortunately, Donovan could be a wild card in this match and Everton have generally lacked attacking punch but defence has been solid.

SEVEN wins for the Toffees vs. our 4. 4 really? that's all we have?


Donovan's player page.

Rovers, goals: 32 for, 44 against.

Toffees, goals: 21 for, 25 against.

So unfortunately, during Donovan's 2 month stay in the PL, he could break out against us, close to due.

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3 points would be nice.......

1, I'll be there to support the team.

2, I'll be there as wingman to bessy mate.

3, I'll be there to have a day/night out with my mates.

Punch & Judy pub is a good place to start near the train station. £1.60 a pint can't grumble.

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Samba with rochina playing just behind him. It's an interesting idea.....

Not a bad one! I wonder if Rochina could play the lone role up front? He has a bit of pace, a fine shot and is a strong lad, and would be able to float and drop deep imo quite well? Though on the other hand his positional sense is poor and he is not too good at distributing the ball which is pretty crucial for a target man....

Goodwillie will doubtless - barring a signing - get the shout. Not sure he is going to fare too well against a mean Everton back line. We shall see.

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Samba with rochina playing just behind him. It's an interesting idea.....

But we don't lump it forward as much anymore. The style of football on Saturday would have embarrassed Samba in a forward position.

Not a bad idea if we need a goal late on (particularly as Rochina is excellent at striking the ball, so he could profit from Samba knock downs) but it's not a starting tactic for me.

Goodwillie was good enough on Saturday to warrant a start, especially as he scored in his previous game as well. If it's not working then maybe we could go put Samba there.

Rochina as a lone front man is an absolute no for me. You need an outlet, especially away from home. Goodwillie did this quite well in the closing stages against Fulham.

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If there is one thing Kean is good at, it's killing optimism stone dead.

Which leads me to predict a defeat.

Everton are a decent side tho, although as said they do lack firepower. Let's hope we can actually string back to back wins together and finally build on a win.

Shame the Yak is suspended, must have been nailed on to bag one past his old club.

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Very good thoughtful review,

. Quite how you can miss two penalties is beyond me, and to end up losing in the last minute to an Everton penalty was gut-wrenching. Hopefully the players will feel similarly, and will seek to put it right in the upcoming match.

Really, it would feel like a lot of wrong would be righted with a win but it will be a challenge. Only one game, would be a great one to even up scores with.

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