Sweet win at Toffees offers pre-derby cheer

I ALWAYS look forward to the annual Everton expedition. Like a comfortable pair of battered old shoes, Goodison Park remains a Coronation Street-style people’s palace, compared to the modern glass and steel aesthetics of the Gunners’ iconic Canary Wharf-like atheneum.

Some jocular banter with the Scousers and best of all, skipping round Stanley Park, heading back to Lime Street station with three points in the bag, made the traditional Sunday train delays bearable.

Moyes was spot on about neither side being at their best, but I’m certainly not bellyaching about it. It’s been a while since we awoke on a Monday morning to find the Gunners breathing down the neck of the league leaders. While the table may never lie, the more avid spectators will confirm that the Wenger Boys still look short of convincing title-winning material.

I almost felt sorry for Wolves last Wednesday, their evening spoiled by a first and last minute Chamakh attack that once again left Mick’s Black Country boys feeling deservedly hard done by. And if Everton had pulled a goal back on Sunday with a little more time left on the clock, we might have collected two points, instead of six, from forays north these past few days.

Instead of which, our annual St Totteringham’s Day festivities suddenly hove into view, with their customary inevitable feel, as we soar into second, five places and seven points to the good of Harry Redknapp’s ‘glory, glory’ wannabes. On the face of it, with our squad returning to something resembling full-strength, with Van Persie and Walcott cooling their heels on the bench, everything appears rosy.

So why am I not feeling more a flutter with excitement?

Sure, Cesc Fabregas finished Everton off in fine style on Sunday, with the culmination of a sadly all-too-rare flourish of dainty “pass and move” football at it’s very best. However considering how accustomed we’ve grown to Fabregas being the Gunners creative fulcrum, it’s disconcertingly evident that the Arsenal’s formerly shy and retiring skipper has developed into an altogether more resentful creature.

It’s not the occasional evidence of the Gunners biting back that bothers me, as many might contend that is long overdue. However Cesc’s couple of rash tackles coupled with his recent relentless tendency to try pick the perfect through ball might all be construed as evidence of his personal Barca frustrations boiling over negatively.

I was gutted when Howard denied Samir Nasri a potential goal of the season on Sunday, following the midfielder’s mazy run from inside his own half. Hopefully with Nasri and Wilshere stepping into the limelight, we’ll no longer be so reliant on the prompting of our Spanish pass-master.

It’s when our backs are against the wall that any underlying bitterness is more likely to manifest itself. I hope time proves me wrong, but truth be told, I’d rather Cesc packed his bags for the Nou Camp than to have him trash so many wonderful memories, should we have to spend the duration questioning whether our skipper’s heart has long since departed London N5.

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