Match Preview: Everton, in what really could be defined as a make or break game for our season

Some things are said too often in football about matches or players or tactics and results, but I don't think it wrong to say that this match on Sunday really could be make or break for us. If we lose, we're chasing two teams to get into the top four and if we win, we could be just three points off a top four place and Arsenal still have to play the top three.

So, this match preview is getting the same nervous approach to it as I feel about the match. Everton are on a good run, we're not and if there was ever a match where we needed it all to change, for the form book to be reversed, then this is it.


Just to put things into perspective, Everton have picked up eleven points from their last six match and we've picked up one and even though we are at home and we put in a pretty fantastic performance against Manchester United last time out, a neutral football fan would probably be putting money on Everton to win this.

If we lose, while mathematically we could still finish in the top four, I think we're going to have to accept that top four isn't for us this season but at the same time we have to be cheerful for the strides made by the team. If we win though, top four is very much still in the reckoning.

Now, you're probably thinking, it's only one game, even if we lose we still have a chance and like I've said, we would, mathematically, but if we can't beat Everton at home, our closest rivals in terms of breaking into the top four, then we've got to accept, in my opinion, that we're not ready.

But and here it comes, I fancy we could do it, do you want to know why? Doesn't matter, you're going to get it. First, Martin O'Neill has considered changing the formation back to 4-5-1 and second, if ever proof was needed that we are better in midfield with an extra man, then last weekends match against Manchester United is proof enough, if proof from the matches when we were playing 4-5-1 weren't enough!

I know some of you will say that we shouldn't be playing five in the middle at home and that we need two strikers, but Everton will be playing with five in the middle and if we don't they'll have an extra man and I don't need to list all the teams that have done that against us recently for you to know what will happen.

Okay, it's more 4-4-1-1 with Everton, but that is what Spurs play with Robbie Keane dropping back and Gabby and Carew are just not suited to that type of role - hence the need for 4-5-1 with a game plan of getting the ball out wide to Milner and Ashley or play quick balls down the channels for Gabby to run onto and then those other two, supporting.

The thing is, we don't know what Martin O'Neill is going to do on Sunday, he might not know yet and that part wouldn't surprise me. It's not an easy decision he has to make, simply because Carew is scoring but he probably knows that playing five in the middle is the best way for us to play, if only because the results speak for themselves.

There is one thing that I'm sure will get mentioned on the club site by one of the players and that is the twelfth man. The atmosphere at Villa Park on a good day really can make all the difference and if on Sunday there is that atmosphere, regardless of what formation O'Neill sends out, it can feel like there is an extra man on the pitch if only because it will give the players an extra 10%.

So, this really is a vital game and while it's not one that is going to define the season, although the league match at Goodison Park earlier this season might, if we win it could be the start of something special and if we lose, it's going to be very hard to see us finishing in the top four this season.

So, on Sunday, I'll be watching with an Everton fan who was quite happy with the last result and I hope I can throw it back in his face, because we'll be doing text updates here and on Twitter, so come back if you're not able to be at the match or watch it on TV, it might be fun.