As the Premier League returns this weekend and with a day to go before the end of the January transfer window, Everton face a trip to the outskirts of London as they take on Watford away this Saturday.
After being an innocuous fixture for many years, Watford and Everton have a strained relationship these days after the Marco Silva controversy and then the Blues pursuit and eventual signing of Richarlison from the Hornets.
I’ve got a lot of fond memories of Everton v Watford matches in the past. It was these opponents that the Toffees beat in the FA Cup final back in 1984, a victory that ushered in the Blues most successful era ever. I also remember a 4-0 win against them at Goodison during that following 84-85 season as Everton ran away with the league championship.
Anyway enough of my wanderings down memory lane! This game should be one that Everton will win and comfortably if they play to their potential, but then that has been the case with so many matches this team have played. It was also true of last weeks insanely frustrating 2-2 draw at home against Newcastle United.
That game highlighted all the chronic issues that this team have. The inability to defend set-plays, a propensity for making individual errors at crucial moments and a collective brittleness of mind that often proves so costly.
These problems can’t be overcome without a culture change, a lot of work on the training ground and probably substantial further changes to a playing squad that has had plenty of upheavals.
For the moment, let’s hope that the current players have got that result against Newcastle out of their system and they can take the positives from that performance into this match.
There were plenty of positives too. Everton played extremely well, dominated the match and were full value for their two goal lead with just a few minutes to go.
One of the things that was most pleasing about that game was the way that strikers Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Moise Kean combined so well together. It’s something I have been wanting to see for quite a while and gives Everton another option in attack.
Returning to the game at Vicarage road, the Blues have had a boost with news that Richarlison is looking like he might be fit to play against his former club. In addition it looks as though Alex Iwobi will also be available as well.
More from Prince Rupert's Tower
Everton really do need to win this game and get back on track after two irritating draws. If the Brazilian forward is fit then I would expect him to start alongside Calvert-Lewin again with Kean back on the bench as this seems to be Carlo Ancelotti’s preferred combination up front.
The Toffees opponents have had a tough season and will struggle to stay in the Premier League come the end of the campaign. In particular they have found it difficult to score enough goals and have a very poor disciplinary record as well.
Watford will be desperate for the points too themselves, so given their playing style I guess that means we should expect a pretty physical and abrasive match on Saturday. I think as long as the Blues players can keep their concentration, (a big ask), they should have more than enough quality to secure the three points..?!