Cardiff City vs Everton
Everton make the journey to South Wales on Saturday looking for their first league win of the season. The match against Cardiff will be far from easy, with the Bluebirds still celebrating their fantastic 3-2 win over Manchester City last weekend.
The ninety minutes of football will be a welcome relief for Evertonians, with the majority of Blues concerned for the ongoing future of Baines and Fellaini in an Everton shirt. Both are expected to play, but with Manchester United continuing to show interest, it may well be a farewell performance for two players who have served Everton tremendously for the last six and five years respectively.
Roberto Martinez has certainly decided that he needs to focus his attentions on football and used his pre-match press conference to once again air his frustrations at this ridiculous situation. How can teams prepare for a Premier League season, when three weeks into the campaign they are in danger of losing two of their better players?
“I said last night after the game, I am not going to talk about stories and speculation. We are at the end of the transfer window and we will have to cope with those stories. We can’t lose focus and we must concentrate on the games.
“I am not going to comment on anything on the transfer window, coming in or going out. If there is anything to say, the fans will be the first ones to know. We will let them know.” Roberto Martinez
On a positive not, Everton are almost at full strength for the fixture. Darron Gibson and Antolin Alcaraz have both returned to training, with Gibson having an outside chance of being involved, after getting a complete full season programme under his belt. Tony Hibbert made a successful return in the midweek fixture with Stevenage, while Ross Barkley has overcome the tiredness that forced his withdrawal on Wednesday.
Expected Starting Team: Howard; Baines, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin; Gibson, Fellaini, Barkley; Pienaar, Mirallas, Jelavic.
Everton have an average record against Cardiff, winning just twelve and losing thirteen, out of thirty-three fixtures. The clubs haven’t met in a competitive fixture since 1979, when Everton overcame the Welsh side 2-1 on aggregate in a League Cup tie. The last time they met in the top flight of English football was in April 1962, Everton emerging victorious 8-3 in an eleven goal thriller at Goodison Park. Roy Vernon was a hat-trick hero that day and Martinez will be hoping Everton are able to find their feet in front of goal after two relatively blunt performances against West Brom and Stevenage.
With no archive footage of previous Everton and Cardiff matches we have decided to pay our own little tribute to Baines and Fellaini by picking out their most memorable moments in an Everton shirt.
For Leighton Baines we have his free kick against Newcastle United last season
And for Fellaini it is this brilliant piece of skill against Manchester City