Everton for the Cup, Chelsea for shopping

Well, ok, it’s not as good a taunt as the one hurled by Everton supporters during the famous come-from-behind 1966 FA Cup Final victory over Sheffield Wednesday — “Everton for the Cup, Wednesday for the middle of the week.” (That Final was attended by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and was recently rated the one of the five best ever).

But we’re not playing Sheffield Wednesday (now toiling in the lower half of England’s second tier league) in the Cup Final tomorrow; we’re playing Chelsea. And that’s a daunting prospect. I rate Chelsea, which was unlucky not to take down European Champions Barcelona, the third best club in Europe. I rate us somewhere between 25 and 30.

Moreover, England’s big four — Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal — have had a near strangle-hold on the FA Cup since Everton upset Man U in 1995. These four clubs have combined to win 12 of 13 Cups since then (Portsmouth won last year). And during this period, a big four club has won all seven Finals in which they played against a team outside of that elite group.

Finally, Everton will be playing without its best defender (Phil Jagielka), its best midfielder (Mikel Arteta), and its best striker (Yacubu). However, Artetal and Yacubu have been out for much of the year and Joey Yobo, who will replace Jagielka, rarely let us down during his years as a starter.

The bottom line is that we can play with Chelsea — we tied them in both matches this year — but we don’t match them for quality. And with Chelsea fired up after their controversial loss to Barcelona, and anxious to avoid a trophy-less season, it will take a maximum effort, and maybe a little luck, to duplicate the famous victories of 1995 and 1966, and the less famous victory of 1984.

In that spirit, let us sing:

Good-bye Upper Parlie
Farewell Clayton Square
It’s a long long way to Wem-ber-ley
But Everton are there,

We shall not, we shall not be moved
We shall not, we shall not be moved
Just like a team that’s going to win the FA Cup
We shall not be moved.


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