All due respect to Bolton vs Watford, the biggest game of the weekend is undoubtedly the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon. But you wouldn’t know it from the way the league has treated it.
Mark Lawrenson took a break from speaking nonsense to point out that, this being so early in the season, neither side has had the time to gather any momentum or make enough progress to raise the stakes beyond a simple derby match. To take the wind out of the sails even further, the match comes on the back of a two week international break. Thanks to Steven Gerrard’s mediocre performance against Macedonia, we don’t even have the hype that usually accompanies him into this fixture but have ‘goal-machine’ Peter Crouch instead.
The early kickoff is also an insult to the occasion. Its practically still morning which means people are not going to be at their best, if they’ve even found their way home yet from the previous night out. The time is also quite annoying for home fans due to the traffic backlog that will no doubt appear mid-morning around Scotland Road while it will also be potentially problematic for the travelling Liverpool support. Getting up early to wade through masses of equally grumpy supporters and Kopites is not ideal. Getting a few drinks in before the match is something that should be enjoyed, not rushed.
The coup de grace is that somehow the league has determined that laughing stock, disgraced World Cup referee, and general clown Graham Poll is the best man to make a complete hash of this mach. The last Merseyside derby this man was in charge of resulted in two reds and six yellows with the only positive out of it being that he at least managed to hand them out to the correct people at the correct time.
At a time where the league really needs to be making all the right noises about the action on the pitch, they’ve done their utmost to ensure this one loses its usual luster.