Several managers (including Harry Redknapp) have spoken recently about the distraction of the FA Cup. Whilst I can understand their sentiment it was also refreshing to hear that Roberto Martinez is well up for it. When he was asked whether he preferred to focus on the league campaign or the FA Cup he responded something like:
Shut up and ask me a real question, we’re gonna win both
In all reality though, for the manager than currently holds the cup he could not have answered any other way. Yes we are performing admirably in the league but all supporters, and particularly Everton supporters love a good trip down Wembley way.
Does He Really Mean It?
I would suggest yes. Martinez has already shown at times this season that his squad rotation policy is solid, bringing players in and out when necessary. This policy of rotating players means we have maybe five or six players who would be tagged squad players can can come into the team tomorrow having played some games this season. Here I am thinking the likes of Robles, Ovideo, Stones, Osman, Naismith and Jelavic, all of whom should be more than capable of helping to defeat QPR.
Rotation will give the likes of Lukaku, Pienaar, Baines, Barkley, Mirallas and Howard to either rest on the bench or in the stands, and more than one of the named have shown they need this rest. It will also allow this fringe players to stake their claim for a more regular starting berth (either in the league, or the cup should we progress).
After this game we move back to the regular weekly schedule of the usual Premier League campaign after playing half the season in two weeks of December, so the week off should be ample rest top continue our push for top four.
QPR Will Rotate Too
Harry Redknapp has said that he will rotate his squad to allow players to rest for their potential promotion campaign. On the face of it this is great news for Everton, as making a Championship side even weaker should mean a walk in the park, shouldn’t it? In theory yes, but let’s not forget the players that come in will have the same motivation and appetite as the Everton players coming in. They will want to stake their claims for regular starting spots, and the FA Cup has been the springboard for many players before.
Robles, Hibbert, Alacaraz, Stones, Baines, Naismith, Osman, McCarthy, Barry, Ovideo, Jelavic
All in all I can see a comfortable win here, going out on a limb I would suggest a win by at least 3 goals.
Come On You Blues!