Just looking at the above image makes me sad. When the trophy is presented to this years winners on 30th May it will be 20 years and 10 days since we won a trophy. That is simply too long for a club of the stature and history of Everton Football Club.
History of course counts for nothing on the pitch tomorrow however, and the team are looking to do more than just progress in this particular competition.
The Blues have been consistently poor this season with only flashes of last seasons progress. These flashes have lasted no more than 45 minutes in any game (Arsenal, QPR and Wolfsberg come to mind), with fitness seeming to be an issue in the second half of games.
Everton will be looking to use the next few games as a springboard to a much improved second half of the season. The next 5 games provide an opportunity for the staff, players and fans to unite to pull the club in the right direction with home games including Man City and Liverpool tied in with tomorrow’s night game in the cup, the atmosphere should be electric, which has been lacking this season.
Some great news today with Roberto confirming that both Kevin Mirallas and John Stones are fit enough to play, however James McCarthey still misses out with a continuing issue with his hamstring.
I would suggest that Martinez will continue to tinker with the side in trying to find the right formula, but for us they key still is getting players in their natural (or as close to) positions. This means wide players wide and central players central.
If we are to continue with 4-2-3-1 as seems to be the preferred formation then for me the team should be:
Robles, Coleman, Baines, Jagielka, Stones, Besic, Barkley, McGeady, Mirallas, Naismith, Lukaku.
If however we play with 3 at the back in a 3-5-1-1 as we did at Hull it’s likely to be:
Robles, Coleman, Baines, Jagielka, Alcaraz, Stones, Besic, Barkley, Mirallas, Naismith, Lukaku.
This formation would have Naismith and Mirallas in the wider of the central positions and Barkley supporting Lukaku.
West Ham are definitely without Alex Song, Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho who are all away at the African Cup of Nations, whilst James Tomkins is also a doubt after injuring his ankle in training.
Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan will likely play a part though giving power to the midfield and attack, something which Everton have struggled with this season.
Ricardo Vaz Te and Matt Jarvis are also expected to play.
Sam Allardyce: “We haven’t had the results we wanted recently, but I think the performances have still been very good. We’ll play the strongest team available against Everton.”
“I think we wouldn’t have been able to play a strong team if we were playing on Saturday, having played on Thursday,”
We are going for a 2-1 win for Everton as I can’t see us keeping a clean sheet at the moment. Our betting partner William Hill currently has 2-1 at 15/2, and new accounts can get a FREE £25 matched bet using promo code F25 on sign up.