Everton travelled east for a 3rd Round League Cup tie with Leeds United at Elland Road and Moyes made SIX changes from the magnificent Swansea slayers, handing a senior debut to Junior and retaining Anichebe up front. Not a single solitary English player in Everton's starting line-up, despite the very English weather....
Leeds won some early free-kicks but nothing of substance came of them. But Gueye lazily misjudged a clearance into midfield, White picked up the ball, danced forward beating four statuesque Everton defenders and simply lashed an unstoppable shot past Mucha into the top corner. Not the most auspicious start for the Blues...
Oviedo and Mirallas both played balls into touch as this side appeared not to know eachother. Fellaini caught a Leeds player and it was another, more dangerous free-kick defended away but Leeds kept pressing.
Anichebe did get past the Leeds defence but his first touch let him down and his shot from the byeline was simply ridiculous. Fellaini was again profligate in giving away another free-kick as he struggled a little settling back into a deeper role, although at least the Everton defence started to get a grip.
A poor Leeds backpass, Anichebe ran in on keeper Ashdon and got a ball whacked in the solar plexus for his efforts. Oviedo was having trouble getting used to the pace of things, misplacing his paces badly, as Everton laced the cohesion and could do little by way of joined-up stuff.
Leeds were just a step faster and brighter than a distinctly flat Everton side lacking in leadership, perhaps, without the likes of Neville and Osman! Heitinga gave away the ball shockingly and then did a ridiculous body-check on Becchio for another dangerous free-kick, lashed too hard at the far corner of the goal but but high and wide.
Finally, nice play from Oviedo, a lively cross fired in to Anichebe a little sooner than he expected and too close to him for a decent shot that careened wide. That brought some more sustained pressure from the Blues in possession around the Leeds area but no real chance created, with poor crosses and poor first touches. Junior invisible, unmentioned in the comms.
Anichebe was taken out by someone but nothing given. Oviedo was finally settling in better down the left, starting to do a good Baines impression, and was unlucky to be called offside on an excellent run into space. But Leeds made the next raid, some neat interplay ending in a shot at Mucha.
Another disjointed Everton attack broke down, Mirallas another one who was not seeing anything of the ball. Pearce got a bloody eye in ahead clash with Naismith. Diouf won a corner that Becchio headed at the stationary Mucha, and it needed Naismith to scoope the bouncing ball right off the line, bringing to an end a shockingly poor half for Everton in which they failed to have a single shot on goal. Changes at half-time? What proactive decisions will Moyes Make to rectify this one?
Neville and Pienaar on to replace Junior and Gueye, who had been poor/anonymous, with Fellaini moving forward.
Mirallas lashed out with his elbow and was lucky not to be severely disciplined. Pienaar wasted a chance, lashing a poor block back to him well over the bar when he had the time to do a lot better with it. Everton won a free kick lofted in from the right and headed high by Fellaini. At the other end, a chance for Tonge that he drove well wide.
A much better move Pienaar to Anichebe who picked out Naismith at the far post but his free header was poor in the extreme. But Everton were finally starting to gel, Anichebe trying to recreate his smart turn and shot that screwed across goal and wide.
Pienaar was chopped down badly by Brown who deservedly went in the book. Jelavic warming up, will he replace Naismith? Yes: 65th minute. Strange that Moyes puts little faith in their old Rangers partnership...
Corner for Leeds resulted in a bit of a scramble and another corner that Everton could not clear. Leeds with a free-kicka nd corner biut it finally broke for Everton but they could not retain possession and eventually Coleman had to make the foul and Diuof set up the the easiest of goals for Leeds, played back to Pugh who slow shot through the crowd allowed Austin to deflect it just inside the corner of the goal. Shocking defending.
Fellaini did well with a trademark chest-down and turn but Jelavic was far from strong enough to test Ashdown. Oviedo went in the book for a tackle form behind and more pressure from teh free-kick, Distin forced to give away a corner that Diouf had fun with, scrapping with Pienaar.
Leeds were now dictating the game and taunting Everton come at them, with time running out. Diouf then set about outsmarting Heitinga, who could only foul him from behind: yellow card. Pienaar resorted to a lazy poor shot from distance that was well off target.
Finally, something meaningful from Everton, Distin got on the end of a free-kick headed on by Anichebe and looped a header into the far corner of the net over Ashdown to but the Blues back in contention, but still needing one more goal to force extra time.
Fellaini strode forward and tried a shot from distance that Pearce deflected out with his shoulder, Blues screaming for Handball. From the corner Jelavic headed at the keeper. Leeds attacked but it broke down and Everton came forward, Mirallas winning a corner but the shot from ??? was hopeless.
Tom Lee came off worst scrapping with Anichebe and he ended up with a head bandage. Everton pressed again, with time now really running down, Anichebe was blatantly pulled down by Pearce going for a falling ball but no penalty from Lee Mason, who booked Fellaini for his part in a handbags session as frustration took their toll.
Neville was the next forced to foul Diouf and give away another free-kick at the other end, Diouf, wasting minutes down at the corner, he wuld rightly earn Man of the Match, as White was carded for a foul and last chance for Everton, Pienaar's free-kick lofted in and grasped thankfully by Ashdown to end the match and end another dreadful cup campaign for David Moyes.
What a stunning contrast to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday... Moyes will rightly get the blame for breaking one of his own cardinal rules: making too many changes to a winning team that played in the first half like uncoordinated strangers.
They've probably forgotten what it's like after 10 successive home ties in all competitions but Everton are on the road this evening for a Capital One Cup away tie with Leeds United. Bidding for a place in the Fourth Round again, the Blues will be hoping to carry through the impressive attacking that destroyed Swansea and make short work of the Championship side.
The surprise news on the eve of this tie is that Nikica Jelavic has been passed fit, just a week after it was estimated that he could face as many as three weeks on the sidelines with shin injury he sustained against Newcastle United. With the swelling gone, the injury was clearly not as bad as first feared and the Croatian is available for selection.
Whether he is named in the starting XI at Elland Road is another question and it's likely that David Moyes will be looking to give him extra time to fully recover by naming him on the substitute's bench at the most.
Victor Anichebe, in goalscoring form and showing signs of finally fulfilling his potential, is a good bet to make his third successive start, with perhaps Steven Naismith also getting the nod in either a wide or forward role.
Junior's omission from the U21s side that beat Blackburn last night could be an indication that he will get his first competitive action in the senior side at some stage of the proceedings, Bryan Oviedo will also be hoping to see some more action after making a brief cameo at the Liberty Stadium at the weekend, and Sylvain Distin is in the contention after being rested in favour of John Heitinga.
Darron Gibson (knee) and Tony Hibbert (calf) are still out injured.
Leeds, managed by Neil Warnock, the manager who gave England international Phil Jagielka his break in the game, may have to do without captain Lee Peltier who is battling to overcome a knee injury of his own. David Norris and Phil Green are ruled out, though, for the side currently occupying 12th position in English football's second tier.
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|LEEDS UTD (4-4-2)|
|Subs not used|
|Naismith (65' Jelavic)|
|Gueye (46' Neville)|
|Junior (46' Pienaar)|
|Subs not used|