Leighton Baines has recovered from a knock picked up at Hull
Four days after Romelu Lukaku's last-ditch equaliser kept the Wembley dream alive, the Blues are back at Goodison Park for the visit of the reigning Champions, Manchester City, for a fixture that has been a source of inspiration for Everton sides in recent years.
The Toffees have lost just two of their last 10 home matches against City, the last of which coming last season, of course, with a game that the Citizens had to win and one that was — Ross Barkley's stunning goal aside — essentially meaningless for Roberto Martinez's side, given that their own Champions League hopes had largely been extinguished by then.
The stakes are significantly higher for Everton this time around, with Martinez hoping to use the injury-time heroics on Tuesday evening of his record signing as a shot in the arm for his side's faltering Premier League campaign. Initially deemed a potentially useful distraction from the League, the cup tie against West Ham could yet prove to be a pivot point for the Blues that arrests a worrying run of form dating back to their last significant cup action in the Europa League in late November.
Four successive defeats has seen Everton fall out of European contention and into the clutch of teams looking over their shoulder at the struggle against relegation that is forming below them. They will start the weekend just four points above Crystal Palace in 18th place while there is a yawning 13-point gap to the top four, a goal that is now, realistically, beyond Martinez's men this season.
Having avoided a fifth straight loss in all competitions by the skin of their teeth, the Blues have the considerable task of rallying themselves for what is, on paper, their biggest test since the reverse fixture against Manuel Pellegrini's side a little over a month ago. Coming in the wake of a 2-1 defeat at Spurs and a frustrating home draw with Hull, the Blues' performance at the Etihad Stadium against an unusually subdued City was flat and uninspiring, with a belated flurry to salavage a point the only flicker of resemblance to the Everton of last season.
Getting back the confidence and fearlessness that was a hallmark of the Blues' best moments in 2013-14 is going to be key to their chances of staging a recovery from the setback over the last six to seven weeks and there's no better occasion than a game against the likes of title-chasing City to start.
They'll have to do it without midfield linchpin, James McCarthy, who has been sorely missed recently but is again ruled out as he recovers from a hamstring injury. The midfielder hasn't figured in the last two games after being withdrawn at half time at St James' Park but his manager told the press today that the club believes they have resolved his long-standing problems.
Also missing will be Darron Gibson, Steven Pienaar, Tony Hibbert, Leon Osman, Tim Howard and the latest injury casualty, Sylvain Distin. The French defender came off with 20 minutes to go against West Ham on Tuesday night with a groin strain and his place in the squad will be taken by Antolin Alcaraz who returns following a one-match ban.
Distin's place in the starting XI is likely to be filled by John Stones, though, after the 20 year-old made his second comeback from ankle surgery as a substitute against the Hammers. He played the full 90 minutes against Stoke City on Boxing Day but took two knocks to the ankle on which he had surgery in October and was given time to recover again before being risked.
Elsewhere in the side, though, Martinez will probably keep things largely unchanged, with the exception of Leighton Baines coming back in at left back at the expense of Bryan Oviedo. The Costa Rican played a crucial role in the equaliser in the cup but will likely make way for his more experienced teammate... that is unless his manager decides to give Gareth Barry a rest and deploys Baines in central midfield.
Somewhat dauntingly, City come to Goodison on a 13-match unbeaten run that stretches back to the 8th of November when they followed up a 2-1 Champions League loss to CSKA Moscow with a 2-2 draw at QPR. Since then, they have shown further defensive vulnerability against the likes of Sunderland, Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup but also the resilience to win two of those last three games.
They will have been boosted by the news that both Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero are back in training this week but either start the game remains to be seen. Aguero has been out of action since limping off early in the first meeting with Everton last month and the assumption is that he is more likely to make his return against Arsenal next weeked than be risked against the Blues. Dzeko, the scorer of two goals in this fixture in May, is the more probable starter of the two.
Irrespective of who starts for City, it is imperative that Everton tighten up at the back where they have been conceding sloppy goals at an alarming rate of late. They will also need some of the harrying and pressing in midfield that has served Blues teams so well in these kinds of games over the years. And, of course, they will need to find more attacking fluency and potency than has been the case at times this season.
With their eyes on the cup replay at Upton Park and the home clash with West Brom after that, many Evertonians are treating this as a bonus game but this could prove to be a vitally important match for Everton if they can pull off a result. They have the talent to do so; can they find the gumption and the guile?
Kick off: 3pm
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Reports
Reader Comments (116)
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1 Posted 09/01/2015 at 00:59:34
2 Posted 09/01/2015 at 06:35:12
Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines
Mirallas, Besic, Oviedo
Bench: Eto'o, McGeady, Barkley, Alcaraz, Kone and somebody, anybody, who can play keeper in a pinch.
Barry to cover the back 4 and make that first pass to get us upfield. Mirallas and Naismith interchangeable, same on the other side with Oviedo and Rom.
3 Posted 09/01/2015 at 07:06:56
4 Posted 09/01/2015 at 07:10:31
5 Posted 09/01/2015 at 07:17:22
6 Posted 09/01/2015 at 07:56:13
7 Posted 09/01/2015 at 08:02:26
Having stones back should in theory inspire a better defensive display. Personally I'd say Barry has to be dropped, and I'd play Baines in the middle with Oviedo at left back. I know their are mixed views on Baines' capacity to perform as a CM, but he's only as bad as Barry surely? His passing is better I think, and he's definitely more mobile. Play him alongside Besic, With Mirallas left and McGeady right. Naismith to replace McGeady if he proves ineffective.
8 Posted 09/01/2015 at 08:34:33
I guess somebody has to keep what physio's we have left in a job, they must be chuffed with Gibson and Pienaar.
I agree though, you can't even get excited anymore about Gibson returning to action because you just know less than 6 games later he's down for another few months with a so-called "minor knock" .
Both him and Pienaar need putting out to grass in the summer, along with a few other's.
Its a scary though tomorrow even a half fit rusty Aguero up against Jagielka.
Anymore farting around in defence and we will get torn to shreds because you can't allow players of City's quality to have the helping hand that we dish out in most games.
Tomorrow has to be a virtually faultless display from EVERYONE.
The question is, are we capable of a performance of such near perfection?
You'd have to say no at the present moment.
I'd say a draw would be a good result but it's another game without a win making it 1 win in 11, we really need to win some matches soon.
9 Posted 09/01/2015 at 08:43:09
10 Posted 09/01/2015 at 08:41:36
Coleman Stones Jagielka Oviedo
Besic Barry Baines
GK, Garbutt, Alcaraz, Naismith, McGeady, Eto'o, Kone.
City dominate possession in front of a team so this is the thinking of the 'defensive' midfield with Baines left of center for Zabaleta and Besic the same for Kolarov on the other side. Barkley to tuck back in when they have it and the license to roam when we have it. Mirallas pulling wide and for the threat in behind and Lukaku coming of the front like against WHU.
11 Posted 09/01/2015 at 08:40:48
That would be Mcgeady substituted in the warm up then, he's fucking hopeless and should be sold as soon as possible.
As for the result? Depends on what philosophy Barcelona Bobby decides on. Tipy tapy and we get a mauling. Direct in their faces and we stand a chance.
I'm not holding my breath!
12 Posted 09/01/2015 at 08:52:37
13 Posted 09/01/2015 at 08:47:10
Against the Hammers we just about papered over some glaring cracks in our team and a team like Man City will expose them further. The only way we can get something from this game is to get at them for 90 minutes and we are clearly not fit enough for that.
14 Posted 09/01/2015 at 09:26:02
I have to say that the general negativity on here and at the games recently is fucking pathetic. The latter makes it 10 times harder for the players to perform and some supprt and encouragement would go a long way.
15 Posted 09/01/2015 at 09:39:52
I would prefer to have Oviedo as DM rather than Baines or Barry for that matter.
But if the WHU Lukaku+ turns up and gives them a severe beasting the corner could, just could be turned...but this is Everton.
16 Posted 09/01/2015 at 09:54:25
McCarthy is sorely missed.Funnily enough I've got a optimistic feeling about the next two games, allowing for no injuries that is. I hope to see a full Old Lady tomorrow. When times are challenging is when you prove you are a supporter. We can bellyache on here to relieve out feelings. COYB.
17 Posted 09/01/2015 at 10:20:29
18 Posted 09/01/2015 at 10:26:44
I just can't see us getting anything out of this, I'd dance round the living room if we come away with a 0-0 draw.
19 Posted 09/01/2015 at 09:21:19
Naismith or McGeady on the right but I hope we get a chance to see Atsu.
With Distin missing we'll need to avoid corners at all costs or Dzeko, Kompany and their other big lads will have a field day.
Not confident but Martinez beat City with a poor Wigan side and may have a few tricks up his sleeve.
20 Posted 09/01/2015 at 10:31:08
Speaking about todayÂs squad, and not cherry picking golden oldie memories to suit a pro-Martinez agenda, if TuesdayÂs defensive shambles was anything to go by, weÂre going to struggle and I really fear that we could get a hiding.
If we challenge for second balls ( thereÂs and ours), defend corners, have defensive understanding, play Ross through the middle, have a motivated RomÂ that comes short and holds, prepare a plan B, be smart with well timed and canny substitutions, etc etc etc then we might have a chance.
In other words, if our manager actually manages, maybe we can compete. If not...well, come in Martinez cos your time is up.
21 Posted 09/01/2015 at 10:56:10
22 Posted 09/01/2015 at 11:04:50
Yes, even Robbie Savage can see through our problems - so they must be glaringly obvious.
The concerns could have been lifted from ToffeeWeb posts.
However, I know that quite a few people had a similar opinion to me on RMÂs appointment: underwhelmed but open-minded.
In the early days, the major concerns were the need to "mix it up" / adapt rather than to adhere to a footballing philosophy. That concern has come home to roost and is the gist of SavageÂs article.
I still want RM to succeed but I do fear these next 2 games are really the "pivotal" ones to use RMÂs new word.
I fear that if we donÂt get 4 points from the next 2 PL games then the game may well be up.
23 Posted 09/01/2015 at 11:19:26
24 Posted 09/01/2015 at 12:14:09
I have never seen an injury problem like this in many a year and all in the worst possible positions too.
Get in their faces but no fannying about with it at the back.
Need to just keep concentration for 90+ minutes and we might have a nice surprise, especially as Yaya won't be playing
26 Posted 09/01/2015 at 12:44:36
With enough effort and a fair go from the ref, we can win this.
Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines
Mirallas, Besic, Barkley, Ovieda
27 Posted 09/01/2015 at 12:58:52
28 Posted 09/01/2015 at 13:13:49
29 Posted 09/01/2015 at 13:14:47
I've grown increasingly disillusioned with Robertos team selections, specifically the constant lack of width in the side, which in turn dampens the threat of Coleman and Baines. I'll watch the game and hope the blues get something out of it but until he starts picking a balanced side, I just can't get excited anymore.
It took Moyes a good 7 or 8 years to get me to the point where I stopped looking forward to Everton games, Roberto's managed it in a mere 18 months!
FWIW, I'd play Oviedo, Barkley and Mirallas as the 3 AMs, with Besic and McCarthy as the two CDMs. If McCarthy's not fit then Barkley to play next to Besic and Naismith or Eto to play behind Lukaku.
I just hope he doesnt play any of Barkley, Eto or Naismith out wide again.
Barry needs to be on the bench but as usual he'll start.
30 Posted 09/01/2015 at 13:51:12
I think we need to play more defensive 4 - 5 -1 but have enough in midfield to support Lukaku on the break.
As City break quickly Besic should stay covering the back 4
Hibbert, Stones, Jags, Oviedo
Coleman, Besic, Barkley, Baines
31 Posted 09/01/2015 at 13:49:04
33 Posted 09/01/2015 at 16:01:11
34 Posted 09/01/2015 at 16:10:15
35 Posted 09/01/2015 at 16:25:46
I don't know what games you have been going to but Alcaraz makes at least on huge error in every game he plays in.
IMO he is one of the worst signings ever made along with Glen Keeley.
He is slow and does not do well with pressure.
Dzeko and Aguerro will have a field day if he plays.
I like the look of Shaun's side with Besic, Barry and Baines in a 3 man defensive MF which is where we have lacked strength all season.
Barry has lacked pace but reads the game really well and with players alongside him looking for the ball will not be subject to the pressure he has had to endure all season under the RM tactical disaster (ER plan).
36 Posted 09/01/2015 at 16:34:04
37 Posted 09/01/2015 at 16:45:21
Yes, like scoring from a corner as Wigan did that day!
38 Posted 09/01/2015 at 16:54:24
39 Posted 09/01/2015 at 16:41:35
Don't get to many games being across the Irish Sea but rarely miss seeing the matches. The way Jags played the other night he couldn't do any worse. I'm not saying he is the answer to all our problems but with better protection from say a central midfield of Besic and McCarthy when fit and with fast players like Stones and Coleman in defence with him I think he would do well. Time will tell but I still think Stones and him will make a good partnership. Definitely not one of the worst signings ever! If Martinez gets his team selection right and has a well balanced set up I feel we will do well tomorrow. Kompany and Aguero back in the city squad is unfortunate though.
40 Posted 09/01/2015 at 17:14:57
41 Posted 09/01/2015 at 17:27:49
42 Posted 09/01/2015 at 17:46:02
Fortunately my predictions are usually wrong...
43 Posted 09/01/2015 at 14:14:32
Please, Roberto, set us up to hit on the counter.
44 Posted 09/01/2015 at 18:26:32
45 Posted 09/01/2015 at 18:32:58
Performance is what counts tomorrow, if we try hard and show some courage then I won't mind if we lose, even if we lose by a few.
46 Posted 09/01/2015 at 18:41:03
I think youre right.
If we up the tempo and aggression against them they are not as formidable as they should be but can we maintain a high tempo game.
Charles(and Harold) IMO Alcaraz is a disaster waiting to happen every game but Jags is capable of so much more but is not a confident lad so needs the crowd to get behind him.
47 Posted 09/01/2015 at 18:50:05
49 Posted 09/01/2015 at 18:56:54
What is desperately required is three points - even if it's via a last minute own goal off the goalie's arse !
50 Posted 09/01/2015 at 19:05:31
52 Posted 09/01/2015 at 19:22:08
53 Posted 09/01/2015 at 19:30:09
55 Posted 09/01/2015 at 19:32:04
56 Posted 09/01/2015 at 19:32:32
I don't want us to play like a Moyes team but a Martinez team that can at least get a point.
57 Posted 09/01/2015 at 19:29:19
Then 3 points off WBA.
More than ever the performances mean nothing - and they never ever mean more than the result. Glorious defeat? Stick it. ThereÂs too much at stake.
4 points is the minimum from these next two games or I suspect itÂll be ÂGoodnight ViennaÂ.
58 Posted 09/01/2015 at 19:31:17
59 Posted 09/01/2015 at 18:21:06
60 Posted 09/01/2015 at 19:56:40
If heÂs right weÂll be 4 points off the bottom side this time tomorrow night.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
61 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:01:51
62 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:01:03
63 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:04:30
But it still highlights the precarious situation we are in right now.
64 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:07:06
These are scary times.
Thought IÂd seen the last of this kind of crap.
65 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:01:47
66 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:14:44
67 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:06:23
Lukaku was really, really good against WHU. If a few more can raise their games as well we will right the ship.
Once a year, every year, me and my boys get together to literally drink booze and eat ALL DAY LONG and that day is tomorrow. A home win verse City would start such a day off so DANGEROUSLY!!
And yes, we are in our mid-30's and our wives hate us.
68 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:08:47
70 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:25:51
Some delusional folk on here. Will be nothing but misery from this one. I predict a spanking for Martinez with absolutely no pleasure involved
71 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:20:13
72 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:46:44
Barry because he ca'nt run.
Naismith because he has got one goal in the last 4 months and none in the last 3 months.
73 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:55:09
74 Posted 09/01/2015 at 21:02:41
All I want tomorrow is a fighting performance. If we get a result, even better. 2-1 Everton.
75 Posted 09/01/2015 at 21:21:57
Who know, stranger things have happened, we might cause an upset!
My heads telling me its a win for City though, I'd take a draw now if it was possible.
A player like Silva in the middle for us (fat chance) would transform our attacking play, oh and a centre half that could actually get his head to a ball would be use-full also!
76 Posted 09/01/2015 at 20:50:26
On a sour note, I remember about 18 months ago saying I was nonplussed by the signings of Kone and Alcaraz. I didn't get much stick for Kone, and I still believe he was as big a waste of ٣m as Kroldrop, but the outright abuse I copped about not rating Alcaraz bordered on criminal. Smug certainly isn't a great way to self promote, and I wish that every signing Everton made was a corker, but if I could remember all the people who swore at me and told me I was an idiot, I'd certainly be asking for an apology right about now.
77 Posted 09/01/2015 at 21:41:58
78 Posted 09/01/2015 at 21:25:01
Coleman Stones Jags Garbutt
Mirallas Barkley Oviedo
80 Posted 09/01/2015 at 22:16:57
82 Posted 09/01/2015 at 22:20:06
83 Posted 09/01/2015 at 22:20:55
84 Posted 09/01/2015 at 21:48:13
You should be ok around that time.
A spec by the blue fence and you should get autographs and maybe a quick snap.
John stones was great midweek with my nephew. Made his day.
Also Steve Mcmanaman was chatting to the kids for a while. Also brilliant and referring to Everton as us and we!
85 Posted 09/01/2015 at 22:15:51
Head says a comfortable City win but hey, this is why we all watch sport, anything can happen.
A win tomorrow by any way possible and it could change our whole season.
86 Posted 09/01/2015 at 22:32:08
Makes me laugh during International matches when he refers to England as "We" when he is on British TV and when on Irish media he refers to Rep of Ireland as " We", bit of an identity crisis going on there.
87 Posted 09/01/2015 at 22:38:45
I would be quite happy for a Moyes type of game tomorrow , 2 banks of 4 and try and hit them on the break or maybe a set piece however knowing RM that ain't gonna happen ! God help us we are going to need it !!
88 Posted 09/01/2015 at 22:49:38
I reckon we'll do alright tomorrow - losing by a goal is doing alright.
89 Posted 09/01/2015 at 22:48:07
90 Posted 09/01/2015 at 22:57:14
91 Posted 09/01/2015 at 22:53:11
We have ’stopped the rot’ against West Ham, but we were only average. As usual, we will start well in front of a full house at Goodison, but the least we want to see is 90 min’s of busting a gut. I can take a defeat, but if we look clueless in our passing, and we don’t get into dangerous positions to test Hart, then that just isn’t acceptable - not after a run of four defeats.
If we meekly surrender, then nothing has changed and Martinez hasn’t got the nous or motivational ability to get us out of this tailspin towards a relegation dogfight.
The players have a duty towards the shirt, if they want to sulk then they all need fucking off - along with the manager.
92 Posted 09/01/2015 at 23:22:50
93 Posted 09/01/2015 at 23:32:37
94 Posted 09/01/2015 at 23:41:09
67 Yellow 3 Red
Lets make it four / A Man City Red.
95 Posted 09/01/2015 at 23:18:10
IÂm not overly optimistic on this one as far as results; however, the attitude of the performance is as important as this will give us a indication of if the players have the stomach for a relegation fight. The longer Martinez stays, the harder it will be.
My replacement manager would be Martin OÂNiell.
98 Posted 10/01/2015 at 00:14:42
99 Posted 10/01/2015 at 00:53:57
If I see any of those fuckers yuckin it up, smiling, giggling, getting all friendly with the opposition while in the tunnel...
I'm gonna punch a fucking hole in the TV.
Especially Jags. Fucking Captain - try to at least act like one for the love of all that is holy!
100 Posted 10/01/2015 at 01:17:40
102 Posted 10/01/2015 at 01:35:22
You just gave me something to do on a Friday evening Colin, Thank you.
103 Posted 10/01/2015 at 01:32:20
My view of the situation is that we have to take a minimum of 5 points from the next 3 games. I would prefer 7.
Anyway time to put our differences aside for now. I am sure everyone at Goodison will get behind the team for this one.
We need a big shift from all the players for this one.
104 Posted 10/01/2015 at 01:55:06
Does he not have the intelligence to just say, "None of that is remotely true."
We have a laugh at it all. Bainsey is a lover, not a fighter.
Har-har hardy fucking har.
105 Posted 10/01/2015 at 02:15:42
106 Posted 10/01/2015 at 03:22:44
107 Posted 10/01/2015 at 08:16:32
108 Posted 10/01/2015 at 08:26:04
Coleman Jagielka Stones Baines
Naismith Besic Barkley Barry Mirallas
I am not too keen on one up front but needs must. The reason for including Naismith on the right is to negate any left back runs and candidly Naisy can be a fucking nuisance and will hopefully annoy City. He doesnÂt get the credit he deserves and although everyone loves Mirallas he needs to do a bit of Naisy work esp re Zabaletta (he can still do his bit of magic) I wish he would do it more often.
Let’s get behind all of them. BarryÂs form has dipped significantly but we need him (on form) in a 5 man midfield Barkley Naisy Mirallas MUST tuck in as quickly and tightly as possible when not in possession and we must break at pace even if itÂs an outlet ball to Lukaku. Leave Lukaku up for City corners, I hate the ball being cleared to the opposition what do coaches see in having all 11 back Â– pointless. IÂve tried to pick the best players in the most formidable formation possible to frustrate City match them in midfield and counter. I canÂt improve this personnel except for McCarthy.
109 Posted 10/01/2015 at 08:35:44
We normally do well against them, and the last time out was heavily influenced by some very favourable refereeing in City's favour. Yes Barry should have been red carded for his elbow but by that time City should have had nine men for nearly an hour.
Referee aside, we still didn't put in a performance.
I want to see players in their natural positions, no square pegs and round holes.
I want us to be difficult to play against, with and without the ball.
I want the players to play with confidence and belief in themselves and their teammates.
And perhaps most of all, I want them to play, and the manager to have them set up, like it means something to them to play for Everton.
Not sure all of the above will happen so having said all that, 2-2, with City getting a late equaliser courtesy of Mr Atkinson.
110 Posted 10/01/2015 at 09:20:36
Kone and Oviedo could have big parts to play if used correctly in a 3-5-2 later on in the game.
111 Posted 10/01/2015 at 09:27:13
112 Posted 10/01/2015 at 10:36:21
113 Posted 10/01/2015 at 10:26:20
Robles, Garbutt, Jags, Stones, Coleman
Oviedo, Baines, Besic, Barklay, Mirallass
Three left backs ? How could that work ?
Well it won't happen but...its balanced with right side of Coleman and Mirallas, Baines and Besic sit in front of back four and basically spend all the game snapping at the heels of City's world class forwards......Oviedo really will help stop City getting the width they enjoy and he can attack with strength and surprising pace AND he can cross the ball.....Garbutt can defend AND he can take a corner and cross the ball.....harsh on Naisy but for me for the next few games it feels solid yet with attacking potential and Ross behind a returning-to-form Lukaku is simply light years better than a Barklay left wing berth.
114 Posted 10/01/2015 at 10:37:46
115 Posted 10/01/2015 at 10:35:25
116 Posted 10/01/2015 at 10:35:04
117 Posted 10/01/2015 at 11:14:27
119 Posted 10/01/2015 at 12:41:27
1) Noone has mentioned Lampard - surely he's nailed on for a goal today? His presence means City won't miss Toure.
2) Mark #95 - Take a look at why O'Neill got sacked by Sunderland. Talk about living off past glories.
120 Posted 10/01/2015 at 13:30:47
121 Posted 10/01/2015 at 13:41:57
Wonder how many minutes it'll before one of Barry or Besic is carded, am going for 27th minute.
122 Posted 10/01/2015 at 14:03:12
123 Posted 10/01/2015 at 14:07:32
Can't believe Mirallas doesn't start.
124 Posted 10/01/2015 at 14:10:03
125 Posted 10/01/2015 at 14:11:53
15 JesÃºs Navas
126 Posted 10/01/2015 at 14:25:32
127 Posted 10/01/2015 at 14:26:12
128 Posted 10/01/2015 at 14:33:23
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