Middlesbrough vs Everton

by | 01/12/2015  78 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Everton step back on the road to Wembley this evening with a trip to the northeast to face Middlesbrough in the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup that they hope will swiftly diminish the disappointment of their last Premier League outing.

It's a cup tie that was already pregnant with expectation and anticipation for Evertonians but one which has taken on extra significance in the wake of Saturday's gut-wrenching 3-3 draw against Bournemouth. For supporters sensing the glimmers of opportunity in a season where the top four feels wide open, the Blues' spurning of two vital points came as another reality check and, perhaps, returned the League Cup to the forefront of the team's hopes of answering Roberto Martinez's increasingly oft-repeated refrain that Everton "have to achieve" this season.

This competition may have been unkind to the Blues since its inception five-and-a-half decades ago but, sitting as they are just three games away from a first Wembley final in seven years, it represents the next and, for now, the most likely means of the club ending the longest trophy drought in its history.

Martinez has already suggested that his players will respond in the right way following their late lapse at the Vitality Stadium but all Blue eyes will be on which personnel the manager selects for what is arguably the most important match that Everton have faced since the Europa League round of 16 second leg in Kiev last March.

The Catalan has already shown a propensity to make a raft of changes in the earlier rounds of the Capital One Cup this season – on each occasion they needed to come from behind to rescue the tie and they survived the lottery of a penalty shootout in the last round to overcome Norwich – and more shuffling of the deck is expected against Boro. although the hope is that they won't be too extensive or disruptive.

Martinez has already confirmed that Joel Robles will start the game, just as he did in the previous three rounds, but at least one further alteration to the team that started against Bournemouth could be forced on the manager after James McCarthy came off with a hip on Saturday. Termed by his boss as "an over-extension", it's unlikely to keep him out for long but it makes him doubtful for this tie – in any case, it would surely be prudent to keep him out as a precaution even if it likely means no rest for Gareth Barry.

Tom Cleverley was McCarthy's replacement at Dean Court at the weekend and could deputise in the defensive midfield role, but Muhamed Besic will also be champing at the bit after his protracted lay-off with a hamstring problem and Darron Gibson is another candidate to fill the void. All three could end up playing, however, if Barry hasn't recovered from a shin injury that he sustained on Saturday and the manager decides to deploy Cleverley on the left where Kone operated last time out.

Further forward, Kevin Mirallas and Aaron Lennon will be similarly eager for playing time and both could start if Martinez elects to rest Arouna Kone and Gerard Deulofeu after their exertions on Saturday – both players looked tired in the final quarter of an hour against the Cherries.

Finally, much attention will be focused on the left back slot when the teams are announced before kick-off to see if Leighton Baines's name is in the line-up. The 30-year-old hasn't been risked in either of the last two games despite being declared "medically fit" by Martinez a fortnight ago. The manager has wisely been playing it safe with the England international and it wouldn't be surprising to see him sit this one out as well, perhaps with next Monday's important game against Crystal Palace in mind.

Given how well Everton have been performing away from home this season – they have lost just once away from Goodison Park so far – and that they beat Reading from the same division as Middlesbrough in the League Cup earlier in the campaign, the team should travel in good spirits and with the knowledge that if they perform to their ability and defend better than was the case against Bournemouth then they should be able to see this one out.

Of course, it is a cup tie and Boro, whose manager Aitor Karanka has a full squad from which to choose, will be just as up for it. Everton, though, will be backed by a passionate and vocal travelling army that will, no doubt, be seeking to revisit the atmosphere of another trip to this part of the world in 2012 when the Blues produced an irresistable display to beat Sunderland and book their place in the FA Cup semis of that year.

A repeat of that performance at the Stadium of Light and a chance at redemption for what followed at Wembley against Liverpool would do nicely.

Kick-off: 7.45pm

Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Report


Reader Comments (78)

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Kieran Fitzgerald
1 Posted 01/12/2015 at 07:12:22
There was a lot of talk in the run-up to Saturday's game about consistency, winning mentality, attitude and the manager and squad learning as they went along. While the first half against Bournemouth showed all of this, the second half certainly didn't.

Tonight is another opportunity that has come at the exactly the right time, if we have reacted in the proper way since Saturday evening. A decent performance and a win tonight will get us back on track. Results went our way on Sunday... so do well tonight and we have not lost that much overall from Saturday. If we have learned nothing, and have failed to react since Saturday, then tonight is going to be horrible. What can be a standard insipid performance from Everton could see almost all of the well-earned recent confidence drain away.

With it being an away game, having injury doubts over Barry and McCarthy, and very tired players in Deulofeu and Kone, I have huge concerns over how tonight will go. I would hope that Martinez is brave and that Mirallas and Lennon replace Deulofeu and Kone. Besic and Cleverley or Gibson in the middle will to some degree also provide adequate replacements for Barry and McCarthy if needed. Maintain the winning shape of the team and look to go forward at every opportunity as we have been doing. Whether Martinez is brave enough or not waits to be seen.

Tony Abrahams
2 Posted 01/12/2015 at 07:14:01
It's going to be a long day, since one of my twins woke me up at 4am. Tuesday is my day to mind them, so God bless my niece for volunteering this afternoon!

Lyndon, too busy, to read this thread, only had time for the last sentence, which is good enough for me... Please!

Darryl Ritchie
3 Posted 01/12/2015 at 07:26:12
This won't be easy. An in-form Boro vs a slightly shaken Everton. Fingers, arms, legs, eyes... everything crossed. I hope it's enough.
Paul Andrews
4 Posted 01/12/2015 at 07:32:16
I don't think Deulofeu will start tonight. Mirallas will possibly start; I think he may go with Naismith as well.

Middlesbrough don't concede many at home; I think it's two in 9 home games.

It could go to extra time this one.
Laurie Hartley
5 Posted 01/12/2015 at 07:45:42
The big concern as far as I am concerned is the fact that Barry may not start. If he doesn't it has to be Gibson. We need a steadying influence in midfield.

I am hoping Besic will start in place of McCarthy.

If Galloway starts, which seems likely, he is going to need some help keeping Downing under control.

One way or another, I think we are going to see quite a few changes to the Bournemouth starting line up.

Laurie Hartley
6 Posted 01/12/2015 at 07:49:41
Erm – can I withdraw my comment about Downing? :)

John Keating
7 Posted 01/12/2015 at 07:57:46
Lyndon, you mention that Martinez has suggested that the players will respond in the right way after the debacle on Saturday.

More important, will Martinez respond in the right way?
Dave Pritchard
8 Posted 01/12/2015 at 07:59:50
I am reasonably confident of a win although much will depend on the central midfield replacements for Barry and McCarthy as all reports suggest they will miss out. Tough one to call. Maybe Gibson with one other from Cleverley, Osman and Besic. None of these have had much game time recently though.

Not sure this is the best place to bring Baines back after such a long absence. Even though Galloway wasn't great on Saturday I would keep him in.
Colin Glassar
9 Posted 01/12/2015 at 09:01:21
We need a reaction tonight or we could be facing another December like last season. Middlesbrough are a good, defensive team but we should beat them. I'm going for a 1-3 victory.

With injuries and everything my team would be:

Robles
Coleman
Stones
Funes Mori
Baines
Lennon
Gibson
Besic
Mirallas
Barkley
Lukaku

Play 4-5-1 to swamp them in MF and use our pace down the flanks to rip them a new one.

Brian Hennessy
10 Posted 01/12/2015 at 09:26:03
I like the look of that team Colin. Barry should be given a rest,

We have to trust trust Gibson and Besic to do a job at some stage.

Mark Andersson
11 Posted 01/12/2015 at 09:29:32
On paper, Colin, your team and tactics are spot-on; problem is, some Spanish bloke might have other ideas.

Let's hope I'm reading positive upbeat posts in the morning.

Tight game; if we don't bottle it, we should get a result.

Graham Mockford
12 Posted 01/12/2015 at 09:36:14
I certainly would not be resting Barry or Del. We are three ties from a trophy and we don't play Palace until Monday.

Give me a day at Wembley winning a trophy over 4th place every time.

Dean Peamum
13 Posted 01/12/2015 at 10:00:13
Since we last won a trophy, Leicester (twice), Villa, Boro, Blackburn, Birmingham City and Swansea have all won this competition. Tranmere, Cardiff City and Bradford have all been to the final.

But, as Blue Bill & the board always remind us, we can't really compete against these Sky super rich clubs.

Sam Hoare
14 Posted 01/12/2015 at 10:11:06
Colin, I wish I was as optimistic as you. Boro have a rock solid defence and we will do well to score one or two goals let alone 3. I see it being a tight affair and am worried we will have a usual lapse in judgement from someone (Howard?) to hand them a 1-0 win. I hope I'm wrong but tonight will be a very tough test I think and I'm not sure our squad has the fight for it. Prove me wrong lads.
John Keating
15 Posted 01/12/2015 at 10:17:57
Dean,

For some reason, we have never taken this competition seriously. This season, the supporters are more than keen to go as far as we can but I don't know if the management feel the same. If they were serious, then – other than injuries – Martinez should play the team he considers our strongest.

I think Howard is becoming a liability; however, Martinez thinks the sun shines out of his backside, so why play Robles? If he thinks Lukaku and Kone are the best pairing, why play Naismith, similarly possibly changing Deulofeu?

Fair enough if things aren't working but I think we should always play our best team. If professional footballers can't play the odd two games a week then there's something far wrong.

Graham Mockford
16 Posted 01/12/2015 at 10:20:14
Sam

Howard won't be playing but I'm sure that won't absolve him of responsibility should we lose!

Eddie Dunn
17 Posted 01/12/2015 at 10:32:13
We have got through by the skin of our teeth in two of the rounds, and our inept display at Bournemouth does not auger well. Defence starts with the attackers, and when we lost the ball upfield, the likes of Deulofeu, Lukaku and Kone failed to even try to get it back on occasion.

Tonight, we will have to scrap all over the park, from front to back, because this will not be an easy game. We need our best eleven on the pitch from the off, or we will be chasing the game once more.

I hope Martinez doesn't make the same mistakes of earlier rounds, picking squad players, and being forced to bring on his stars when the game is drifting away.

Nitesh Kanchan
18 Posted 01/12/2015 at 10:41:21
First goal will be crucial. If it stays nil-nil and they score first in the second half, that would be end of the run. We need to go for it right from the start even if it means trailing at half-time. Mirallas and Gibson should absolutely start.

Prediction: 0-2, Mirallas and Lukaku.

Tom Bowers
19 Posted 01/12/2015 at 11:24:08
Had Everton won handily on Saturday after going 2 up we would all be optimistic about this tie but everything changed as we all know so now it could be a tough task against a tough Boro side on their own patch.

Coupled with that is the fact that McCarthy is likely to be missing and he is a very effective player for the Blues, so that could have an effect.

Despite these hiccups Everton should be able to put out a side with enough know-how to get a result one way or another. If tiredness and RM's errors contributed to Saturday's result, then hopefully a lesson has been learnt.

With Baines, Gibson, Besic and Cleverley all chomping at the bit to re-establish themselves, one would think there will be enough intensity to match whatever Boro bring to the table.

Abhishek Saha
20 Posted 01/12/2015 at 11:37:54
Barry should be rested, he is not someone who can play a game which could go beyond 120 mins, after playing 90 mins last Saturday and with an injury complaint as well. Both Gibson and Cleverly cannot start, we need someone more defensive. So Besic needs to start.

Starting with Barry maybe a good idea as we need someone with that experience to calm things down as Boro will attack from the word go. I guess Osman could do that as well.

Naismith is just what the doctor ordered for such occasions: powerful and illustrious in tackling. It will be a show of pure strength over skills.

Keep the back 4 unchanged, they need some more game-time together and they're young enough to take this workload. This is not the stage for Baines to come in. Boro will come hard at him.

My XI would be:
Robles;
Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway;
Besic, Osman;
Mirallas, Naismith, Cleverley;
Lukaku.

COYB!

Peter Roberts
21 Posted 01/12/2015 at 12:12:19
We need a response, simple as that. I expect the team to be fully fired up and ruthless. Best chance of a trophy in years this.
Jay Harris
22 Posted 01/12/2015 at 12:18:06
My concern is the lethargy we always seem to show throughout games but particularly first half. No matter who is playing, Martinez needs to have them properly prepared and motivated from the off; otherwise, with the way we leak goals, the game could be beyond us given their defensive discipline.

We need to show we are a top Premier League side and dominate this game all over the pitch. Attitude and concentration are key.

Harold Matthews
23 Posted 01/12/2015 at 12:35:51
Laurie. You were right to single out Downing. We are always vunerable to left footers who cut in from the right wing. Actually, we're not too good on the other side either, as co-commentator Tony Gayle pointed out on Saturday when Coleman continually failed to show the attacker down the line.

Don't know much about 'Boro. Nugent can score goals, the big Greek keeper is hard to beat, Gibson used to partner Stones with the England U21s, Downing has a lethal left foot and midfielder Adam Forshaw is one of our better ex academy lads. The rest are a mystery but they are in the last eight and must be respected.

As for us? Well, with Barry out and Kone hopefully rested, the hole in front of the left fullback should have a smaller circumference but we will be weaker in the air. Much weaker.

Anyway, I'm banking on Martinez getting this one right. Bringing on Gibson with six seconds remaining was one of the most bewildering decisions of all time but surely he'll sort out a way to beat 'Boro.

Dave Lynch
24 Posted 01/12/2015 at 12:36:12
My main concern is the fuckng manager, I'm still fuming over Saturday, that game felt like a loss!

If he gets this wrong and we go out, I'll blow a gasket again, these are lower opposition and we are better in all departments.

Play your best team and get through to the semi-final; nothing else will be acceptable, Roberto.

ps: Best team does not include Howard.

James Stewart
25 Posted 01/12/2015 at 12:58:44
I'd take Colin's team. A Baines - Mirallas left sided combo is vastly superior to the Galloway - Kone double act which I am never fond of seeing.
Michael Polley
26 Posted 01/12/2015 at 13:00:27
Dave (#21):

You took the words right out of my mouth. I feel the same way and couldn't agree more.

Mike Hughes
27 Posted 01/12/2015 at 13:12:06
What's all this on here about us being 'fired up and ruthless'; 'play our best team'; 'attitude and concentration' ?

Lads, get with the agenda.

I've now seen the light - the same one that shines inside Roberto's mind. It's all about performance. The results are secondary.
Everything is incredible in this world.
Join us. It's phenomenal, an amazing moment.

(Three away wins tonight ... a scabby one will do for us but my nerves won't be able to stand penalties. Most of all, I'm looking forward to the post-match words of wisdom from our leader.)

Stephen O'Donnell
28 Posted 01/12/2015 at 13:15:13
Come on, Blues, beat these smoggies tonight and let's hope the saints knock out the pigs tomorrow. Please play Naismith, Roberto and then we will go through with his fighting spirit.

Come on the Toffees.

Peter Cummings
29 Posted 01/12/2015 at 13:29:06
After Saturday's debacle, I'm afraid I can't be too optimistic about this one. 'Boro have seen off some class opposition so far and will certainly be up to adding us to their list.

Far too often, hopes have been raised by good displays then dashed by the exact opposite, making it impossible to predict how we will react in any given situation, or how certain players will perform. I can see the tie going to Extra Time.

I have never been a Martinez fan and think his tactics have at times been bizarre; his treatment of Mirallas has been a disgrace... and, like many Evertonians, I don't think he is up to getting us back where we should be.

Craig Walker
30 Posted 01/12/2015 at 13:38:58
One of my worst memories of being a Blue was the Quarter Final FA Cup tie at the Riverside in 2002 when we had Gascoigne and they had Paul Ince. Was it Walter Smith's last game in charge? For all of the things which displease me about the current crop of players and management they are infinitely better than those dark days.

Just hope that dropping a two-goal lead on Saturday doesn't affect us like it did against Arsenal last season.

COYB!

Les Martin
31 Posted 01/12/2015 at 13:51:24
In the words of a Stevie Wonder song "What's The Fuss?" If we can't beat Boro with the squad that we have then we don't deserve to progress.

It's eleven against eleven regardless of home or away. Personally I think we will do the job comfortably after the expected early bluster from the home side.

Duncan McDine
33 Posted 01/12/2015 at 13:58:43
I think its vital that Rom, Del Boy and Ross start. I'd happily see Kone and Barry rested (along with Howard of course). It will be interesting to see if Mirallas and Besic start... it certainly looks like Cleverly will. Gibson also must be hoping to get a game, and so long as he remembers his boots, could add some fuel to our midfield!
Dave Pritchard
34 Posted 01/12/2015 at 13:59:33
What a miserable bunch of so-and-sos on here today. Cheer up lads, we're still in this cup and a semi beckons, if that doesn't sound too rude.
Patrick Murphy
35 Posted 01/12/2015 at 14:09:14
Whatever the line-up, whatever the performance ,the name of the game is to get through to the next round, by hook or by crook. If we don't then, it's another wasted League Cup campaign and the FA Cup would represent our only chance of adding to our trophy haul.

I'm neither confident nor over-optimistic but I hope the players realise that this game means a great deal to the supporters and they put in a decent shift tonight.

Jamie Crowley
36 Posted 01/12/2015 at 14:21:37
I can't believe this game isn't being televised in the States.

Fucking hate watching via the dodgy internet stream!

We will be very focused after Bournmouth.

4-1 the Blues.

James Flynn
37 Posted 01/12/2015 at 15:14:33
I would like to see Gibson, but can only see him getting minimal minutes for what's left for him in an Everton shirt. Look at Naismith. A model professional and he can't get in.

Adding to that mess, Gibson's money bought him out of a few months ago to his injury record, I've got to believe Gibson's gone. Roberto's use of him as a mannequin on Saturday pretty much clinched it for me.

I can't see letting him go for free in the Summer. If he's healthy in the January window, Roberto can make a few bucks selling him. He IS talented. Someone will want him. Naismith too?

Colin Metcalfe
38 Posted 01/12/2015 at 15:17:15
I will stick to my prediction when the draw was made that the Blues will bow out tonight!

An in-form 'Boro team that will be probably back in the Premier League next season and when you consider it will be a cold blustery night up there in Teeside, I can't see our team up for the challenge! On occasions such as tonight, a team needs to dig in and get a result; a leader on the pitch and a "dogs of war" mentality... I am afraid this Everton does not have it!
3-1 Boro.

Armando Canaj
39 Posted 01/12/2015 at 15:20:29
If we lose this we will lose players this Summer (Lukaku, Mirallas, Stones, possibly even McCarthy) unless we build some positive consistency in the league.

I was disappointed we didn't make a positive, attacking change on Saturday. Mirallas should have come on. Barkley is well known for his lack of defensive work.

This will be a hard-fought game. I predict we'll take our time and try to control the first 15 mins with counter-attacks throughout. The problem is, Boro will be savy to it and mark Deulofeu and Barry out.

We're good enough to win handsomely. Hoping Mirallas bags a couple

Peter Carpenter
40 Posted 01/12/2015 at 15:31:31
Bloody hell, Colin! I've just got myself back up for this after Saturday.
Matthew Salem
41 Posted 01/12/2015 at 15:35:49
You can't see us digging in and getting a result tonight, Colin? I take it you missed the Barnsley, Reading and Norwich games in this competition where we did come from behind after digging in.

Boro are a great side and I've watched them on several occasions, but unless our gaffer let's us down with too many changes and/or poor substitutions, I can't really understand your negativity, because they are beatable . Each their own I guess. COYB !!!

Thomas Surgenor
42 Posted 01/12/2015 at 15:38:28
Del will not play tonight. I am convinced he picked up a quad strain in the first half on Saturday. He pulled up and dallied about for 10 mins with his shorts pulled up. Having played a bit, I've seen this type of behaviour from his style of player before. It was a clear sign he wanted it to be noticed that he wasn't 100%. His performance dropped and we suffered because of it.

Any slight injuries will be exaggerated on a cold winters night away at Boro. Better to rest him now than a Stones scenario that would see him out for weeks.

Del and Mcca should be rested. Everyone else needs to play and prove a point that they are as upset as us fans about Saturday's result.


Matthew Williams
43 Posted 01/12/2015 at 15:40:02
I keep thinking about the Kiev away game last season...could go the same way like.

This is THE Trophy we have to win some day soon, but with our Gaffer - no chance!
James Flynn
44 Posted 01/12/2015 at 15:40:44
Jamie - Have you tried typing Capital One Cup on your remote? If you have BEIN in your cable package, they're streaming it. Also, they have a replay on BEIN1 at 4:45 PM Eastern. So there's that.

Unfortunately a "Big Club", Manchester City, is playing at the same time as our Boys. So, you know how that goes.

Peter Cummings
45 Posted 01/12/2015 at 16:16:53
Jamie 35
If you shop around your PC I think you will find a stream on the large number of sports outlets worldwide we've had the game several times here in Ontario via these channels,

On a 'bad weather' note, Colin, one of the worst displays by us was against Leeds in this competition on a cold wet and windy night when they kicked us out, we just weren't up for it, and it showed.

James Flynn
46 Posted 01/12/2015 at 16:17:11
Away from the game for a minute.

Has everyone looked at the "ToffeeWeb as the voice of the fans in Soccer Manager 2016" thread?

A real feather in the ToffeeWeb cap.

Conor Skelly
47 Posted 01/12/2015 at 16:21:54
Going to have to agree with Colin here. I'm concerned about our moral going into a game up there in this weather. Especially after what happened on Saturday. I think it's definitely a night to see Naismith and a night for the bench for Ross, as the two can't play together. Keep Ross for the hope factor if we're getting beat.

I'd also throw Baines in from the start to give a moral boost and something going forward on the over-lap. The mid-field is a tricky one.but I'd give Gibson and Besic the nod. Like Naismith, I think Besic is a player that's never going to be top level. But, on a night like tonight we need to bring it down to their level. Less flicky-tricky and more graft and aggression. Lennon gets in as well.

I would hope that Gibson can drive us forward with good diagonals to Lennon - Coleman & Mirallas - Baines

Robles
Coleman
Stones
Funes Mori
Baines
Lennon
Besic
Gibson
Mirallas
Naismith
Lukaku

Subs:
Howard
Galloway
Barkley
Kone
Cleverley

Trevor Peers
48 Posted 01/12/2015 at 16:28:28
Cleverley will always get the nod over Besic, he's one of Roberto's favourites. So Besic will remain on the bench.
Paul Smith
49 Posted 01/12/2015 at 16:29:47
My team for tonight would be as follows:

Robles
Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines,
Besic, Gibson, Cleverley
Lennon, Lukaku, Mirallas

I fear Lukaku and Barkley will pick up injuries soon if they are not rested but we're desperately short up front so Lukaku has to play.

Colin Metcalfe
50 Posted 01/12/2015 at 16:42:50
Guys, no offence, it's just my opinion and of course I would love to see our team give them a good hiding tonight; it's just that I feel there is a fragility to the team.

Without doubt we have a talented team but, as was said many times on this site after Saturday's game, we do lack a strong forceful character who can drag the team over the line when things get tough .
Andrew Clare
51 Posted 01/12/2015 at 16:45:09
A lot of people sound worried about Boro but the reality is that they will be very worried about us. We have a deadly striker,an unplayable winger along with some of the best players in English football in our team.

As Evertonians we know that we have a very fragile defence, a dodgy keeper, no fight and no leadership on the pitch.So as an Evertonian I admit that I am worried because you never know what you are going to get but I bet the Boro fans are just as worried.

Denis Richardson
52 Posted 01/12/2015 at 16:46:09
Would prefer as few changes as possible given we're already forced into two. Difficult to predict how RM will set the side up given both usual CDMs are out.

Personally I'd like to see an old fashioned 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 but given it's been a while since we've played this way, would they be able to?

Robles;
Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines;
Deulofeu, Gibson, Cleverley Mirallas;
Barkley
Lukaku

Have Besic, Osman, Lennon on the bench as MF back up depending on how the game is going, Kone as back up for Rom.

Doubt this will be the line up though as I can see Lennon starting, no idea who RM will play at CM but think he'll stick to a 4-2-3-1 formation with two of Besic, Cleverley, Gibson, Osman in the middle.

Whatever the line up, we simply cannot lose this!

Ian McDowell
53 Posted 01/12/2015 at 16:55:51
Wembley is in sight and a trophy and a Europa league game is up for grabs. We have got to be performing tonight. Roared on by 5 thousand travelling blues COYB!!!
Geoff Williams
55 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:12:49
I would love to go into a game full of optimism expecting a victory but I have experienced so many lows over the years supporting Everton that I always hope for the best but expect the worst.
Eddie Dunn
56 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:13:01
I can't see Del being risked or Baines for that matter, but who knows with our boss, but at least Boro will be scratching their heads wondering too!

I expect to see Lennon from the start and Nais or Mirallas will have to hope to get the nod on the left. Martinez has plenty of options in midfield if the knocks are too serious on Mac and Barry. I wonder if we will see a will to win it from the start, or a bid to stay in it until it is time to let loose our weapons?

You can never tell with Roberto.

Ged Simpson
57 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:14:45
TV tonight?
Are we on? What free channel?

Ta, lads and lasses!

Liam Reilly
58 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:16:36
Is Gibson fit? I thought he was injured again.

Mirallas will hopefully start and a real point to prove. He must be itching to show what he can do as Del boy has stolen a real march on him.
I'd be surprised not to see Naismith also in the starting 11, but hopefully not too many changes.

If both McCarthy and Barry are out; I'd like to see Barkley play from deep along with a defensive minded player because its important to be able to move the ball forward quickly from the back.

Mike Gaynes
59 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:18:31
Denis (#51)... I'm with you, I'd like to see an oldies-model 4-4-1-1 for this one, only I'd slot Naismith in behind Rom -- he's great in that role -- and play Barkley and Lennon in midfield instead of Deulofeu and Gibbo.

Trevor (#47), if that's true I say hurray for Roberto. I know Besic is a favorite of many here, but he's not one of mine. A midfielder who can't shoot or even get into the box is not what we need in this game.

Tom Bowers
60 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:19:20
When the team is announced we will see just how serious the club is about progressing and one hopes it will be the strongest one possible except for Macca and Howard.

Yes, there are many fans and clubs who believe this is still a Mickey Mouse cup based on the attendances and team selections in the early rounds and so being eliminated may not be such a bad thing if league aspirations are high and both are in this tie.

Boro will be a tough nut as they proved at Manure so the intensity level from the Blues will have to be 100% right from the off.

From Everton's point of view they will need this game to shake off the disappointment of last Saturday and be upbeat for the next Premier League game.
Tony McNulty
62 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:23:27
It is a brave man (or woman) who is prepared to forecast our games.

We seem to operate on a type of bipolar scale: Barcelona moments on the one hand, followed by a tactical naivety and underperformance which would frankly shame the Fleetwood ale-house over-80s reserves.

Nevertheless I think we will win. Catch up with the usual suspects on the live feed.

Paul Commons
63 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:42:57
Given that we have no realistic chance of winning the Prem in my lifetime, I see the two cups as the only silverware we ever can aspire too.

The manager – for all his shortcomings – has managed to pull off the 'big one' with little Wigan so its puny sibling trophy should be within his capability. Shouldn't it?

Ged Simpson
64 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:43:59
But are we on free TV?


If I see it, we will win.

James Stewart
65 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:44:47
First name I want to see on the team sheet is Mirallas.
Trevor Peers
66 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:45:26
There's a popular belief this season our name is written on this cup, I'd love to believe that it's true. So we can just sit back and let it happen?

Nah I've got 6 lagers sitting in the fridge with my name on, just to dull the senses.

Dave Pritchard
67 Posted 01/12/2015 at 17:54:09
Quite a few on here calling for Mirallas to start. I think he may do so in place of Del although will Kev supply the bullets for Rom as well as Del has been doing? If Mirallas does start let's hope he decides to show what we've been missing and doesn't do one of his frustrating disappearing acts.
Gerard Carey
68 Posted 01/12/2015 at 18:08:55
No need for wholesale changes tonight. Next game is nearly a week away. Be brave Roberto and put out your strongest eleven. Show us you want some silverware as much as the supporters do. Win this Cup and it will be a stepping stone to greater things. Lose and all the old doubts and misgivings come flooding back. Whats it again!!, NO FEAR!!!!!!!!.
Ian McDowell
69 Posted 01/12/2015 at 18:17:36
Lots of people calling for Mirallas. For me, if he starts tonight, he needs to really put in a display after his recent comments. I really hope he can do it.
Michael Williams
70 Posted 01/12/2015 at 18:20:38
On personnel. There will be a lot of changes due to knocks picked up by Barry and McCarthy. The team only played 3 days and Kone and Delo looked spent Saturday.

I hope Mirallas plays a team game today. He looks like he has a goal in him but that seems to be the only thing he tries to do. He's going to have to link-up with Lukaku as well as try to score. His penalty kick debacle last year left me gutted and I have a problem trusting him since. We may need his selfishness during this game but not all the time.

Baines will probably only play a half or as his last action was 45 minutes with the U-21. He'll probably split with Galloway.

This could be tough with possibly 4 "new" midfielders playing at one time.

Darren Hind
71 Posted 01/12/2015 at 18:26:12
I said in an earlier round when we were trailing that we would come back and win as I felt our name was on it this year.

We're better than this crew and the blue army will give us tremendous backing – of course

Keep the faith, guys.

Michael Williams
72 Posted 01/12/2015 at 18:32:34
Even more personnel-related reason why there will be whole changes and substitutions will be especially tricky.

Aside from Barry and McCarthy out and Delo and Kone looking spent just three days ago. Baines, Cleverley and Besic are all coming off injury and may be healthy but I don't think they are match fit yet. Besic only played 45 minutes at the Euro qualifier and Baines only 45 in the last U-21 game. Cleverley has not played a match in months.

Not only will Roberto have to sub due to the flow of the game. He may have to sub for the likes of our returning players. For example, I would be surprised if Ross is up for 90. Maybe the same for Besic and possibly Cleverly. Plus Delo always looks like he needs to come out at the end.

We need to scruff this game early.

Benn Chambers
73 Posted 01/12/2015 at 18:59:11
No Mirallas again? I give up with this manager. He's blatantly taking the piss out Mirallas now and I feel sorry for him that he signed that contract. He's far too good for our bench.

Osman gets a game so that means either Barkley or Cleverley are out wide. Both are central players and hopeless wingers.

Andrew Clare
74 Posted 01/12/2015 at 19:05:36
I see Guardian has it as 2-1 for Boro. You look at our players and you just think if they really got it together they could take most teams apart. Yet we just seem so fragile.l remember when we defeated Spurs 4-1 in the FA Cup semi-final in 95 how surprised the pundits were. That's the kind of performance we need tonight. Let's show 'em. COYB!
Colin Glassar
75 Posted 01/12/2015 at 19:09:13
Wow, no Mirallas. That's him finished then.
Eddie Dunn
77 Posted 01/12/2015 at 19:15:11
Well, I said Martinez would keep everyone guessing. Barry and Deulofeu fit after all.
Mike Gaynes
78 Posted 01/12/2015 at 19:18:26
Colin, you got that right. If Mirallas can't get a start in this game, he can't get a start period.

Evidently Barry's shin whack is better, but no way he makes 90 IMO. Sorry to see Bainesy isn't ready to go yet... but happy for Ossie. He'll keep things steady.

Colin Glassar
79 Posted 01/12/2015 at 19:20:46
Live forum is up and running.
Mike Gaynes
80 Posted 01/12/2015 at 19:22:25
From ESPNFC:

"Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka has warned over-confidence could be the greatest threat to his side's chances of securing another top-flight scalp in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday night."

Over-confidence? Give me a break.

Eric Myles
81 Posted 01/12/2015 at 19:35:44
Harold (#23), good news is Konostopolous is not in goal for them tonight.
Geoff Williams
82 Posted 01/12/2015 at 22:43:44
Relief! There was a spell in the second half when I thought we were going to have a repeat of Saturday's game. Substitutions took place later than I would have liked.

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