Capital One Cup SF 1st Leg Preview
Did Muhamed Besic play his way into a rare start with his performance against Spurs on Sunday?
Everton begin their two-legged League Cup semi-final tomorrow against Manchester City hoping to build the platform from which they can progress to the club's first Wembley final in seven years.
Having overcome Middlesbrough in the previous round, the Blues were handed arguably the most difficult scenario possible in the last four when they drew the highest-placed team left in the competition, with the home tie first. That puts the onus on Roberto Martinez's side to jump out to an early aggregate lead with a strong performance at Goodison Park where they haven't won since 21st November.
With Martinez expressing his satisfaction with his side's performance against Tottenham, it would not a surprise to see him play this one safe to a degree in the first half and again set the team out to be more defensive. The formation will probably be the same regardless but Muhamed Besic's transformative appearance as a substitute on Sunday made a strong case for his inclusion from the start, either in the left sided role in which he was deployed against Chelsea in September (before he succumbed to injury) or alongside Gareth Barry with Tom Cleverley moved over to the left. That would edge Arouna Kone onto the bench which is probably overdue – the Ivorian has become increasingly ineffective in recent matches.
Given the choice, many Evertonians would prefer to see Kevin Mirallas handed a start over using another player out of position on the left but if, as expected, Gerard Deulofeu or Aaron Lennon are named on the team sheet, Martinez is unlikely to go with two wingers. The Belgian has been given playing time in the earlier rounds of the Capital One Cup this season but with the pressure mounting on the manager's shoulders in the wake of some poor results in the Premier League, caution could well win the day, at least at the beginning of the match.
At the back, Phil Jagielka's influence has been sorely missed but Martinez has already confirmed that he won't be fit enough to return, so it will be John Stones and Ramiro Funes Mori at centre half, with Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines as the fullbacks, assuming the latter doesn't need to rest after playing the full 90 minutes on Sunday. Joel Robles should get the nod as the designated "cup keeper" in goal.
Ordinarily, a straight do-or-die knockout cup tie where anything can happen would make for a much more level the playing field but the two-legged format complicates Everton's task here. As the stronger side, City surely have the luxury of just needing to avoid defeat in the first leg and then getting the Toffees back to Etihad where an Everton side hasn't won in six years.
The reverse is true for the Toffees – you've got to believe we have to take some sort of lead into the second leg to stand a chance of making the final, so unless we make a fast start and get Manuel Pellegrini's side on the rack early on, it will probably be a case of biding our time, keeping it tight and then hoping to score in the second half. Regardless, the long dormant Goodison bear pit atmosphere would be a useful ally if the crowd can get onside.
Whatever happens, the keys to success for Martinez and his man will be to shackle the likes of David Silva and Yaya Toure, two players who have picked us apart in previous meetings, and then deny the deadly Sergio Aguero the space he thrives on to score goals. With the form Lukaku is in this season, Everton always know they've got a great chance of scoring goals – in that respect Vincent Kompany's absence is probably the best news we could have hoped for – so if they can keep it tight at the back, the Blues know they can score against anyone when they're in the mood.
Everton fans have been doing their best to try and put Martinez's record at Wigan out of their minds as the goals have flowed in at the wrong end in recent weeks but it's the Catalan's history with City in an important Cup clash that can provide some comfort. His last act with the Latics was to mastermind victory at Wembley over the Citizens in the 2013 FA Cup Final. If he can repeat the feat over two legs in the League Cup semi-final, he will have taken the Toffees one step further to ending a trophy drought that is now into its third decade.
Predicted line-up: Robles, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, Besic, Cleverley, Barkley, Deulofeu, Lukaku
Full details: ToffeeWeb Match Report
Reader Comments (108)
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2 Posted 05/01/2016 at 07:27:34
3 Posted 05/01/2016 at 08:20:12
4 Posted 05/01/2016 at 08:24:11
5 Posted 05/01/2016 at 08:33:30
After all the clambering for him to start I actually think he might be rusty and would be inclined to go with Howard - confused ? I am.
6 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:04:09
7 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:19:10
I would go with your line up except I would start Lennon instead of Deulofeu. Coleman is going to need a hand dealing with Kolarov and Sterling. They have Navas and Sagna or Zabaleta on the other wing so they can create width.
Besic must start if he doesn't the manager has "learnt" nothing from the Spurs game. Besic is the catalyst we have been looking for to get this team performing somewhere near its true potential.
City have a great midfield but I think we can beat them without Kompany in their starting lineup. I watched them against Watford and they look a bit suspect at the back to me. Ighalo gave Mangala a torrid time when the ball was on the deck. Lukaku should have the beating of him and will certainly keep him busy.
Might be a game where we see a couple of goals from Barkley. Here's hoping.
8 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:36:52
We need the atmosphere to be like it was against Fiorentina in 2008, we need to scare the shit out of them.
Make no mistake, any City goal or goals tomorrow night will effectively kill off our hopes.
We just won't win at the Etihad given our record away to these types of teams.
Clean sheet and 2-0 win the bare minimum.
9 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:37:06
10 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:38:16
11 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:46:37
I think it all depends on which Citteh turns up; let's hope it's a low priority for them...
12 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:48:24
13 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:49:20
I'd also prefer Lennon to start as he offers cover for Seamus. Deulofeu to come on in the second half when a few City players are hopefully tiring.
15 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:56:37
De Bruyne is a man to watch, as is Toure if he's in the mood. He did nothing against Arsenal a fortnight ago until the last 10 minutes when he almost single-handedly salvaged the game. Fernandinho is proving a handful at set-pieces too for a relatively small man.
Their centre-halves are there to be got at so let's hope Lukaku can bully them a bit. Otamendi is slow and slow on the turn and Mangala is an accident waiting to happen.
Sterling has been terrible lately.
In summary.... we can't lose.
16 Posted 05/01/2016 at 10:09:24
Hopefully Besic will start and add some pace into our passing. We desperately miss Jags and McCarthy for games like this, they're crucial for keeping big players quiet.
Howard and Kone out, please, Robbie!
17 Posted 05/01/2016 at 10:34:50
Also seen sometimes as KITAP1 Keep It Tight And Pinch 1.
18 Posted 05/01/2016 at 10:38:51
19 Posted 05/01/2016 at 10:39:11
20 Posted 05/01/2016 at 10:52:33
For us to play a semi-final at your own ground is extremely rare (only possible in the League Cup, which has never been kind to us, and in Europe, of course) so we should make sure we enjoy the occasion as much as possible and I am sure we will. COYB (and Stoke!)!!!
21 Posted 05/01/2016 at 10:53:59
22 Posted 05/01/2016 at 11:01:04
I hope we capitalise on their Achilles Heel in our home leg. We need to get at them, not sit back and be too cautious. I would start with Deulofeu.
23 Posted 05/01/2016 at 11:15:10
I would go 4-4-2, close down the wings, flood the middle and we can beat these. if we play the tippy tappy shit from the back and we will get mullered.
Kone must not start as he does not help the defence out at all.
24 Posted 05/01/2016 at 11:15:41
25 Posted 05/01/2016 at 11:46:53
Mirallas should also start with clear instructions to double back in front of Baines in the early stages. Robles will surely play in goal as he has done in the previous rounds. But for his contribution we would have been knocked out against Norwich. This is a huge tie for the club. Our players need to make sure they give everything to the cause.
26 Posted 05/01/2016 at 11:59:27
I can't understand our supporters sometimes, I really can't.
27 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:00:38
The players at our disposal are the wrong players for the style of play Bob's got us playing. We don't have a David Silva to create something in close quarters. We have exciting pacy attacking options who want the ball early and out in front of them.
What I'd give to see us come out and have a good old fashioned crack at City. A real Goodison night game.
28 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:13:38
29 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:14:56
With its several variations it was much used in these columns usually as a derogatory term and thus entered the folklore of ToffeeWeb. I somehow don't think Bobby ever heard of it!
30 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:27:11
We need to start and finish this game with real intent. Play like we did in the second half against Spurs and we might be able to go into the second leg with a two goal cushion. We MUST keep a clean sheet because of the away goal rule coming into effect in the event of a draw after extra time, but whether we can manage that remains to be seen.
This is a big and important game for us, and the old nerves are already jangling about tomorrow. It feels like a cup final to me and the whole day is being geared towards 8.00 with a nice early start to get up to Merseyside with plenty of time to savour the atmosphere. Hoping for a repeat of the Wolfsburg tie from last season.
Lyndon's stating 11 looks good to me and personally I see Howard and Robles as equally suspect but would be happy to see Robles on balance I think on this occasion. Besic is a must surely.
Get behind the team, boys and be the extra man.
31 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:42:21
Anyway, we'll have Joel R and if RM does some more tactical substitutions, who knows? My gut says we'll get to the final and lose to the RS; that would be EFC all over.
32 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:52:07
That said, re Everton, 'keep it tight and nick zero' might be be quite likely tomorrow.
33 Posted 05/01/2016 at 13:00:19
34 Posted 05/01/2016 at 13:05:39
Personally I think Howard is finished and should have been replaced a long time ago but the manager must surely pick his best team for such an important game or does he just talk drivel?
35 Posted 05/01/2016 at 13:22:16
The biggest threats will come from De Bruyne,Toure, Silva and the odious Sterling if they're on form plus they have the best 'keeper in the Premier League in Joe Hart if we do get in shooting positions, I think we will need a lead to take back to the second leg, but being realistic if we want to get to Wembley it will need a massive U-turn on our recent form to make it happen...
36 Posted 05/01/2016 at 13:31:48
37 Posted 05/01/2016 at 13:48:56
38 Posted 05/01/2016 at 13:52:49
But that's what happens when you TAKTAGF, isn't it?
Happy Days, eh?
39 Posted 05/01/2016 at 13:54:21
40 Posted 05/01/2016 at 14:14:24
Everton 3 Citee 1.
41 Posted 05/01/2016 at 14:18:54
Not feeling hugely optimistic i'm afraid. Over one tie anything could happen but not sure we have it to beat them over two. Unless we have some of the Wolfsburg luck from last season. Fingers crossed.
42 Posted 05/01/2016 at 14:26:56
But to add to your general point, we also have a most likely resurgent Chelsea soon as well as Swansea, whom even the Blues may have beaten in the autumn.
43 Posted 05/01/2016 at 14:59:15
Bill, get on the bloody phone now, son,
45 Posted 05/01/2016 at 15:40:25
MF has always been our Achilles heel defensively despite 2 DMs.
So my starting lineup would be:-
Coleman Stones Funes Mori Baines
Lennon Besic Barry Cleverley
46 Posted 05/01/2016 at 15:58:37
Of course I'm sure all football fans think this but nonetheless...
47 Posted 05/01/2016 at 16:55:31
48 Posted 05/01/2016 at 17:04:19
49 Posted 05/01/2016 at 17:34:51
50 Posted 05/01/2016 at 17:36:53
51 Posted 05/01/2016 at 17:44:50
I agree with you, David. Unfortunately, my predicted line-up is an attempt to read Roberto's mind so it would be folly to include Mirallas until the manager has demonstrated some faith in him.
On further reflection, I actually agree with the comment above that Lennon will probably get the nod over Deulofeu.
52 Posted 05/01/2016 at 19:05:09
53 Posted 05/01/2016 at 19:13:44
I also look for the crowd to boo Stones when he dribbles too much close to the goal, harangue Howard as he sits on the bench, and show anger at the third sideways or back pass amongst the defenders.
54 Posted 05/01/2016 at 20:04:10
Seriously, I think he may bring Galloway back and believe it or not could start Mirallas. In saying that, I believe that Deulofeu has to start for us to give us a real chance and I agree that Besic may get a start.
No matter who the team is we will need to be at our best against Man City they have some players and if they click we will be up against it big time. They are of course beatable and our job is to allow them nothing and take our chances when we get them. It is so incredible supporting Everton....
I see our former manager is booked for the TV tomorrow.
55 Posted 05/01/2016 at 21:04:49
56 Posted 05/01/2016 at 21:16:22
If we can defend well it will give our attack confidence and purpose. I think we need to take at least a 2-0 lead into the return game. We must not concede at home! So fingers crossed and hoping for a miracle.
57 Posted 05/01/2016 at 21:52:10
I suspect from the other thread that both Mirallas and Naismith are on their way so not considered but Delboy will replace Kone between 60 and 70 mins.
58 Posted 05/01/2016 at 21:57:56
59 Posted 05/01/2016 at 22:00:17
Okay, Roberto, show us how you would do it with a wealth of talent at your disposal...
60 Posted 05/01/2016 at 22:02:55
The Incredible One has already said Robles will start. When you think about it, it's a win-win situation for him (Martinez): if Robles is rubbish, then he can say "Now you know why Howard was not dropped" and if Robles performs well then he takes the credit and will again select him for the FA Cup tie.
61 Posted 05/01/2016 at 22:04:36
If he does start with Robles, it will be a true test for the lad.
I'm not as convinced as many on here about him but I do feel he deserves an opportunity and could do no worse than Howard.
If he plays the next two consecutive matches and holds onto his clean sheet in both then surely he has proven that he should be fir....augh wait, just realised how pointless this post is.
He kept consecutive clean sheets last year and got dropped as soon as Howard was ready to return.
62 Posted 05/01/2016 at 22:10:20
63 Posted 06/01/2016 at 00:24:04
Personally I think it goes beyond that. If he's not picking Joel during Howard's current form then he doesn't rate him at all. That means we have two keepers with no future at the club either due to age or ability. And that's a terrible position to be in that shows real negligence in managing our club.
64 Posted 06/01/2016 at 00:47:23
This is a semi-final. So no pissing about. Especially against these opponents. This is no time for pretty tippy tappy nonsense. We need to go for the jugular. We really do need to win this match. IMO we need to go 4-4-2. Double up on the flanks. Give Coleman and Baines cover. Lennon and Cleverly should do that job better than Del and Kone. Besic and (for his experience) Barry to play in the middle. Lukaku up top. Supported by Barkley. Barkley needs to get in this game tomorrow. He bosses this game then I think that Everton win. I would love to see Miralles play alongside Lukaku. But that means dropping Barkley. I would not sacrifice the four in midfield. I don't care if this is not a classic tomorrow night. I only want Everton to at least take a two goal advantage into the second leg. Then park the bloody bus. Do what needs to be done. Semi-finals don't come round that often. Let's make this one count. Man City can be beat. I think.
Changes will be made for Saturday. So let's have a real go of things tomorrow. Here's hoping that Martinez throws out his lucky book "how to play football" manual. And that he loses his stubborn approach to team selection. He abandons tippy tappy. And he shows some of his qualities from his first season. The 3-0 win over Arsenal , in particular. Not asking much. But we might just need something special. Just hope that we do not fold, like we did in the Europa League. At least keep this tie alive over the two legs. The joys of supporting Everton. Who knows what will happen. FFS we don' t even know what team Martinez will pick.
65 Posted 06/01/2016 at 00:54:39
Impact from the bench
66 Posted 06/01/2016 at 01:20:28
I would omit Deulofleu tomorrow. We all know what he brings to the party. But should he play, then he needs to go at Man City right from the start. Not going missing for half the match. He needs to provide cover for Coleman. No leaving that flank exposed. Should he play, then his presence needs to count. I just think that Lennon might bring more , in a game that we really cannot afford to go behind in. And as we don't have a proper left winger. Maybe Cleverly could provide cover for Baines. I have now relented that Kone is not good enough. This game could be a game just out of his league. And it badly shows up our lack of back up, with Miralles and Naismith seemingly not going to feature. God help us should Lukaku ever get injured. We need big performances from every player tomorrow. COYBSOD.
68 Posted 06/01/2016 at 01:53:13
Cleverley or Mirallas should start on the left; the rest of the starting XI picks itself. COYB!
69 Posted 06/01/2016 at 03:19:03
If we let City dictate the game the way we let Spurs dictate on Sunday we will be knocked out. They have better players than Spurs
They are nowhere near as impressive going backwards, if we can apply enough pressure on their less than convincing defence, we will disrupt their flow and we can win.
We have got to find a way to get past this lot, there are old scores waiting to be settled. We now HAVE to win this fucking cup.
70 Posted 06/01/2016 at 04:26:20
I'm sure we'll make it close but I'm already feeling with Martinez like I did with Moyes. That tweaks around the team selection make little difference, we're playing to a plan that just isn't trophy winning stuff. At the big moments, the opposition will change something to break the game and we'll continue down our well trodden path.
The idea of taking on that shower in a cup final is the most incredible carrot (though I'm sure we'd hate it in many ways). Please Blues, time to show you can stand up in the biggest moments.
71 Posted 06/01/2016 at 07:06:55
Hhhhhhhmmmmm........OK, maybe not. Life's all about timing though folks :)
72 Posted 06/01/2016 at 08:48:50
73 Posted 06/01/2016 at 08:49:02
Of course he may well be right but does he have to say it TODAY? He goes on to rebutt the 'under-achieving' allegations by saying we didn't achieve anything last year so what's there to under-achieve? Well, I wonder who's fault was that?
Of course, he qualifies that statement by saying 'recent performances merit 4th or 5th spot' but does he really expect the Prem to change the points allocation to reflect the aesthetics of the game just to suit him?
If ever a manager hangs himself out of his own mouth, it's our Roberto. But for most of us mere 'speccies', tonight is all important. COYB!
74 Posted 06/01/2016 at 09:38:29
But take a look at an excellent analysis of the stats by Mike Oates ("Top 4 - It's Gone") where he shows the points per game we now need to hit the top 4 and the almost certainty we ain't going to do that based on points per game so far. So we get neither top 4, nor a cup. As Roberto himself is saying, our best lads will be leaving.
75 Posted 06/01/2016 at 11:49:53
A good way to motivate our players! Can't the club stop him giving interviews? Every time, he says something wrong and/or embarrassing.
76 Posted 06/01/2016 at 12:01:25
Over the next 7 games (8 if we happen to draw against Dagenham and Redbridge) Martinez will, barring injury/suspension, play Robles 4 times - twice in the League Cup and twice in the FA Cup (I am assuming that we will progress to the 4th Round).
So, what happens in between the 2 semi-final legs? We play Man City away in the League. Why would anyone wish to disrupt a defensive formation prepared to face City 3 times over such a short period of time? It makes perfect sense to leave Robles in goal for the away League game, with an identical match just a few weeks away. Anything else would, in my opinion, be detrimental to the teams chances of success in the League Cup. Indeed it provides an ideal dress rehearsal.
That just leaves 2 more League games against Chelski and Swansea. Again I would suggest that there is no reason to disrupt the team further by a change of goalkeeper when another 2 Cup games are to follow so soon afterwards.
I believe that if Robles is played in all 7 games Martinez and the Everton fans will gain a real sense of just how good Robles is and whether he is a worthy long term successor to Howard.
77 Posted 06/01/2016 at 12:38:17
78 Posted 06/01/2016 at 12:49:23
Frighteningly, on merit!!
79 Posted 06/01/2016 at 13:04:12
80 Posted 06/01/2016 at 13:21:13
I think we could win tonight but just can't see us beating them over two legs. I think the next 3 weeks could have a great influence on RMs future, we play both Man City and Chelsea away in the league. Lose both of them and get knocked out of the League Cup and I think the writing would be on the wall.
81 Posted 06/01/2016 at 13:25:08
82 Posted 06/01/2016 at 13:28:35
83 Posted 06/01/2016 at 13:32:26
84 Posted 06/01/2016 at 13:37:06
85 Posted 06/01/2016 at 13:52:00
86 Posted 06/01/2016 at 13:56:15
It's not like people go out there way to tune into the final of this game is it? Right after Christmas, people are watching their pennies. I'll take three points next league game than a win tonight. Hey ho...
87 Posted 06/01/2016 at 14:10:43
However, I think there are those that do - including the ones who matter. I have it on good authority that Roberto is 'only half-way' through his project to re-shape Everton, having had to break up his successful first season squad to lower an aging squad.
There followed an 'encouraging foray into Europe' and Capital Cup semi-final this season. Most importantly, I understand there is much delight at the return to a 'School of Science' style of play and continuous full-houses.
And it wasn't Roberto who 'spouted that bollocks' but one of his employers !
88 Posted 06/01/2016 at 14:37:26
89 Posted 06/01/2016 at 14:55:50
I can't remember the last time Barkley ran past Lukaku, yet Ali did it all the time for Spurs. Also RM needs to address the problem of Ross refusing to make any meaningful challenges, again something Ali does on a regular basis.
I believe that Ross is a talent he is just not getting the good coaching his talent will benefit from. Mind that goes for most of the team.
Finally you have asked for the crowd to get right behind the team, well maybe if you didn't send us all to sleep with your obsessed possession game and took the game to the opposition then I am sure the crowd will be right behind you and the team.
90 Posted 06/01/2016 at 15:23:05
91 Posted 06/01/2016 at 15:46:54
How can anybody claim that dropping from 5th to permanent 11th over a season and a half indicates progress. Even if we do play pretty football whilst doing so?
92 Posted 06/01/2016 at 16:58:00
So we didn't play in any more important games than this for the past 15 years,....erm ok
93 Posted 06/01/2016 at 17:12:20
94 Posted 06/01/2016 at 17:15:05
Dennis, if he really is going to play the best team (in his eyes) then Howard will play?
95 Posted 06/01/2016 at 17:35:26
I would rather be level than 2-1 up, as we can't defend a lead, but we can play on the counter-attack. I expect he will pick his best defenders, ie Lennon starting and probably Kone. I hope Besic gets the nod but I have a feeling he may have to sit on the bench with Deulofeu and Mirallas.
I don't mind as long as RM moves to change things with plenty of time left. We mustn't lose this game.
96 Posted 06/01/2016 at 17:40:39
97 Posted 06/01/2016 at 17:52:31
If we do not get into Europe we will have the "vampires" sorry the "leaches" sorry the agents pushing for our better players to move to clubs playing in the European competitions. We all now who the players are, who the bigger clubs will be after, so if a couple of them go it will be back to square one reorganizing the team.
Martinez may make statements that this player or players will not be sold, but the problem is, will BK resist the temptation of obscene amounts of money being offered. We may then have a large amount of funds for transfers but there is never any guarantee that the players you buy are going to make the team any better than the players you sold.
98 Posted 06/01/2016 at 18:00:41
99 Posted 06/01/2016 at 18:24:32
Sure they will be entertaining to some degree as they have scoring prowess but you have to defend and when the likes of Bournemouth and Stoke pile them in then one doesn't have reason for much optimism.
The ironic part is, that since getting bagfuls against Everton how many goals between them have Bournemouth, Stoke and Leicester scored? Leicester don't have any! Go figure.
100 Posted 06/01/2016 at 18:29:30
102 Posted 06/01/2016 at 18:33:40
103 Posted 06/01/2016 at 18:39:43
104 Posted 06/01/2016 at 18:43:05
105 Posted 06/01/2016 at 18:45:57
106 Posted 06/01/2016 at 18:54:38
The shambles at the back was created by Martinez. It was our strength before he took over.
107 Posted 06/01/2016 at 18:59:45
108 Posted 06/01/2016 at 19:00:51
109 Posted 06/01/2016 at 19:02:11
They obviously want to win something and so do we especially those poor kids who have never seeen a successful Goodison.
Let's rock the rafters and show City what a proper club is.
110 Posted 06/01/2016 at 19:02:37
111 Posted 06/01/2016 at 19:03:59
112 Posted 06/01/2016 at 19:04:59
113 Posted 06/01/2016 at 19:08:42
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