FA Cup Fifth Round Preview
Roberto Martinez has confirmed that Joel Robles will start in goal
Many people have traced the derailment of Everton’s season back to the events in stoppage time at the end of the Toffees’ Premier League game at Dean Court at the tail end of November. Pegged back to 2-2 having been 2-0 up and coasting against Bournemouth, Roberto Martinez’s side reclaimed the lead through Ross Barkley and were a couple of minutes of disciplined, tight defending away from earning three important points.
What followed, of course, was a third Cherries goal scored in the minutes presumably added on for the time it took to clear the pitch of jubilant Evertonians who had spilled out of the stands to celebrate with the players. It came like a punch to the solar plexus; instead of a second successive win that would have lifted them into 6th, Everton dropped back to 9th and took the psychological effects with them on the long trip back to Merseyside.
Martinez suggested in the latter half of last season that similar failures to hold onto leads against Leicester and Arsenal at the start of 2014-15 had left mental scars that debilitated his team for months afterwards; if that was the case again this term, it manifested itself in the further cession of precious advantages against Norwich, Stoke, Tottenham and Chelsea in the League and, painfully, Manchester City in the Capital One Cup.
That 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge, which played out in infuriatingly similar circumstances to the one at the Vitality Stadium, was the opportunity to demonstrate that the players had learned from what happened against Bournemouth, one they unfortunately failed to grasp. Their return to the south coast this weekend offers a shot at partial redemption.
Martinez brushed off the notion that Everton need to win the FA Cup in order to “save" this season but he is on record from only a few weeks ago saying that his team had to achieve this season given the quality of the squad at his disposal. At the time, definition of “achieve” was assumed to be "win a trophy" or "finish in the top four" but the avenues for success have narrowed considerably in the interim and this competition without question represents the best chance of a positive conclusion to 2015-16.
Not only would it finally end a 21-year trophy drought but it would also put the Blues back in Europe. It wouldn’t mask the failings in the Premier League, particularly if the team isn’t able to improve much on its current mid-table berth — indeed, it would surely complicate the debate on Martinez’s future — but it would provide a bright spot in an otherwise maddening season.
The manager surely knows this and that could be reflected in a starting XI featuring few changes despite last week’s defeat to West Bromwich Albion. Martinez has confirmed that Joel Robles will be in goal; if his desire for continuity in the back line that has conceded just once in four games holds, then it’s hard to see him deviating from a defence consisting of Seamus Coleman, Phil Jagielka, Ramiro Funes Mori and Bryan Oviedo.
There have been calls for Leighton Baines to be recalled, however, and, given that he is still the superior fullback, it makes sense that he should return to the starting XI after spending those last four games getting plenty of rest. It would not be a surprise therefore if the England international is selected even though the Costa Rican has done well recently.
John Stones’s return to fitness, meanwhile, throws up another potential selection conundrum, although the apparent strength of the Ramiro Funes Mori - Phil Jagielka partnership and the fact that the 21-year-old has been going through a disappointing patch of form should tip things in the Argentine’s favour and mean Stones coming back into the squad as a substitute.
In midfield, any inclination on Martinez’s part to use the cup as an opportunity to rotate his players could hand opportunities to one or both of Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu, possibly at the expense of Aaron Lennon or Tom Cleverley. Fans will be hoping to catch a glimpse of Oumar Niasse but, if he is able to play despite his wrist injury, it will likely be off the bench.
The importance of this game might not match that of the League Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City in terms of its immediate connotations — namely a place at Wembley for a major final — but a definitive result either way would have significant ramifications for the remainder of Everton’s season.
Lose and 2015-16 could effectively be over with a little under a third of the campaign to go. A top-six berth is still possible but Everton haven’t shown themselves capable thus far of being able to put the kind of run together that would be required to achieve it. Win and it’s one step closer to a shot at glory and a big psychological boost in the quest for the form it would take to finish in the kind of League position that the talent at the club suggests should be a minimum. It being a cup tie, though — with Martin Atkinson in the middle to boot — anything is possible.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Predicted line-up: Robles, Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Cleverley, Lennon, Barkley, Lukaku
Quotes sourced from ToffeeWeb match page
Reader Comments (66)
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1 Posted 20/02/2016 at 01:05:57
2 Posted 20/02/2016 at 01:41:17
3 Posted 20/02/2016 at 01:55:57
5 Posted 20/02/2016 at 01:59:01
Hopefully no Kone on the pitch today. I hope Mirallas starts and rips Bournemouth a new one. Coyb.
6 Posted 20/02/2016 at 02:22:11
I would go for the same team that started against WBA.. As suggested in the article. They did after all win three games by that 3-0 scoreline. But change things early should things not be going our way. And no more Osman or Kone nonsense. Mirallas now needs to feature. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Does Martinez really want to give this Everton team a proper chance of winning football matches. Cause he sure as hell is going a strange way about doing so. Anyhow, and against the fact that I have a bad feeling about these early evening kick offs. I think that Everton prepare all wrong for these matches. Just basing that on past results, which have been poor. I want Everton to win. Get this over with at the first attempt. So its 2-0 to Everton. Hopefully. COYBs
7 Posted 20/02/2016 at 04:35:11
8 Posted 20/02/2016 at 05:38:09
9 Posted 20/02/2016 at 06:39:04
10 Posted 20/02/2016 at 06:42:28
11 Posted 20/02/2016 at 07:18:17
12 Posted 20/02/2016 at 08:02:01
.....as if we have a hope of winning at Goodison.
13 Posted 20/02/2016 at 08:24:55
I believe as we are playing week to week it should be the same 11 as the last couple of weeks.
No need for rotation at this point. Mirallas and Deulofeu on if needed.
14 Posted 20/02/2016 at 08:41:26
15 Posted 20/02/2016 at 08:43:21
Barkley looks a better player away from home where he has the opportunities to break with speed on the counter. For me it showed naïvety again by Martinez last week for keeping Barry and McCarthy on together for so long when we needed a goal and leaving Barkley in a number ten role when its a tight game he's showed time and time again he is not yet that intricate disguise passes to slide ball's in between defenders or play quick one-twos he is much better a bit deeper where he can pick the ball up and dictate play and surge forward between the lines!
I think the diagonal ball over Lukaku's head will be the key today after watching the Arsenal game, Bournemouth pack the centre of the pitch and give up the wide areas so playing quality early ball's into the box before the space is gone should be the tactic for me!
Up the Toffees!
16 Posted 20/02/2016 at 08:47:17
17 Posted 20/02/2016 at 08:51:30
18 Posted 20/02/2016 at 08:54:27
19 Posted 20/02/2016 at 09:03:26
Nothing 'superior' about him these days he used to be superior as he had virtually go contention apart from Oviedo who had a broken leg!
Not bad, pretty good at times..but 'superior'? I don't think so.
And whatever Martinez has brought about over the past few windows is competition for places yea, yea he still has his favourites and you'll always get that. Pity that he's still playing Kone tho' and Mirallas left in limbo.
20 Posted 20/02/2016 at 09:16:55
Have I just put the mockers on us?
21 Posted 20/02/2016 at 09:19:54
He daren't make another mistake against us. Dare he?!
22 Posted 20/02/2016 at 09:21:36
23 Posted 20/02/2016 at 09:26:47
24 Posted 20/02/2016 at 09:29:48
I clicked 'No' and as I tap the poll reveals 78% No!
That's enough! The telling statistic which shows why Everton must consider Martinez's position HITC 09:13
25 Posted 20/02/2016 at 09:56:57
26 Posted 20/02/2016 at 09:58:36
27 Posted 20/02/2016 at 10:18:08
28 Posted 20/02/2016 at 11:00:49
Let's be honest, listening to Martinez hasn't done the team much good, so you'll have plenty of support down there today; play for them, you'll get backed all the way.
29 Posted 20/02/2016 at 11:35:16
Or will it be his equivalent of Walter's last stand away to Boro?
30 Posted 20/02/2016 at 11:35:25
It's a long road after today's win, with teams that have stuck the knife into the Blues cruelly in this competition over the years waiting to ambush the Toffees once more. West Ham look a big danger with Bilic working his stuff at eventide at Upton Park. Memories of Lampard senior's dance round the corner flag in 1980 have stayed with me a long time...
Chelsea taking us out in 2009 on our last big day out, and their recent return to something like they can play makes them a warm favourite and I think they will give another potential winner, Man City, a good spanking tomorrow. Would prefer neither of the aforementioned, till the Final anyway.
Who else? Arsenal perhaps... but I think their hat-trick attempt at the once revered trophy may fail this time round and if it is us that puts them to the sword, well, so be it.
So it's a West Ham v Everton final for me if the balls rise from the glass bowl in the manner required.
31 Posted 20/02/2016 at 11:39:54
32 Posted 20/02/2016 at 11:50:31
33 Posted 20/02/2016 at 11:53:01
We'll be watching you intensely. In fact your every decision will be scrutinized.
You didn't think that you could say what you said to Jags and it would all be forgotten did you?
You will be under the Royal Blue spotlight today, sir... so take heed!
34 Posted 20/02/2016 at 12:02:28
I guess he will start with the team that started against West Brom, I just hope his substitutions are better than in that game. I would like to see Baines start, why doesnt he take free kicks anymore, he is better than both Barkley and Lukaku but hardly seems to get a look in for free kicks in and around the box.
Let's hope Lukaku is back to his best today, the last couple of games he has looked a bit jaded.
35 Posted 20/02/2016 at 12:08:08
36 Posted 20/02/2016 at 12:26:39
37 Posted 20/02/2016 at 12:42:04
38 Posted 20/02/2016 at 12:44:12
39 Posted 20/02/2016 at 13:00:18
The only Oxford moment that ever springs to mind with me, was a year later, when Lineker forgot his boots, missed three one-on-ones and they scored in the last minute to hand the other lot the league,
I cannot stand being reminded of going to Oxford.
40 Posted 20/02/2016 at 13:22:32
The game's on all over the world so I'm sure I'll get a kodi channel going.
41 Posted 20/02/2016 at 13:29:00
42 Posted 20/02/2016 at 13:30:01
43 Posted 20/02/2016 at 13:47:26
The shrewder punter will be taking Corals offer (introductory offer for new customers only) 8/1 for Everton to win today EIGHT TO FUCKING ONE ?
Got to investigate further seems far too good to be true...
44 Posted 20/02/2016 at 13:50:02
Barkley for he's vision and Deulofeu for he's attacking approach as soon as he gets the ball.
45 Posted 20/02/2016 at 13:51:40
Of course it'll suck your bandwidth as well.
46 Posted 20/02/2016 at 14:00:21
8/1 for new customers. Unfortunately, max bet only a fiver... but you also get a free fiver bet if you lose.
47 Posted 20/02/2016 at 14:00:32
48 Posted 20/02/2016 at 14:10:56
50 Posted 20/02/2016 at 14:16:19
It just would not feel like a cup week end for me unless I spent a few moments contemplating epoch defining moments in our recent history. Oxford ofcourse is the stuff of legend whilst our defeat at Boro ushered in the era of the Ginger one, arguably the most divisive, marmite like figure in our recent history.
51 Posted 20/02/2016 at 14:18:56
Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
52 Posted 20/02/2016 at 14:21:03
53 Posted 20/02/2016 at 14:44:11
54 Posted 20/02/2016 at 14:46:47
Usually we like to say that bad decisions against all teams even themselves out over the season but sometimes I wonder when the big money sides are involved.
Dean was again negligent in the Arsenal game today and a bad linesman decision almost presented Hull with a totally undeserved win. Here's hoping Everton do not run afoul of Atkinson today.
55 Posted 20/02/2016 at 14:57:01
56 Posted 20/02/2016 at 15:08:04
57 Posted 20/02/2016 at 15:17:23
Mrs got an email from EFC... Deffo 8/1 for new customers. Perhaps you can only do it through EFC link
58 Posted 20/02/2016 at 15:22:21
Log on to the OS the type in Coral in the search box, it will take you to a set of odds offered by them.
59 Posted 20/02/2016 at 15:28:56
61 Posted 20/02/2016 at 15:37:36
63 Posted 20/02/2016 at 15:54:58
Today, I expect the players to raise their game remember the farce of the last match and win? Let's hope the fans don't invade the pitch though, so embarrassing against Bournemouth. Not exactly Barcelona, are they?
64 Posted 20/02/2016 at 15:57:00
Fine for me Athletics at the moment.
65 Posted 20/02/2016 at 16:08:43
If your bet wins, you get your 㾶 back in cash and 㿲 in free bets; if bet goes down, you get a 㾶 free bet.
66 Posted 20/02/2016 at 16:19:48
67 Posted 20/02/2016 at 16:30:52
We lost anyway, but it led me to ponder why it's legal for betting companies to advertise one price in shop windows, then an inferior price when a punter actually goes in and tries to lay the bet? Not having a go at Betfred, just curious if this is normal, given I'm only an occasional punter?
68 Posted 20/02/2016 at 16:32:12
69 Posted 20/02/2016 at 16:49:09
Any free bets I receive will be spent on a Chelsea win and some final round golf bets in California tomorrow evening
70 Posted 21/02/2016 at 11:34:39
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