Alex Iwobi could return after missing the New Year's Day defeat to West Ham
Everton's FA Cup campaign begins this weekend with a home tie against Championship side Rotherham United at Goodison Park which will once again be empty of fans as the country remains under lockdown.
Having had their Carabao Cup hopes dashed at the quarter-final stage by defeat to Manchester United 2½ weeks ago, the Blues will be hoping to get closer to Wembley this time, with the prospect of getting key players back fit for future rounds if they can negotiate the Millers.
Carlo Ancelotti restated his target for European qualification this week in an interview with Gazetta dello Sport but also pledged to “honour … the oldest football tournament in the world … in the best way possible,” and that suggests that he will be putting out a strong side for this third-round fixture.
The teams he fielded in the League Cup featured varying degrees of deviations from his first-choice line-up depending on the strength of the opposition and while wholesale changes aren't expected, Ancelotti could hand fresh chances to impress to the likes of Niels Nkounkou and Anthony Gordon.
The young duo were stand-out performers in the early rounds of the League Cup, forging an exciting partnership down Everton's left flank that hasn't been seen since the Fifth Round win over West Ham, but with Lucas Digne still out, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them reunited against Rotherham.
Up front, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is in need of a break but with so few alternatives to lead the line and the fact that he is experiencing something of a goal drought, he might be selected to lead the line again or Richarlison could be handed the centre-forward's role.
In midfield, Alex Iwobi could return after missing the defeat to West Ham while the likes of André Gomes and Bernard will be angling for starts.
At the back, Robin Olsen could benefit from Ancelotti's rotation of his goalkeepers and Michael Keane should return after getting a rest on New Year's Day, perhaps alongside Mason Holgate or Ben Godfrey in the centre of defence.
Rotherham, who have had a few more days' rest than expected after their games against Middlesbrough and Cardiff City were postponed either side of their defeat to Barnsley, come into the match sitting second from bottom in the Championship.
Paul Warne's team have won just once in nine games and, as such, should make for routine opponents for an Everton team that won four Premier League games on the bounce prior to last Friday.
This being the FA Cup, of course, nothing can be taken for granted and it will require that the Toffees are fully up for it to ensure that they are in the hat for the draws for the next two rounds.
Ancelotti has announced that none of Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison or Jordan Pickford will start against Rotherham but Cenk Tosun will lead the line and Lucas Digne is back fit and available to play.
Kick-off: 12pm, Saturday, 9 January 2021 on BT Sport Extra 2
Last Time: Everton 3 - 1 Rotherham (League Cup, August 2018)
Predicted Line-up*: Olsen, Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Nkounkou, Davies, Doucouré, Gomes, Richarlison, Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin
*Made prior to updates from Carlo Ancelotti
Reader Comments (93)
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1 Posted 08/01/2021 at 06:58:22
Come on – let's rother 'em!
2 Posted 08/01/2021 at 07:02:17
Coleman Keane Holgate Nkounkou
Davies Doucouré Gomes
Iwobi Calvert-Lewin Richarlison
Go 3-0 up then Gordon and Tosun replacing Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin after 60 mins so they are fresh for the important match against Wolves. (Inner voice is telling me ‘get real, this is Everton you know'...)
Prediction: Everton 4 Rotherham 1
3 Posted 08/01/2021 at 07:15:35
4 Posted 08/01/2021 at 07:43:19
5 Posted 08/01/2021 at 09:00:50
6 Posted 08/01/2021 at 09:06:29
7 Posted 08/01/2021 at 09:27:52
However, I believe Rotherham have had a problem recently with Covid cases in their playing staff, so the game may not go ahead at all, at the moment.
8 Posted 08/01/2021 at 09:53:26
We might be holding back Branthwaite, Bernard and Tosun to protect them while there's a chance they might be moving on (the former only on loan). I agree with Martin that it won't be easy – with weather and lack of crowd being a bit of a leveller.
9 Posted 08/01/2021 at 10:00:27
Looks like that Aston Villa are to make up a team of Under-23s and academy players for their Cup game tonight, yet Man City, with 5 players with Covid, in conjunction with the Premier League, called off the game against us.
I think with so many lower league sides still involved in the Cup, and the outbreak of Covid high in the lower leagues, I really can't see how the FA Cup can possibly carry on in the normal way. Leyton Orient had to forfeit their League Cup tie with Spurs because of Covid, but Shrewsbury have been allowed to postpone their FA Cup game with Southampton because they have an outbreak of Covid in the team.
We all know that the FA Cup is a lifeline for many clubs, and it would hit the lower leagues hard if those that have qualified for the 3rd round had to forfeit their games because of Covid. Well maybe one solution would be for the FA to guarantee those lower league clubs a set amount of money should their game be called off because of an outbreak of Covid in their team.
10 Posted 08/01/2021 at 10:00:34
11 Posted 08/01/2021 at 10:04:23
Hopefully the first step to a successful career. What a man and what a blue. Loved him in our shirt.
13 Posted 08/01/2021 at 10:11:18
Kenny Branthwaite Godfrey Nkounkou
Davies Holgate Gomes
Iwobi Tosun Gordon
Subs: Pickford, Keane, Coleman, Doucouré, Baningime, Simms, Bernard
If we can't beat Rotherham with this team, then we don't deserve to be in the FA Cup anyway!
14 Posted 08/01/2021 at 10:29:03
I can see Football being locked-down like the rest of society unless they let them have the vaccine.
15 Posted 08/01/2021 at 10:29:23
16 Posted 08/01/2021 at 11:00:33
Coleman Godfrey Keane Nkoukou
Iwobi Gomes Gordon
Not the strongest XI but still a team full of internationals and highly paid players that should be more than capable of seeing off Rotherham at home.
The season requires a squad that is ready to help and few games will be as 'easy' on paper as this one. It should be the best opportunity since the Carabao to give the likes of Gordon, Tosun and Nkoukou a start.
17 Posted 08/01/2021 at 11:23:10
It's Doucouré, not 'Dacoure' or 'Doucure'.
And it's Nkounkou, not 'Nkoukou'. That one is easier than it looks – if you get the first four-letters right, then just repeat.
Sorry to call you out but it's starting to bug me... a lot.
ps: That's another one of your faves: not 'alot' – no such word. Sorry.
18 Posted 08/01/2021 at 11:27:32
19 Posted 08/01/2021 at 11:35:12
I don't tend to think of TW as somewhere I have to check my spellings rigorously, which is something I spend enough time doing in my day job.
20 Posted 08/01/2021 at 11:43:27
21 Posted 08/01/2021 at 11:43:28
Is there such a word?
22 Posted 08/01/2021 at 11:43:28
Oldsen, Colemen, Kean, Holegate, Nkoncou, Davis, Dacouré, Gomez, Ricarlison, Ewobi, Tuson.
Sorry Michael, I couldn't resist.
23 Posted 08/01/2021 at 11:58:00
Most difficult to spell Everton XI anyone?! : )
24 Posted 08/01/2021 at 11:58:40
I cheat now and have the free version of Grammarly running in Chrome. But it's not much help with those pesky foreign names!
25 Posted 08/01/2021 at 12:01:04
Meanwhile, I'm never in favour of starting with a weak team. I'd rather send players out with the message that if they put it to bed by half time 3 of them can have a rest. But having said that, at the back we have options to rotate without really weakening the side. Equally in the midfield.
So I have no worries about playing any combination of square pegs in square holes along the back 4 (and stop thinking of Holgate and Godfrey as makeshift full-backs. They are both versatile players who can each play centre back, full back or (probably) midfield.
Also with James, Siggy (I can't spell Sigurdsson) and Iwobi all able to play the number 10 role we can rotate here.
But up front we have no adequate replacements for DCL or Richarlison so they have to be in until the game is sown up.
26 Posted 08/01/2021 at 12:02:56
27 Posted 08/01/2021 at 12:06:17
Further forward it gets tricky to call. Surely Calvert-Lewin needs a rest? There has been no mention of James who could start, with Iwobi or Bernard on the left and Tosun up front. Hard to call.
Funny player Bernard, he has the talent to play left or in the middle but likes to give the ball away. Bernard is the only player of his kind in the squad, if only he could have two good games in a row.
28 Posted 08/01/2021 at 12:07:23
Digne says he was on the training pitch and about to fire a cross in when he got tackled from behind and his ankle couldnt take it.
Amazing news, but surely he cant start that match, bench at best?
29 Posted 08/01/2021 at 12:39:32
Considering the fact that our game against Man City was postponed, we have only had to play three games in the last three weeks. I'd rather see much closer to a first-choice XI (maybe rest Coleman, Doucouré and James – and play with a front 3 of Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and Gordon) in the hope of having a comfortable lead come 70 minutes.
Not being able to break Rotherham down over 120 minutes would be poor preparation for Wolves on Tuesday night, and not being in the hat for the 4th Round would be a big downer.
30 Posted 08/01/2021 at 13:03:21
Coleman - Keane - Godfrey
Kenny - Holgate - Davies - Nkounkou
Gordon - Tosun - Richarlison
Mobile, a blend of youth and experience, and gives a few a chance to regain form (Richarlison, Coleman, Davies) or show their skills for potential buyers (Kenny, Tosun)
31 Posted 08/01/2021 at 13:39:14
Or will he just replicate the 3rd Round last season and become infamous in the history of the club for another embarrassing Cup defeat?
32 Posted 08/01/2021 at 14:07:27
33 Posted 08/01/2021 at 14:16:08
Tosun to carry the forward-line?
As for next weekend's fixture at Villa, it may be in doubt due to the quarantining of so many Villa players.
34 Posted 08/01/2021 at 14:19:50
Gets by as 'informal' usage. I blame those young people.
35 Posted 08/01/2021 at 14:46:37
Having said that this should give a chance to some of the fringe players who if they don't show up against Rotherham will have no chance in the Prem.
I am thinking mainly of Nkounkou (Hope that spellchecker works) and Gordon with maybe Ellis Simms given some time on the pitch.
Other than that I would treat this as a practice match for the Wolves game which will be tough.
36 Posted 08/01/2021 at 14:50:41
Maybe Keane and Mina if they play and a Siggy penalty if were lucky.
37 Posted 08/01/2021 at 15:01:57
Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Nkounkou
Iwobi, James, Gordon
Save the others for Wolves.
38 Posted 08/01/2021 at 15:11:52
The theory behind bringing in the big guns late, is that the lower league team will have ran itself out and class would then prevail.
If you start with your best team with a view to taking a few off early to rest them. They will be on for the part when defiance is at its peak.
If Jay is right about Richy and DCL this could be the ideal moment to give younger strikers a chance. I think Cenk's chance may have gone. If so, I would rather play junior forwards than push senior players into a position they don't normally play...
39 Posted 08/01/2021 at 15:12:00
40 Posted 08/01/2021 at 15:13:01
Paddy Power are offering an unbelievably tight wadded 3/1 on him.
Given they give 7/2 on Richarlison who isn't even playing that is not going to attract too much money!
I didn't look but they've probably got 9/4 on Tony Hibbert
41 Posted 08/01/2021 at 15:27:04
Get yourself onto Betfair. There will be plenty of people who'll be happy to give you better odds than that.
Stay away from sharks like Paul Tran though.
42 Posted 08/01/2021 at 15:51:08
43 Posted 08/01/2021 at 16:05:22
Not much value around for this game.
Im going with Everton win and both teams to score.
2/1 generally available.
44 Posted 08/01/2021 at 16:14:55
I've had a dabble on a couple of trebles.
Hope I do better than my last one which included Sheffield United to break their duck!
I think Lord Lucan as first scorer was less of a risk.
45 Posted 08/01/2021 at 16:25:48
46 Posted 08/01/2021 at 16:27:03
47 Posted 08/01/2021 at 16:34:37
49 Posted 08/01/2021 at 17:17:53
50 Posted 08/01/2021 at 17:31:27
Especially with the City cancellation meaning he's only played once in the last two weeks.
Granted, he has been 'run into the ground' this season.
Cenk is 25/1 to get a hat trick tomorrow with Sky Bet.
51 Posted 08/01/2021 at 17:33:01
52 Posted 08/01/2021 at 17:35:19
Joe I have to agree with you
The numbers we are seeing are horrendous
Teams having to play their reserve teams due to covid has automatically devalued the competition
53 Posted 08/01/2021 at 17:38:09
54 Posted 08/01/2021 at 18:02:21
55 Posted 08/01/2021 at 18:07:48
56 Posted 08/01/2021 at 18:16:49
57 Posted 08/01/2021 at 18:18:51
58 Posted 08/01/2021 at 18:43:12
59 Posted 08/01/2021 at 18:44:12
Welfare and health is the priority for the UK governments and across the globe, but in English football terms, it seems to me the EPL, and the FA, are bringing the game into disrepute, as they have no longer got standard rules to confirm the playing compliance requirements, for all foot ball clubs in the top professional tiers of the game.
Throw in the VAR farce, those hamshankers on 5Live and TalkSport...
Lets hope that Everton, this season can deliver and kick on for a consistent and winning 2nd half of the season.
Belief, guts and hard work can do it and this season, any team that fancies a good battle to the end of the season has a chance of success.
Lets beat Rotherham for me this should be comfortable, but the FAC, and giant killing is legendary but not tomorrow at GP.
Lets do them and then to focus on Wolves and go there, to play like the players lives depend on the result at Wolves.
A couple of big games and Everton, are in the mix.
All stay safe and well.
60 Posted 08/01/2021 at 19:06:22
I'm concerned we're without DCL tomorrow as he's one player who I don't think needs resting and wouldn't be phased with this type of opposition. They might try and rough the Premier League "prima donna" up, but within 5 minutes would realise they are dealing with Dom from Sheffield who has a fitness level and engine on him they will be praying for after 60 minutes.
With these games, I'm in the traditional camp. Go out strong and win it, then bring players off. Certain teams have the depth, but if we go out weak, we go out on a banana skin and then risk chasing the game against a team that would likely dig in and we're not great at coming back against that.
Not being negative and we should beat them, I would just rather go strong, get them beaten and then rest, not vice versa.
61 Posted 08/01/2021 at 19:09:26
62 Posted 08/01/2021 at 19:19:36
63 Posted 08/01/2021 at 19:32:42
so Rotherham fielding the same 11 then are they ? Dont understand your logic.
64 Posted 08/01/2021 at 19:49:11
I suppose what John might be trying to say is that we are better now than when we played in 2018. So theoretically should cruise this. Theoretically.
Thing is, I don't know if they are improved, worse or similar to then.
And throw into the mix it's a cup fixture in an already unpredictable season, then who knows!!
65 Posted 08/01/2021 at 20:00:01
66 Posted 08/01/2021 at 20:11:58
Just get through to the next round. So take it serious, play a strong team. Happy with a couple of changes.
Keep the defensive unit strong. Allow Holgate and Godfrey the chance to have a little more freedom to play as more attacking full backs and see what they have to offer.
Happy for Cenk to play, it may be his last game for us and see what magic the FA cup can do for us in the next round.
As for football carrying on.. stupid is as stupid does. Elite sports should take a break.
67 Posted 08/01/2021 at 20:46:38
I can't see James starting against a team in the Championship relegation zone though. Maybe Bernard at 10? Save the magician for Portugal... sorry, Wolves on Tuesday.
Will listen to the game on talkSport. Wonder which ex-Liverpool player they'll have as "expert summariser"?
68 Posted 08/01/2021 at 20:47:22
Justin (67) – If it is attacking full-backs you are after, then I wouldn't look towards Godfrey or Holgate. They are both very good young centre-halves but neither possesses any significant attacking talent or intent.
69 Posted 08/01/2021 at 20:49:01
70 Posted 08/01/2021 at 20:57:39
Coleman Keane Godfrey Nkounkou
Iwobi James Gordon
I just watched Howard's Way again with my 6-year-old son as he loves it!! We are surely due our day in the sun!! Some luck please and let's win the Cup!!! All the young Evertonians out there deserve it and need it!
71 Posted 08/01/2021 at 21:47:56
With them training at Finch Farm seems it's only a matter of time the lads will become an issue.
72 Posted 08/01/2021 at 21:50:23
73 Posted 08/01/2021 at 21:55:27
74 Posted 08/01/2021 at 22:15:05
It's a cup-tie, Rotherham will be rested due to having no match last week, they will also be highly motivated, and given Everton's inability to create and score chances in recent weeks, it will not be an easy match for us. We should have enough to beat them, but they could easily achieve a draw and take us to the lottery of penalties.
75 Posted 08/01/2021 at 22:22:55
I believe we have improved since August 2018. Of course shocks can happen but providing our players, whoever they are, turn up they should have little difficulty in winning this one.
76 Posted 08/01/2021 at 22:35:38
77 Posted 08/01/2021 at 22:41:05
I know you are joking, but if that was the case, we'd either fulfill the fixture with the youth players, etc or we'd forfeit the match and our place in the FA Cup.
According to a tweet from Alan MyersThe Premier League has told all its clubs to crack down hard on players who breach Coronavirus rules, or face punishment by the governing body. The approach is a response to a number of transgressions, particularly over Christmas, where players were seen to be flouting the rules
78 Posted 08/01/2021 at 22:46:35
Can't remember who said that.
79 Posted 08/01/2021 at 23:07:42
80 Posted 09/01/2021 at 07:29:04
81 Posted 09/01/2021 at 07:58:35
83 Posted 09/01/2021 at 08:14:53
84 Posted 09/01/2021 at 09:06:13
We should win this, I'm expecting a drab affair with few goals as we have been dire to watch for some time now. I am not even sure if I want to watch it, given the crap we were served a week ago – I should have washed the car or something instead of wasting that 2 hours of my life.
85 Posted 09/01/2021 at 09:06:38
It would be really nice to be still in this after January. I actually think it's a hard game the pressure is on Everton to get through and the home form with no fans is poor at best.
Everton should win but they should also have beaten West Ham and Leeds at home so I will take nothing for granted.
86 Posted 09/01/2021 at 09:36:10
87 Posted 09/01/2021 at 09:39:48
In the entire history of the club since 1878 he has to be close to the very top of worst value for money.
88 Posted 09/01/2021 at 09:58:55
89 Posted 09/01/2021 at 10:04:10
What do you expect? The player to say "That's a bit too much, lower the amount"?
90 Posted 09/01/2021 at 10:22:50
Think Sandro must top that list – he's spent almost his entire career playing for other teams at our expense. At least Tosun is in the squad.
91 Posted 09/01/2021 at 10:40:43
How do watch BT Sport Extra 2?
92 Posted 09/01/2021 at 10:41:44
93 Posted 09/01/2021 at 10:52:53
94 Posted 09/01/2021 at 11:02:21
Subs: Lossl, Holgate, Branthwaite, Mina, Nkounkou, Doucoure, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Simms.
95 Posted 09/01/2021 at 11:08:54
96 Posted 09/01/2021 at 15:01:20
Anyone who doesn't think we need better forward players with pace, (a winger and forward / striker), are kidding themselves or supporting another team.
We now have players that can pass and create but there's no one to pass to.
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