Everton's Carabao Cup campaign begins this evening with a trip to Huddersfield Town.
The Blues have made an unbeaten start to the new season, beating Southampton 3-1 at Goodison Park on the opening day and earning a draw at Leeds on Saturday and they will be hoping that their superiority on paper will translate into victory over the Championship Terriers.
Those efforts, combined with concerns over match sharpness for players returning from Covid-19 isolation and the desire to have everyone available for Saturday's trip to Brighton mean that Rafael Benitez will have plenty to think about as he plans his team.
"I would like to go through. I would like to play a strong team and compete and go through,” the manager said on Saturday. “Yes, I would like to do that. Can I do it? We will have to wait, because we have to see if we have any knocks, injuries or any problems.
"I don't want to lie. I said so many times — it depends on the squad; it depends on the situation. Obviously, when we play games with this intensity, we have to take that into account.”
Dominic Calvert-Lewin hasn't been able to train properly since returning to pre-season training because of a toe injury and is therefore unlikely to start. Richarlison, meanwhile, came straight back into Premier League action without a break having played 15 times for Brazil over the summer.
Benitez has talked of giving him a break and after his somewhat jaded-looking display at Elland Road at the weekend, he could also be withheld from the starting XI.
That could mean a start for Moise Kean whose first-team opportunities came in this competition last season before he joined Paris Saint-Germain on loan last season.
There may also be scope for the likes of André Gomes, Ben Godfrey and James Rodriguez to be involved at some point as they are believed to be out of isolation and are in need of playing time while Asmir Begovic could be handed a first competitive start.
Huddersfield come into the tie sitting in mid-table having drawn at Derby, won at Sheffield United but been hammered 5-1 at home by former Everton boss Marco Silva's Fulham the weekend before last.
Everton's second-round ties against lower-division opposition has been decent in recent years and you have to go back 20 years when Paul Gascoigne was parading around in a Royal Blue jersey for the last time the Toffees lost in this round of the League Cup. These ties aren't always easy, however, and it will take a focused display from whichever players are selected to take the Toffees through to the next stage.
Kick-off: 7:45 pm, Tuesday, 24 August 2021
Reader Comments (73)
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1 Posted 24/08/2021 at 01:44:34
Begsie - lol
Kenny Holgate Branthwaite Godfrey Nkounkou
James Gbamin Tom Gordon
2 Posted 24/08/2021 at 02:14:55
What it does indicate, is that although we are a million miles from Man City, we at least have the capability and personnel to put out a fairly balanced second string.
3 Posted 24/08/2021 at 02:59:23
My predicted lineup (4-2-3-1), assuming all are available:
Kenny - Godfrey - Branthwaite - Nkounkou
Gbamin - Delph
Davies - Gomes - Gordon
Much as I'd like to believe it, I simply don't expect James will be playing. And Branthwaite is more a wish than a prediction... I rather expect Holgate instead. Hope I'm wrong.
4 Posted 24/08/2021 at 03:32:59
5 Posted 24/08/2021 at 03:44:57
As for James, I hope he realises that, unless he's willing to put in the effort, his career will fizzle out and fade away much too soon for a guy with his skills. I guess we might find out tonight...
If he doesn't play tonight, then I reckon we have seen the last of him in the famous blue shirt. I must admit I've enjoyed watching our last two games more than I anticipated but, if we can sprinkle some James magic on top, we might really be on to something.
6 Posted 24/08/2021 at 04:18:43
What's the reason you want to see an entirely different team? Are you dissatisfied with what you have seen? Confident in our B team? Or you don't care about this cup?
I'd like us to go for the win which probably means a close to full strength team. But, there's an inevitability about this cup with Everton's history and City's dominance in recent years. I feel if we navigate a few modest opponents we will be drawn away to City in round 5. But I remember how a loss to Norwich helped expedite Koeman's departure. So while I wasn't pro Rafa, as he's here, I hope he can keep the positive momentum going as long as he can.
ps: Thanks Mike Gaynes for the US TV info
7 Posted 24/08/2021 at 04:36:43
You saved me doing some research.
I think it's very high risk to go gung-ho with team changes but agree with DCL and Richy having a rest along with Seamus,s aging legs.
I also think we need to look at other CB options so would hope and expect some changes there.
My team although not necessarily Rafa,s team would be
Kenny Godfrey Branthwaite Digne
Doucouré Gbamin Davies
Iwobi Kean Gray
8 Posted 24/08/2021 at 05:20:26
Hopefully a chance to give a few who are usually on the bench a run out, and either give them a chance to prove themselves or reinforce belief that we do need a couple more in before the Window closes. Thanks Mike G, for TV coverage info (ESPN+) I think I may be able to get that on my IPTV Box. Go on Blues put on a good show and start a decent cup run off.
9 Posted 24/08/2021 at 06:06:52
DK #8, it's a subscription service, so you might want to click in early and confirm you can buy it in the UK.
Kieran #6, granted that my suggested line-up won't be the best we could put out there, but 8 of the 11 (9 of the 11 in Jay's lineup) have been regular starters in top-tier leagues -- the Prem, Serie A, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1. Only Gordon, Branthwaite and Nkounkou qualify as true rookies.
Personally I'd be shocked to see Doucouré or Digne in the lineup... they were two of the leggiest at the end of the Leeds game.
10 Posted 24/08/2021 at 06:23:48
Not too many changes as a shock defeat here could undo so much of the positivity that's been gained.
Kean up top with Gray.
Gordon and Townsend out wide.
Davies and Allan (Gbamin off the bench).
Branthwaite, Holgate, Kenny, Nkounkou.
11 Posted 24/08/2021 at 06:49:25
Begovic; Kenny, Holgate, Branthwaite, Nkonkou; Townsend, Davies, Gbamin, Gordon; Kean and Gray probably is my best shot at Rafa's team. Hope we go through and also hope this week we get some new signings. COYB!!
12 Posted 24/08/2021 at 07:35:40
13 Posted 24/08/2021 at 07:53:33
14 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:06:26
Benitez will know more about his back-up players... who tries, who doesn't, and who the deadwood are. He can then do some business before the window closes get some out and a couple in.
15 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:13:19
I think the sensible thing would be to rest your best players and give the fringe players and returning players the minutes they need. Having said that, this is a competition we should be aiming to win and It's a trophy we badly need.
Whilst I'd like to rest the likes of Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Allan, Doucouré, Gray, Digne, etc, I have absolutely no faith in the players who would have to step in. Most of our squad players simply aren't good enough and are Championship-level themselves. Ignoring Gbamin, Godfrey and James, the rest are easily capable of getting knocked out by Huddersfield.
I think it has to be a balancing act of playing first team players than need minutes and some of your better players to ensure the result but I think Rafa will trust the fringe players initially. I hope his faith is rewarded if he does.
My team to start would be:
Nkounkou, Godfrey, Mina, Kenny.
Townsend, Davies, Gbamin, Gomes, Iwobi.
Mina, Godfrey, Townsend and Gbamin should be fresh and are in need of the minutes to get them match fit for a return to the first 11. I'd certainly have the big guns on the bench though, all of them. I have no faith in the likes of Kean, Gomes and Kenny but I don't wanna risk fatigue or injury to our main players. If I was a betting man, I'd imagine Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Gray or Doucoure will be called upon at some point.
Fingers crossed for a good result.
16 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:18:44
If theyre carrying niggles (DCL), have played constantly over summer (Richarlison), or might struggle to play 3 games in a week due to age (Coleman, Allan???) then maybe take an opportunity. Otherwise, full strength. I expect Bergovic to play though.
17 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:18:57
Of course players who haven't figured yet will play to try to add depth to the squad for the rest of the season. Injuries, change of tactics and loss of form will make this necessary as the season progresses.
As we near the end of the transfer window avoiding injury for those that may be in the window may be a factor whether they p!ay or not. I don't see this as being a easy game.
18 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:19:08
There is some merit in the argument to leave our captain out, as three games in a week is definitely pushing it and also I suppose to rest Richarlison, but doing the latter would really make me nervous such is his importance.
If we keep the changes to a minimum I fancy us to win 3 - 1 with Moise Kean amongst the goals.
Full support ….. Onward Evertonians 💙
By the way, some great memories for me from this ground but not related to the blues - I saw REM play here on their Monster tour in 95 with Patti Smith in tow - a top gig even by their standards.
19 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:38:21
That said, I would rest Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison tonight.
Jerome, your comment made me have a look. Between 2004 and 2014, Mr Benitez's (still can't say the R word) cup tally doesn't look too shoddy at all:
Not a bad CV. I think there might even be a World Club Championship or whatever they call it, but they tend to be exhibition matches. Although, you have to win a trophy to get there.
I'm going to Wembley this season and I'm going to Europe next season. To watch Everton, not just my annual trips to Schalke or as I pass through Wembley station on the way to Marylebone!!
20 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:40:40
I would not let Calvert-Lewin; Richarlison; Coleman or Digne anywhere near the team bus, they need a rest.
21 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:53:15
Most players in our squad should be capable of dealing with lower Championship opposition (who might rest players of their own) and the teams put out by Phil and Mike still contain loads of experience.
Benitez and his team will know who has plenty of fuel in the tank and who needs rest but it's a good chance to look at some fringe players. I'm hoping Davies and Branthwaite get starts and do well. All eyes will be on Moise Kean and his effort and application.
22 Posted 24/08/2021 at 09:00:39
23 Posted 24/08/2021 at 09:01:24
Give Kean a chance by all means, and bring Calvert-Lewin on if needed after an hour.
I'm sure Rafa will have a trick or two up his sleeve.
I've got my ticket for the Brighton game which won't be a gimme, but I think we should win it!
24 Posted 24/08/2021 at 09:13:54
25 Posted 24/08/2021 at 09:58:46
Iwobi Allan Gbamin Townsend
Digne Godfrey Mina Kenny
26 Posted 24/08/2021 at 10:14:26
Kenny Holgate Godfrey Nkounkou
Townsend Gomes Delph Gordon
27 Posted 24/08/2021 at 10:30:59
There was some speculation that there may be a move for Longstaff from Newcastle with Tom going in the other direction. I think, if he doesn't start tonight, then I could see this transfer happening.
28 Posted 24/08/2021 at 10:32:30
29 Posted 24/08/2021 at 11:56:49
30 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:12:42
Begovic, Kenny, Keane, Holgate, Nkounkou, Davies, Gbamin, Delph, Townsend, Kean, Gordon.
I would not be surprised if Gray got in ahead of Kean, as he's our most saleable asset and an injury now before the deadline could cost us a new player coming in.
I hope to see Branthwaite at some point. I really like his attitude - no shit taken.
I doubt Godfrey or Gomes will play - subs at best tonight. If James plays I will be amazed. I only included Kean because of Calvert-Lewin's toe issue. I put Keane in because I expect Mina to play at Brighton, alongside Godfrey.
Pickford, Coleman, Digne, Mina, Doucoure, Allan, Iwobi, Richarlison, Gray and Calvert-Lewin to rest with a couple of them on the subs bench for the whole match hopefully.
Anyway lets hope for a good workout, a clean sheet and a 2-0 victory. COYBs.
31 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:16:20
It provides chance for people like Kean to show what he really has against a lowly defence and if he does nothing then he can leave. Given his apparent lack of progress in his career so far I don't really see him being much of anything with any club, much like Iwobi.
32 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:16:45
33 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:40:27
Not the really good ones, and there lies the problem. Davies is a good squad filler. Hes not a starter though. No where near good enough. The cream always rises to the top. Rooney, Barkley, Osman, Hibbert. If youre good enough, really good enough. Youll play.
In answer to your Forest Green comment, Look at Josh Bowler, Dennis Adeniran, Lewis Gibson and the likes. Signed for decent fees from other academies and playing lower league football on loan or let go because theyre not good enough. Jonjoe Kenny cant oust an ageing Coleman. Again, not good enough. We cant play Kenny weekly in the premier league coz hes one of us.
We cant just play players because theyre one of ours. If only we had a team full of scousers. That would all be our dream but we need results and the likes of Dowell, Grant, Denny and the academy title winning team, were not going to get us them.
On the point of Davies, hes played over 100 games so its not like he doesnt get a chance. Hes just not consistently good enough to play for a top 6 premier league side, or a side that has ambitions of being in the top 6. If he was, hed play every week.
34 Posted 24/08/2021 at 13:49:14
I would start Begovic though as its beneficial to have two keepers with some match sharpness. Beyond that, its a case of balancing the need to get through with the need to keep the squad sharp. Id really like to see Gbamin start. Hes such an unknown quantity at the moment but potentially a very important player.
35 Posted 24/08/2021 at 14:05:20
Im not expecting DCL or Richarlison to play, but this is the annual opportunity for Everton to make some progress in this competition.
Theres no easy games and this should be a game where the players selected want to make a point and get in the first team squad.
Hopefully Tom Davies is selected as its a concern that hes dropped down the order unless hes carrying an injury.
Hopefully Everton can do the business tonight.
36 Posted 24/08/2021 at 14:31:35
DCL should rest his toe if injured and Richarlison needs a rest full stop. I wouldn't even have them in the match day squad, never mind starting XI. Digne and Coleman should be on the bench as we don't have decent back up for either. So that's already 4 outfield changes as well as Bergovic.
Play a strong team and get through. Worry about the team for Saturday after.
I can see us being knocked out if we play a full 2nd string, which would be a massive blow for confidence and moral at this early stage.
37 Posted 24/08/2021 at 14:47:12
38 Posted 24/08/2021 at 15:09:12
39 Posted 24/08/2021 at 15:26:25
40 Posted 24/08/2021 at 16:06:44
If you look closely you can probably see this as he progresses season after season.
Unlike our Tom.
41 Posted 24/08/2021 at 16:23:19
42 Posted 24/08/2021 at 16:33:50
43 Posted 24/08/2021 at 16:36:36
How likely do I think we'll see this line up? Highly unlikely as there doesn't seem to be too many goals from midfield and it would be dependent on them getting forward.
44 Posted 24/08/2021 at 16:56:26
45 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:04:27
And always remember. No cup is a Mickey mouse cup...until you get knocked out
46 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:10:46
I was thinking more in terms of the Carabao and FA Cup, where he is trying to maintain a Premiership challenge.
47 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:10:57
Back on subject, and my guess is eleven changes from the side that started against Leeds, giving me a feeling that we no longer really exist to win cups.
48 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:11:35
I see a lot opting for Gordon. For me the jury is still out on he being a premiership player. Fast but one dimensional and most worrying too selfish. I think he thinks he is a better player than he actually is. Also I dont think he is a team player, too often goes for his own glory.
I may be wrong and would love to be proved so.
49 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:21:00
Mina (Or Keane to raise confidence)
Gbamin (or Davies)
Gray (left wing)
Townsend (right wing)
Iwobi (attacking midfielder)
Nkounkou, Gordon and Davies/Gbamin to come of the bench for minutes depending how the game goes.
It may sound harsh but I dont want Kenny anywhere near our squad. Atleast holgate can be fairly solid at right back whilst not great going forwards and Goddfrey can always do well there.
50 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:35:01
51 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:50:21
With regard to squad rotation however, I think we should be confident in our second string. I believe most are premier league quality, and whilst we're struggling to shift them ahead of deadline day, I have no doubt most could comfortably get in a lower league premier team (which should be comfortably better than a Championship mid table team).
Holgate, Nkounkou, Gomes, Davies, Gbamim, Delph, Gordon, Kean should form the basis of a Premier League spine.
52 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:57:41
53 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:08:49
54 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:11:17
I hear you. It should be good enough. The fees weve paid and the wages we pay them. It deffo should be good enough but I have no faith in them players based on their performances for us.
A spine with Holgate, Gomes and Delph in it, thats a spine with severe scoliosis, a Hump and osteoarthritis.
Lets see what unfolds. Id like the big guns to be rested but there is no way Im confident enough to leave them out the squad like. I hope Rafa takes this comp serious because its one our first 11 are capable of winning (with a kind draw). This is a tie, on paper, that our 2nd string should win. Well see 👍🏻
55 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:21:11
Kenny Godfrey Branthwaite Nkounkou
Townsend Iwobi Gordon
56 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:21:31
57 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:21:42
58 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:26:08
Pick our strongest team. I think victories breed confidence, spirit and might well be an antidote to fatigue.
59 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:32:11
Rafa likes pace so Gray, Townsend and maybe Gordon should feature. It will be fascinating to see if James and Moise get a game and I would love to see JP get a start.
Impossible to predict but what the hell:
Begovic Kenny Mina Godfrey Nkounkou Townsend Gbamin Davies Gray James Kean
60 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:36:33
I agree with other posters about playing your strongest side,get the game won (ideally) then make changes,we've started well so let's go an unbeaten run.
I wanted Gray when he was just a bit part player at Leicester,but then again I was a big fan of Tosun and was made up when he signed...you can NEVER tell how transfers will pan out!
61 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:39:50
It is a good competition for ''fringe'' players to make a statement if given the opportunity.
Rafa has to instill a winning mentality against all opposition so one hopes today they will do the job properly.
62 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:47:35
Godfrey and Mina as centre backs, start with Digne as left back and if all goes well, rotate second half and give Nkounkou a run out,same with Coleman and Kenny.
In the middle Gbamin, Doucouré, Grey and Davies, Calvert-Lewin and Kean in attack, give Richarlison a rest,rotate the others if needed, hopefully Gordon, Townsend some game time.
Would stick with Pickford in goal.
63 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:47:51
64 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:50:14
65 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:50:52
66 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:51:43
67 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:53:36
Leaving DCL and Richarlison out the squad is also a massive risk. I just hope Rafa knows what hes doing because if we exit this cup at the first stage, to a championship side, with that team, the fans who never wanted him. will let him know.
Ive gotta be honest, Ill hope for the best but I now expect the worst. That defence is absolutely horrific.
68 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:53:37
69 Posted 24/08/2021 at 19:26:50
I'm likewise guessing that Godfrey is still isolating and Gordon, as Andrew predicts, is outbound on loan.
And James, unfortunately, simply outbound.
Update: ESPN+ is now live.
70 Posted 24/08/2021 at 19:32:31
Hi Mike  my stand out memories of the final replays are the goal scored by Bob Latchford at Hillsborough, and Terry Darracott allowing the ball to travel across the pitch for the Villa winner, at Old Trafford..
71 Posted 24/08/2021 at 19:45:36
Have you forgotten Chris Nichols ( I think ) long shot for one of the goals. Another one that should never have gone in.
72 Posted 24/08/2021 at 20:53:58
73 Posted 24/08/2021 at 21:17:22
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