Huddersfield Town vs Everton

Tuesday, 24 August, 2021 73comments  |  Jump to last
Match Preview

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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Phil Smith
1 Posted 24/08/2021 at 01:44:34
I would like to see a completely different starting 11 in this game:

Begsie - lol
Kenny Holgate Branthwaite Godfrey Nkounkou
James Gbamin Tom Gordon
Kean

Andy McNabb
2 Posted 24/08/2021 at 02:14:55
Not sure whether I will be cursing your selection at full time, Phil but I quite like the look of that line up.

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.

Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 24/08/2021 at 02:59:23
Attention all Yanks... this game will be available on ESPN+ starting at 2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific.

My predicted lineup (4-2-3-1), assuming all are available:

Begovic
Kenny - Godfrey - Branthwaite - Nkounkou
Gbamin - Delph
Davies - Gomes - Gordon
Kean

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.

John Zapa
4 Posted 24/08/2021 at 03:32:59
If Benitez deploys a second string team as expected, they will struggle, as most of them are Championship level or below.
Jim Robinson
5 Posted 24/08/2021 at 03:44:57
Call me the eternal optimist but I'm hoping Benitez and James have had a heart-to-heart and that Rafa has assured him that there will always be a place for someone with a talent like his in a Benitez team providing he's willing to get fit and show a commitment to the team both on and off the pitch.

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.

Kieran Kinsella
6 Posted 24/08/2021 at 04:18:43
Phil Smith

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

Jay Harris
7 Posted 24/08/2021 at 04:36:43
Thanks Mike G.
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

Begovic
Kenny Godfrey Branthwaite Digne
Doucouré Gbamin Davies
Iwobi Kean Gray

Derek Knox
8 Posted 24/08/2021 at 05:20:26
Potential banana skin, as all games are if complacent, especially in a one-off Cup game, though somehow Benitez doesn't strike me as one who would let those feelings cloud his judgement. Huddersfield have had mixed results themselves thus far, and it wasn't so long ago they were in the Premier Leagueso shouldn't, and I expect won't, be taken too lightly.

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.

Mike Gaynes
9 Posted 24/08/2021 at 06:06:52
Jim #5, I so deeply hope you're right. I'll be one happy boy if it turns out that way.

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.

Fran Mitchell
10 Posted 24/08/2021 at 06:23:48
Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to be rested.

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.
Pickford.

Nicolas Piñon
11 Posted 24/08/2021 at 06:49:25
I don't believe any of the isolated players will start this game unless they've trained for more than four days and I believe that that is not the case.

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!!

Robert Tressell
12 Posted 24/08/2021 at 07:35:40
It is about time this club won a trophy.
Brent Stephens
13 Posted 24/08/2021 at 07:53:33
Anybody else like me who has had an email saying tickets have to be collected from Goodison today or from Huddersfield box office tonight?
Mal van Schaick
14 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:06:26
Let's see what the peripheral players can do to give a good performance and a positive result for us.

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.

Benn Chambers
15 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:13:19
Tricky one this, in terms of picking the team.

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:

Begovic,
Nkounkou, Godfrey, Mina, Kenny.
Townsend, Davies, Gbamin, Gomes, Iwobi.
Kean.

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.

Kevin Prytherch
16 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:18:44
We’ve only got 2 games until a break so it’s pointless resting loads of players to keep them fit.

If they’re 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.

Jerome Shields
17 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:18:57
Need a long run in this competition. Never paid any attention to Benitez's approach to cup competitions before. Going on his rotation squad approach, I expect him to try to fit in players to try to progress the offensive attacking formation he has used so far.

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.


Jay Evans
18 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:19:08
Play your best team, your strongest team possible and take off those who need a blow when we are comfortably out of sight. Oh, and never, ever change your first choice keeper for a cup game such as tonight.

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.

Danny O’Neill
19 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:38:21
I'm always like that Jay. I get resting players and giving fringe players or youngsters game time, but I'd be much more comfortable getting the game won then taking players off rather than the other way around.

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:

UEFA Cup
FA Cup
Champions League
Supercoppa Italiana
Europa League
Coppa Italia

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!!

Ian Burns
20 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:40:40
Personally I would play Keane and Kean to see if they step up to this level!

I would not let Calvert-Lewin; Richarlison; Coleman or Digne anywhere near the team bus, they need a rest.

Sam Hoare
21 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:53:15
With Euros, Copa America, Olympics, and late ending to last season, a lot of these players have played a lot of football. They need to be carefully managed or there will be injuries that our thin squad can barely deal with.

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.

Rob Halligan
22 Posted 24/08/2021 at 09:00:39
Brent, # 13. My mate got our tickets posted to his house which arrived Saturday morning.
Ray Smith
23 Posted 24/08/2021 at 09:01:24
Other than resting Calvert-Lewin for Saturday's trip to Brighton, he barely featured in the Euros.

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!

Brent Stephens
24 Posted 24/08/2021 at 09:13:54
Cheers, Rob. They mustn't like me!
John Hammond
25 Posted 24/08/2021 at 09:58:46
Minimal changes for me. 4-4-2 with Gray as the second striker:

Kean
Gray
Iwobi Allan Gbamin Townsend
Digne Godfrey Mina Kenny

David Pearl
26 Posted 24/08/2021 at 10:14:26
Oh go on...

Begovic
Kenny Holgate Godfrey Nkounkou
Townsend Gomes Delph Gordon
James
Kean

Brian Harrison
27 Posted 24/08/2021 at 10:30:59
I think it will be interesting to see if Tom Davies gets a start tonight. I think if I was Tom I would be a bit concerned that the manager seems to prefer Delph.

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.

Tony Everan
28 Posted 24/08/2021 at 10:32:30
Sounds like there will be a majority who played Saturday rested. I am hoping to see Tom Davies give a strong authoritative performance and send a message to Benitez. Then any combination of Nkounkou, Branthwaite, Gordon, maybe Dobbin grab the opportunity to show their quality and help us win.
David Johson
29 Posted 24/08/2021 at 11:56:49
Most people's idea of our B team includes a £22m former Barcelona player, a £28m international striker, and a World Cup Golden Boot winner - which speaks volumes for our recent transfer policy!
Jack Convery
30 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:12:42
Given the pace of the Leeds game I can see several being rested tonight. I only hope Huddersfield do the same.

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.

Tom Bowers
31 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:16:20
Whilst we always want our team to win, every game is different and lower clubs usually put up a fight at home.This is the Mickey Mouse Cup, however, and most top-tier teams will put out the benchwarmers so I am not much fussed about this competition.

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.

Derek Taylor
32 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:16:45
Tom Davies has to pay for spending his formative years at Everton. If he'd been signed for millions even from Forest Green Rovers, he'd be a regular by now. As it is, he'll be flogged or used in exchange to sign some no-mark from elsewhere, a fate all our Academy graduates ( bar DCL ) seem to suffer. Brands has much to answer for !
Benn Chambers
33 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:40:27
Derek 32.

Not the really good ones, and there lies the problem. Davies is a good squad filler. He’s not a starter though. No where near good enough. The cream always rises to the top. Rooney, Barkley, Osman, Hibbert. If you’re good enough, really good enough. You’ll play.

In answer to your Forest Green comment, Look at Josh Bowler, Dennis Adeniran, Lewis Gibson and the likes. Signed for decent fee’s from other academies and playing lower league football on loan or let go because they’re not good enough. Jonjoe Kenny can’t oust an ageing Coleman. Again, not good enough. We can’t play Kenny weekly in the premier league coz he’s one of us.

We can’t just play players because they’re 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, we’re not going to get us them.

On the point of Davies, he’s played over 100 games so it’s not like he doesn’t get a chance. He’s 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, he’d play every week.

Mike Allison
34 Posted 24/08/2021 at 13:49:14
I hope it is a strong team tonight. The only people that need ‘resting’ are those with knocks/niggles and the internationals who played a lot over the summer. Even then, if they’re not expected to travel in the upcoming international break then they’re about to get a rest after Saturday so don’t need one tonight.

I would start Begovic though as it’s beneficial to have two keepers with some match sharpness. Beyond that, it’s a case of balancing the need to get through with the need to keep the squad sharp. I’d really like to see Gbamin start. He’s such an unknown quantity at the moment but potentially a very important player.

Paul Birmingham
35 Posted 24/08/2021 at 14:05:20
I hope that the Team that starts plays for the shirt.
I’m not expecting DCL or Richarlison to play, but this is the annual opportunity for Everton to make some progress in this competition.

There’s 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 it’s a concern that he’s dropped down the order unless he’s carrying an injury.

Hopefully Everton can do the business tonight.

Denis Richardson
36 Posted 24/08/2021 at 14:31:35
I'd love us to take this comp seriously and there's the old saying never change a winning side. However, we need to balance things out I guess.

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.

Kristian Boyce
37 Posted 24/08/2021 at 14:47:12
As Mike said it's on ESPN+ in the States. If any US based blues don't have it yet and have kids (or you enjoy Disney) you can do a bundle with Disney+ and Hulu and you basically get ESPN+ for free. It's about $12 a month. I think they played all of our League Cup games last season on it.
Duncan McDine
38 Posted 24/08/2021 at 15:09:12
Denis 36 - never change a winning side? We’ve won one game and drawn the other… some way to go before we’re labelled the invincibles!
Iakovos Iasonidis
39 Posted 24/08/2021 at 15:26:25
Winning games builds confidence and winning mentality, I wouldn't make too many changes. Having said that I would like to see Gbamin, Kean, Nkounkou starting and Gordon as a sub.
Jay Evans
40 Posted 24/08/2021 at 16:06:44
Derek 32, DCL not one of our academy graduates I’m afraid.

If you look closely you can probably see this as he progresses season after season.

Unlike our Tom.

Mick O'Malley
41 Posted 24/08/2021 at 16:23:19
We need to win a trophy try telling Pep and Man City that this is a “Mickey Mouse “ trophy! I couldn’t care less if we finish in top 8 or whatever, give me a trophy any day of the week, strongest team possible COYBS!
Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 24/08/2021 at 16:33:50
Kristian #37, so does that mean this really is a Mickey Mouse trophy after all?
Alan J Thompson
43 Posted 24/08/2021 at 16:36:36
I usually don't try to second guess the Manager, whoever he is/was, but I'd play Begovic; a back three of Holgate, Keane and Godfrey; Gomes, James, Delph and Davies; Gordon wide and Nkounkou wing back with Kean up front. Not a clue who would be on the bench but possibly the newer keeper, Kenny, Branthwaite, Gbamin, Broadhead, Dobbin and Townsend.

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.

Joe McMahon
44 Posted 24/08/2021 at 16:56:26
I agree with many that we have to rest certain players, but a full 2nd string would get knocked out, as we all know we don't have the Liverpools and Uniteds et al squads and quality. Richie defo needs a rest and DCL. Time for Moise Kean to stop sulking and deliver.
Darren Hind
45 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:04:27
Agreed Mike

And always remember. No cup is a Mickey mouse cup...until you get knocked out

Jerome Shields
46 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:10:46
Danny#19

I was thinking more in terms of the Carabao and FA Cup, where he is trying to maintain a Premiership challenge.

Tony Abrahams
47 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:10:57
Of subject but has anyone seen any posts from Jay W, from Brazil, in the last few days?

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.

Neil Cremin
48 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:11:35
I think we should rest players and see how many of tonight’s team will bust a gut to prove a point. Tom I’m sure will give it his best and maybe Rafa can bring out the best in him.
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 don’t think he is a team player, too often goes for his own glory.
I may be wrong and would love to be proved so.
Alex Gray
49 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:21:00
Id rest DCL and Richi, otherwise a full strength side with maybe gbamin and Goddfrey coming in.

Pickford

Holgate (RB)
Goddfrey
Mina (Or Keane to raise confidence)
Digne

Gbamin (or Davies)
Doucoure
Gray (left wing)
Townsend (right wing)
Iwobi (attacking midfielder)

Kean

Nkounkou, Gordon and Davies/Gbamin to come of the bench for minutes depending how the game goes.

It may sound harsh but I don’t 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.

John McFarlane Snr
50 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:35:01
Hi Mike [42] it was Liverpool fans who first called it the 'Mickey Mouse Cup' in the 1976/77 season, when we reached the final against Aston Villa, and proceeded to play three games, at Wembley, Hillsborough, and finally losing 3-2 at Old Trafford. I was fortunate enough to see all three games. The following year it apparently became a worthwhile trophy to win, when Liverpool drew 0-0 with Nottingham Forest at Wembley, and lost 1-0 in the replay at Old Trafford.
Andrew Brookfield
51 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:50:21
Benn @33 I think you have nailed it there.

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.

Mike Gaynes
52 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:57:41
John Sr., actually I was making a joke about Kristian's reference to the fact that ESPN+ is owned by Disney, which means therefore that any competition shown on ESPN+ must, by definition, be a Mickey Mouse cup. But thanks as always for the historical perspective!

Christy Ring
53 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:08:49
Hope the players in isolation are back, Gbamin, Davies Kean, Godfrey, Gomes, Rodriguez and Branthwaite should start, and hopefully be in contention for the weekend.
Benn Chambers
54 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:11:17
Andrew 51.

I hear you. It should be good enough. The fees we’ve 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, that’s a spine with severe scoliosis, a Hump and osteoarthritis.

Let’s see what unfolds. I’d like the big guns to be rested but there is no way I’m confident enough to leave them out the squad like. I hope Rafa takes this comp serious because it’s one our first 11 are capable of winning (with a kind draw). This is a tie, on paper, that our 2nd string should win. We’ll see 👍🏻

Gary Smith
55 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:21:11
Time for Rafa to see who should challenge for the first team. We’d all love a trophy, but I’d rather focus on FA cup than this conference league one. Assuming they’re all fit;

Begovic
Kenny Godfrey Branthwaite Nkounkou
Gbamin Davies
Townsend Iwobi Gordon
Kean

Mike Doyle
56 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:21:31
John #50] I attended all 3 games too. Still can’t believe we lost the 3rd game when (if I recall correctly) we were the best team. and none of our players sported “man-buns” - a hair style so ridiculous it belongs in the 70s.
Bill Gall
57 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:21:42
Apparently Benitez takes every game seriously and that is the way it should be. Playing against teams from the Championship is never easy and should not be taken lightly and I think Benitez will rest a couple of players Like DCL and Richarlison as he has natural replacements in Kean and can use Gordon on the left. Looking at Huddersfield,s results so far after4 games, won 2 drawn I and lost 1 their G/D is -2 so it appears their weakness is in defense so we may go with the extra attacker, plus the back up Keeper.
Andy Crooks
58 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:26:08
Benn, I agree. In my view not taking this seriously would smack of a very strange arrogance, like we are saving ourselves for a top four challenge.
Pick our strongest team. I think victories breed confidence, spirit and might well be an antidote to fatigue.
Dave Williams
59 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:32:11
Gomes, Delph, James and Davies as our midfield? That would surely be the slowest midfield ever selected in our history?
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
Matthew Williams
60 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:36:33
To finally win this cup,for me would be just what the doctor ordered.

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!

Onwards Toffees...COYB

Tom Bowers
61 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:39:50
We struggled at home last season to beat the likes of Sheff.Wed. and Rotherham so my experience tells me not to expect any game to be easy.

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.

Brian Wilkinson
62 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:47:35
I am all for making a couple of changes, but I certainly would not want Holgate, anywhere near the starting 11.

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.

David McMullen
63 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:47:51
Looks like Keane is being babysitted if it's 5 at the back :-D
Steavey Buckley
64 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:50:14
Everton starting XI: Begovic, Kenny, Holgate (C), Keane, Townsend, Iwobi, Nkounkou, Gbamin, Davies, Kean, Branthwaite.

Andrew Keatley
65 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:50:52
No Gordon in the match-day squad. Unless he is unavailable for some reason then I can only assume he is on the verge of going out on loan again.
Duncan McDine
66 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:51:43
Mike (42) - Nice one (I got it anyway!!). Almost as funny that you had to explain to some that it was a joke! Now to the serious stuff… line ups are in
Benn Chambers
67 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:53:36
Kenny Holgate Keane all in the same defence. I’m terrified already. Absolutely horrific that.

Leaving DCL and Richarlison out the squad is also a massive risk. I just hope Rafa knows what he’s 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.

I’ve gotta be honest, I’ll hope for the best but I now expect the worst. That defence is absolutely horrific.

Andrew Ellams
68 Posted 24/08/2021 at 18:53:37
James not even on the bench but then neither is Godfrey.
Mike Gaynes
69 Posted 24/08/2021 at 19:26:50
I'm guessing that Holgate will play holding mid, not CB. Could be the 4-2-3-1... sorta like I predicted but with different players. Could also be three at the back with Nkounkou and Kenny playing the wings.

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.

John McFarlane Snr
70 Posted 24/08/2021 at 19:32:31
Hi Mike [52] I realised that your comment was one of humorous intent, but I didn't realise that you were referring to a television company. As I said, Liverpool fans mocked the competition, until they too reached the final, and suddenly it became a major competition.

Hi Mike [56] 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..

Mike Doyle
71 Posted 24/08/2021 at 19:45:36
John. Yes I remember Darracott-gate.
Have you forgotten Chris Nichol’s ( I think ) long shot for one of the goals. Another one that should never have gone in.
John McFarlane Snr
72 Posted 24/08/2021 at 20:53:58
Hi again Mike,[71] I do indeed remember Chris Nicholls goal, I was on the far side and it appeared to be struck from the half-way line, a rocket shot, and I don't think that there was a great deal anyone could have done about it.
Brian Murray
73 Posted 24/08/2021 at 21:17:22
Chris Nicholl shot Lawson could of threw his cap on it. Pathetic goalie him and dai the drop for a decade or more

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