FA CUP 4TH ROUND
Everton enter Saturday with a huge opportunity at hand, to go to Millwall and take care of business, and to move on to the round of 16 in the FA Cup, with a huge chance to proceed in the club’s quest to once again lift silverware. To do so, the blues travel to what could be argued is the most hostile away venue in English football, to the new den to face Millwall for the first time since the 2 sides squared off in the FA Cup in 2006, In that fixture, it took Everton a replay and a thumping Tim Cahill 72nd minute header to send the blues past Millwall. How does Everton stack up against this Millwall side? Will we see a shock defeat, a replay, or a resounding Everton victory?
Examining Millwall is a tough ask, as Everton have not seen the Lions from South London in over 13 years. Last year’s shock playoff push was one of Millwall’s best on record, but it has been followed this season by a large string of mediocre performances leaving them just off the edge of the Relegation zone. Marco Silva has made it very clear that he will not overlook Millwall due to their Championship status calling the game a final, while Millwall boss Neil Harris has lamented that personal performance dips. injuries, and late goals have cost him team, even as the Lions have taken 10 points from the last 5 games. Millwall are injury laden and hurt by cup ties, and will rely on physicality and a raucous home crowd to try to spoil Everton’s run. For Millwall the question will still be, can those factors overcome a sheer gulf in class?
Everton’s roster top to bottom contains better players than Millwall’s, at every single position. A fantastic away day aside, Marco Silva will field what is sure to be as close to a full strength side as possible, especially due to the cool off in frequency of games over the past month. Millwall provides a great chance to play the likes of James McCarthy and Leighton Baines. However, Marco Silva will certainly be feeling the heat to win this game, as failure at Millwall would certainly light the fire under the microscope, and leave him at the very least sitting in hot water after a less than excellent start to the Premier League season. With a gulf in class, and 18 players top to bottom that represent a sheer advantage, Everton must go to the den and take care of business. So, what will happen on Saturday evening?
Prediction: The Tim Cahill derby promises a great away day for fans, and a winnable if not tricky game for Everton. Millwall will come out very physically and the crowd will be behind the Lions, and the blues will have to withstand early pressure and beat them at their own game, shoving them off possession and winning the 50/50 balls. If Everton does this, and is able to string passes together and hold possession, the gap in class between the 2 sides should simple prove the difference, Everton put their hats into the round of 16, and Marco Silva gains some much needed confidence.
Everton 2-0 Millwall