Match Preview| Sunderland (H)
The first domestic cup competition has arrived, Everton face Sunderland at Goodison Park in the Carling, wait no, the Capital one, no, the EFL cup, no, hold on a second, (quick Google search), the Carabao cup? What the fuck is a Carabao? Well, apparently its Thailand’s second largest Energy drink. Amazing. Everton face Sunderland in the ‘League Cup’ anyway.
The League Cup often takes a while to gather momentum each season, but as each team navigates through the rounds, interest in the completion grows, as clubs edge closer to a chance to win the first piece of silverware that season. Well this is unless you’re Everton, in which case the rainbow always disappears before ever reaching the pot of gold at the end. Everton have been to three semi-finals and two finals of the League Cup, without ever managing to lift the trophy. Only four other teams have reached the final twice and not managed to win it, West Ham, Bolton Wanderers, Southampton and our third-round opponents Sunderland.
Less than 500 away fans will be making the trip to Merseyside from Sunderland on Wednesday evening. This is maybe because of their poor start to the campaign in the Championship, or a genuine lack of interest in the competition, or maybe even a lack of excitement at retuning to a ground where they struggled with continuously in the Premier League. Simon Grayson may see this game as nothing more than a hindrance, whilst Everton manager Koeman will be desperate to get back to winning ways after a dismal run of defeats in the League and Europe.
Darron Gibson, Jack Rodwell and Bryan Oviedo are all set to return to Goodison tonight
In the theme of old flames over the last few days, a number of familiar faces will be making their return to Goodison with Sunderland. Bryan Oviedo, Darron Gibson and Jack Rodwell will likely turn out for Sunderland, whilst I am sure the travelling support will hope to see Jordan Pickford in goal for the Toffees, something I fear for them probably won’t happen, given Koeman often rotates his goalkeepers for cup games. Tyias Borwning and Brendan Galloway are both of course ineligible for the tie.
After weeks and weeks of calling for it, Jonjoe Kenny dropped a not so subtle hint this week that he is to be involved in Wednesday night’s action, by trying to flog two tickets to the stage show of Harry Potter on twitter. Sadly, some boring bastard obviously told him to take it down, as the tweet was deleted shortly after. Still though, we love all that Jonjoe. Kenny wasn’t involved in Monday’s U23 fixture against Derby, and there was another notable absentee in the form of striker Oumar Niasse. Never have I seen such a switch in judgement for one Everton player, without him actually kicking a ball for the first team. But more so than ever in this post Lukaku era, Evertonians appreciate respect, and Niasse has it in abundance. Frankly, he above anyone has the right to kick up a stink, but he hasn’t. It was also nice to see him in the away end at Old Trafford on Sunday too.
It’s difficult to predict a starting eleven in an early season cup game. But with the need to get back to winning ways, along with the even greater need to win some silverware, the Toffees will look to take this one serious. Expect a similar team to Sunday, but with Stekelenburg in goal, Kenny in place of Martina, Vlasic maybe coming in for Rooney and maybe, just maybe, Niasse playing a starring cameo role. The past is in the past, let’s get back to winning ways, come on you blues.