The past week has got Evertonians excited about their club again. The appointment of new manager Frank Lampard lifted supporters’ spirits after an awful couple of months under Rafa Benitez.
There were also two deadline day signings, who were both persuaded to join the club by Lampard. Donny van de Beek joined on loan from Manchester United, whilst Dele Alli joined on a permanent deal from Tottenham Hotspur.
Both signings are unfortunately cup-tied for tomorrow’s fourth round FA Cup fixture against Brentford, but Evertonians will see new manager Frank Lampard at Goodison Park for the first time and are sure to give him a massive welcome.
The two sides have met once in the Premier League already, with Brentford running out 1-0 winners at the Brentford Community Stadium.
And from that game, Everton have played eight games, winning only two (2-1 at home to Arsenal, and 3-2 AET against Hull City), and losing five. The Blues have also lost their last three in the League, with the 2-1 defeat to Norwich at Carrow Road spelling the end of Rafa Benitez’s tenure as Everton manager.
The Bees on the other hand have played twelve games since the sides met in November, and have not faired much better, winning just three and losing eight, including the last four. They did however breeze past Port Vale in round three, setting up this fixture at Goodison Park.
In terms of team news, Everton are still without striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Fabian Delph, Tom Davies and Abdoulaye Doucouré. The Blues do welcome back Alex Iwobi from the African Cup of Nations, but it remains to be seen if he will be included in the squad.
As for Brentford, striker Ivan Toney had to apologise after a video surfaced on social media of him bad mouthing the club, but there is no suggestion he will be dropped from the squad for the fixture.
New signing Christian Eriksen, back in England and back playing football following his scare at the Euros, will only be considered for a substitute appearance if he is fit at all.
Tarique Fosu, Jean Jeanvier, David Raya and Josh DaSilva are all unavailable, whilst
Rico Henry and Mathias Jensen were involved in a nasty clash of heads in the defeat to Wolves and will need to be checked. However, Frank Onyenka is back from AFCON.
One to watch – Everton
Anthony Gordon has been Everton’s stand-out player over the last few weeks, and the youngster must be buzzing with the appointment of Frank Lampard.
The Everton boss has a knack of bringing through young players (Mason Mount being the biggest example), and Gordon could go from strength to strength under him.
Although Gordon has no goals or assists in his last two games, he has arguably been Everton’s best player in them. For example, he came on in the 56th minute against Aston Villa and created the most chances for the Toffees. He has to start tomorrow, and he will more than likely make a big difference and cause Brentford problems.
One to watch – Brentford
French winger Bryan Mbeumo will be Brentford’s biggest threat tomorrow. The 22-year-old has made 22 appearances across all competitions, contributing seven goal involvements (four goals, three assists).
In Brentford’s last game against Wolves, a 2-1 defeat, it was Mbeumo who provided the assist for Ivan Toney, and he was their standout player, with a rating of 7.77.
Everton’s fullbacks will need to be at the top of their game to stop Mbeumo and Toney linking up.
Everton have only got past the fourth round of the FA Cup twice in the last seven seasons, but will be hoping to improve on this tomorrow.
Brentford on the other hand have only made the fifth round once in the last seven seasons. Thomas Frank will be hoping to take his team as far as he can in this competition.
There is a renewed sense of hope around Everton with the appointment of Frank Lampard, and the atmosphere tomorrow is likely to be raucous. It is hard to look past an Everton win tomorrow, and see them book themselves into the fifth round of the FA CUP.