Everton have named a strong team to take on Fulham in their Carabao Cup quarter-final tie.
The Blues will be aiming to be one of the four teams left in the competition, as well as extending their win-streak to five games. Sean Dyche’s team have defeated Docaster Rovers, Aston Villa and Burnley to make it to the quarter-final stage and will be backed by the crowd at Goodison Park. It would be the first time that the Toffees have reached a cup semi-final since 2016.
Meanwhile, Fulham are in mixed form as they look to respond to their 3-0 defeat to Newcastle, having previously enjoyed back-to-back 5-0 wins.
Everton: Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Keane, McNeil, Gueye, Garner, Onana, Harrison, Calvert-Lewin
Subs: Virginia, Lonergan, Danjuma, Beto, Godfrey, Chermiti, Hunt, Dobbin, Metcalf
Fulham: Leno, Tete, Tosin, Bassey, Robinson, Reed, Palhinha, Wilson, Iwobi, Willian, Muniz
Subs: Rodak, Ballo-Toure, Castagne, Diop, Lukic, Cairney, Andreas, De Cordova-Reid, Vinicius
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Round and round we go
A couple of keenly-contested games of rondos taking place among the Everton players right now as they warm up.
Out warming up
Everton’s players are out warming up at Goodison. Tonight’s game is a sell out and we can expect an electric atmosphere.
Alex Iwobi starts against his old club after joining Fulham on deadline day in the summer. I think it is safe to say that Iwobi had good and bad moments during his time at Goodison, but there is no doubt that he will get a good reception from Blues supporters tonight.
Five changes for Fulham
In terms of Fulham team news, Marco Silva has made five changes to the side that was beaten 3-0 by Newcaslte United at the weekend.
Timothy Castagne, Issa Diop, Ton Cairney, Andreas Pereira and the suspended Raul Jimenez all miss out, with Kenny Tete, Calvin Bassey, Harrison Reed, Willian and Rodrigo Muniz coming back in.
Strongest line-up in the circumstances
I really like that line-up in the circumstances. Yes Jarrad Branthwaite looks like he might be asked to do a job for the team and move to left-back with Vitalii Mykolenko still out – unless it’s three centre-halves again – but other than the sensible precaution of resting top scorer Abdoulaye Doucoure after he felt a tightening of his hamstring at Burnley on Saturday evening, it’s Sean Dyche’s strongest available line-up with Idrissa Gueye also coming back in from suspension.
Team news reaction
So, team news is in and Everton go, as expected. However, it looks like Jarrad Branthwaite will start at left-back, with Michael Keane and James Tarkowski in the middle. Idrissa Gueye also returns in place of Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Everton team news confirmed
Starting line-up: Pickford; Patterson, Tarkowski, Keane, Branthwaite; Harrson, Gueye, Garner, Onana, McNeil; Calvert-Lewin.
Subs: Virginia, Lonergan, Godfrey, Danjuma, Hunt, Metcalfe, Beto, Chermiti, Dobbin.
Eyes on the final four
Everton are tonight looking to reach the League Cup semi-final for the first time since 2015-16, going out at this stage of the competition twice since then (2019-20 and 2020-21).
Up for the cup
When I asked Sean Dyche about tonight’s Fulham game he told me: “We have been trying to win for years. You are always trying to win a cup!” I was delighted to hear it because his predecessor made 11 changes for a tie and never recovered.
As much as Frank Lampard was a world-class midfielder, one of English football’s most-gifted talents of the modern era and all-round nice guy – as shown by his attendance at Liverpool Cathedral yesterday to pay his respects at Bill Kenwright’s memorial service – he got his Carabao Cup selection policy all wrong when Everton went to Bournemouth in November last year.
The heavy defeat started his side on a downward spiral they couldn’t get out of and a couple of months later he was out of a job with the Blues on course for what would have been their first relegation in 72 years.
Top marks to Sean Dyche for changing that around but while the game in this country has changed dramatically to ensure the Blues can no longer challenge for titles, if they’re not at least attempting to win domestic cup competitons then just what is their raison d’etre?
Marco Silva’s pre-match thoughts
Speaking about Goodison Park, Silva said: “It’s really difficult to play at Goodison. It’s been a great reaction since the point deduction. It shows their resilience. It’s not a surprise to me; they have great players and a brilliant manager.”
On Dyche, Silva added: “It’s a tough game. They have shown resilience and you can see they click together with the fans, team and staff. They have good players and an experienced manager.
“Knowing what he demands from his players, it shows they are all together and that creates a strong connection between everyone at that football club.”
It will be interesting to see if Dominc Calvert-Lewin starts tonight. He’s clearly Everton’s best centre-forward, but with the games to come, perhaps Beto might be given the nod.
Sean Dyche’s programme notes
Writing in his programme notes, Dyche said: “We are all looking forward to our Carabao Cup quarter-final with Fulham under the lights tonight and a chance to build on what has been a really encouraging past couple of weeks on the way to four league wins on the bounce.
“There has been a lot to like about both the feel of our performances and, most importantly, our output in terms of putting points on the board.
“I’ve said for a long time that there has to be a future in what we do. By that, I mean there must be substance and consistency in our displays. Of course, any team will take the odd result where you ride your luck, but you cannot rely on that in the long term – and we haven’t so far this season.
“With that said, the hard work will never stop. That will always be our foundation for as long as I have the privilege of being Everton manager. There is still a lot of work in front of us and plenty of areas to develop and improve. We, as a group of players and staff, are under no illusions about that.
“With the games coming thick and fast at this time of year, I have been very pleased with the adaptability and application of the whole squad. Every team has to contend with injuries and suspensions, often more intensely in these busy periods, but the open-mindedness of the players to take on whatever we are asking of them has been impressive and underlines the collective spirit we have in the squad.
“Ahead of our win at Burnley on Saturday, we had to change the team shape and personnel but the players didn’t question anything. They took it on board and said, ‘Yes, we’re ready to go’. That underlines the growing mentality here. There is still a lot of work to do, of course, but I have been in football long enough to know that when you have a squad like that, you are on to something.”
Tuesday is the second meeting between the two clubs in this competition – Fulham won the previous encounter 2-1 in September 2013.
This is Sean Dyche’s first domestic cup quarter-final during his managerial career.
Dyche has faced Fulham once before in a cup game as a manager: his Burnley side defeated them 3-0 in the FA Cup at Craven Cottage in January 2021.
All seven of Everton’s goals in this season’s competition have been scored by different players.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 11 goals in the League Cup (in 12 games) have only been exceeded for Everton by Graeme Sharp (15) and Bob Latchford (19).
Big night for Dyche
Tonight is also a big night for Dyche as he takes charge of his first cup quarter-final as a manager. During his time at Burnley, Dyche was often accused of not taking the cup competitions seriously. However, that can’t be said this season, he has selected the strongest team available to him in each game.
Team news thoughts
Team news is just under an hour away from being confirmed here at Goodison and Sean Dyche has some big decisions to make. With both Jarrad Branthwaite and Idrissa Gueye after missing the win over Burnley, the Everton boss has something of a dilemma. For me, Branthwaite has to start as he’s the best defender at the club and Dyche needs to pick his strongest side.
Welcome to Goodison Park
Good evening and welcome to Goodison Park for Everton’s Carabao Cup tie against Fulham. The month of December was full of big games for the Blues, but I actually think that tonight’s is the biggest. The chance to get into the last four of a competition do not come around very often – especially for Everton, but Sean Dyche’s side have the chance to do just that tonight.
View from the opposition: Fulham hit or miss
It’s been a topsy-turvy season for Fulham this time around.
In the wake of losing Aleksandar Mitrovic to the Saudi Pro League in the summer, the club’s top scorer in the past two seasons, the early months of the 23/24 season were always going to be something of a transitional phase for the Cottagers.
Approaching the halfway point of the campaign, that has been exactly the case for the Londoners after their opening-day victory at Goodison Park was followed up by an underwhelming run of just two wins from six Premier League games.
A late victory at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers last month, though, seems to have breathed new life into Marco Silva’s men, who have since claimed back-to-back 5-0 wins over Nottingham Forest and West Ham United and gone toe-to-toe with Liverpool at Anfield.
Tonight, however, Silva will be unable to call on marksman Raul Jimenez, who was shown a straight red card in the first half of Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Newcastle United for a reckless, flying challenge. Also missing in attack will be Adama Traore, who has not featured for six weeks due to a hamstring injury.
That is likely to stifle Fulham’s game plan of breaking quickly and looking to hurt Everton in transition, with Traore and Jimenez having forged a relationship as one of the Premier League’s best sucker-punching duo during their years at Wolves.
Sitting 11th in the Premier League table and certainly still licking the wounds from last year’s disappointing FA Cup last-eight exit to Manchester United, Fulham will surely name a strong side as they look to battle the Blues for a place in the last four of the League Cup.
It should be a cracker.
Everton vs Fulham: Injuries and suspensions
Everton are set to be without six players for tonight’s League Cup quarter-final against Fulham.
The Blues will be unable to call on the services of long-term absentees Dele Alli, Andre Gomes, Seamus Coleman and Ashley Young.
The quartet could be joined in the stands by Vitalii Mykolenko and Abdoulaye Doucoure, who missed Everton’s 2-0 win over Burnley last weekend.
Everton vs Fulham: Pre-match reading
How did Everton reach cup quarter-final?
Everton’s 2023/24 League Cup campaign began back in August when goals from Beto and Arnaut Danjuma secured a 2-1 victory over League Two Doncaster Rovers.
Next up was Aston Villa who stood in the way of Sean Dyche’s side, but the Midlanders had no answer for James Garner and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goals either side of half-time despite Boubacar Kamara halving the deficit in the final stages at Villa Park.
Last month, the Blues cruised to a 3-0 victory over Burnley at Goodison Park, with Fulham now standing in the way of next month’s two-legged semi-final.
A huge night awaits at Goodison Park
It’s fair to say that after four straight wins in all competitions, the festive spirit is well and truly in the air at Goodison Park tonight as Everton look to secure their place in their first semi-final since 2016.
Standing in the way of Sean Dyche’s resilient Blues are friend-turned-foe in ex-boss Marco Silva, whose Fulham side travel to Merseyside for the quarter-finals of the League Cup.
The two teams have already played out this fixture in the Premier League this campaign, on the opening day of the season in fact, as Everton failed to make their dominance count and somehow slumped to a 1-0 defeat.
Dyche and his men will be looking to avenge that defeat later on, that’s for sure.
Follow all the updates from Goodison Park with myself, Joe Thomas and Connor O’Neill.
Good evening, Blues!
Everton are back in action tonight as the Blues look to progress in the Carabao Cup.
A win over Fulham would see Sean Dyche’s side move just one step away from reaching a cup final.
Olivia Martin is a dedicated sports journalist based in the UK. With a passion for various athletic disciplines, she covers everything from major league championships to local sports events, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis.