Everton are flying high again after a fantastic performance at Swansea on Saturday. David Moyes had his game plan down pat and to a man, the team followed through. Apart from a fifteen minute period in the middle of the game when Swansea almost gained a foothold, the Toffees dominated completely.
While Everton are riding high and sitting in third place in the Premiership, their opponents today are struggling to make an impression in the Championship, at twelfth place though only six points behind the leaders after seven games. Manager Neil Warnock has earned quite a reputation for winning promotion with his teams, having moved up seven times in his twelve-team coaching career before joining Leeds. Today's game could provide Everton a challenge, as they have endured a miserable record at Elland Road, with only two wins in their last forty-two games there, going back to 1953.
While patchy in the Championship, the Peacocks have been impressive in the League Cup, with a 4-0 win over Shrewsbury Town and a 3-0 victory over Oxford United. This should be a good game with Leeds attempting to garner a big-name scalp on their home turf, though the 5,000 or so traveling Blue will make sure they get heard. There has also been news that fans of both sides are planning a tribute to the late Welsh manager Gary Speed, who played for both teams.
Team News -
Today's game at Elland Road sees Everton playing their first Cup fixture away after ten straight home games, dating back to January 2011. Moyes will be breathing a huge sigh of relief after receiving the good news that injured striker Nikica Jelavic is almost fit again and has been included in tonight's squad. Tony Hibbert and Darron Gibson remain out with injuries. Despite Warnock's apparent attempt at mind games, Moyes has named a full strength eighteen-man team.
Leeds meanwhile are plagued with injuries, missing Paul Green, David Norris, Ross McCormack, Leigh Bromby, Davide Somma,and Ramon Nunez. Captain Lee Peltier and defenders Adam Drury and Jason Pearce could also miss the game, having been injured this weekend. Star striker Luciano Becchio scored the winner against Nottingham Forest despite carrying an ankle injury and is a doubt for tonight.
Keys To The Game -
Against Leyton Orient in the previous round Moyes handed starts to Jan Mucha, Johnny Heitinga, Seamus Coleman, Magaye Gueye, Kevin Mirallas and Victor Anichebe. With Sylvain Distin rested over the weekend, he will probably anchor the defence with Phil Jagielka again. Moyes will be well aware of the physically-imposing game that Leeds play and pick his players with that in mind. Expect Everton to come out roaring, holding up the ball in midfield and looking to score first to silence the raucous 30,000-plus crowd.
Warnock has been playing up his Jamaican midfielder Rudy Austin as his version of Marouane Fellaini. Leeds are also strong upfront, with former Premiership striker El-Hadji Diouf and the Argentine Becchio, and supported by Michael Tonge and Dominic Poleon. For Leeds, they will attempt to weather the Blue storm in the first quarter of the game before trying to hit Everton on the counter attack and through setpieces.
Match Facts -
- The two teams drew 1-1 in their last meeting in 2004, with England internationals Wayne Rooney and James Milner scored.
- Everton have played three away games this year, and had sixty two chances in those fixtures.
- Phil Jagielka played for Neil Warnock at Sheffield United.
- Leeds United have not conceded a goal so far in their two League Cup games.
- Everton last lost to Leeds in 2001, a 3-2 loss at Elland Road.