Another year, another trophy-less campaign for Everton. Last week's FA Cup defeat to Arsenal was tough to stomach, but the season is far from over, and the Toffees must rouse themselves for what, on paper, appears to be a favourable run of fixtures in the Premier League, beginning with a home game against Cardiff City this weekend. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are in the midst of a dire run if form, but with their league survival at stake, they certainly won't be lacking in motivation.
One positive that Everton were able to take away from the Emirates was that there were no fresh injury worries for them to contend with. Phil Jagielka and Steven Pienaar remain doubtful for the game against Cardiff, but Ross Barkley and Aiden McGeady both appear to be nearing full fitness. Their presence, along with that of the in-form Romelu Lukaku, should aid the Blues' forward endeavours, while John Stones looks likely to continue at centre back. Ben Turner is a doubt for the visitors.
Keys to the Game
Everton and Cardiff played out a fairly terrible draw towards the beginning of the season, but Roberto Martinez's side should be confident of a home win against their struggling rivals. Lukaku's presence up front will be key, especially if Solskjaer's team is missing Ben Turner, and Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman will fancy their chances against a decidedly average pair of opposition full backs.
John Stones has been a more than capable replacement for Jagielka so far, but he will need to watch out for Frazier Campbell, whose pace constitutes one of Cardiff's major threats going forward.
- The last time these two sides met at Goodison Park, Everton ran out 8-3 winners in 1962.
- The Toffees are unbeaten in their last nine games against the Bluebirds at Goodison.
- However, four of the last six matches between Everton and Cardiff have ended as draws.