It's finally here, the FA Cup Semi-final that we have been waiting for. However, any hopes of a trip to final have all but disappeared after the seemingly endless sting of bad performances culminating in the 4-0 loss to Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby.
As if the loss to Liverpool wasn't enough, the team suffered a string of injuries to their back line and a suspension to defender Ramiro Funes Mori. Roberto Martinez's insistence on playing a full strength squad in the Derby has back fired big time and the team looks set to pay the price.
Not much has changed for United since they faced the Toffees earlier in the month and they still remain a difficult opponent. United's injury woes have subsided somewhat and should only be without Bastian Schweinsteiger, Adnan Januzaj and Luke Shaw. While Louis van Gaal's side may have struggled throughout the season, they have a contingent of dangerous youngster's mixed in with skilled veterans like Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata.
Their form has also been decent as of late, despite having a relatively easy finish to their season. After defeating Everton, they lost 3-0 to Tottenham, but were able to string together two clean sheet wins against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. Manchester United are back to their solid defensive ways and this struggling Everton team will likely struggle to put shots in the goals.
Just when it seemed as though Everton's injury woes couldn't get any worse, they did. Ramiro Funes Mori will obviously miss this weekend's match due to a red card suspension, Seamus Coleman is ruled out through injury and captain Phil Jagielka is also severely doubtful. Matthew Pennington has been recalled from his loan with Walsall and could be in line for a start, leaving the team with even less experience on the back line.
John Stones and Gareth Barry will also be game-time decisions having left the Liverpool match early. It will be impossible for Martinez to put his best squad together for this important match and will struggle to put an overly competitive squad on the pitch.
The Final Word
Everton enter this game in their worst form in recent memory. Not only does it seem like the team doesn't care, but they've all but tuned-out their manager. Whatever bit of pride remained in the squad, it seems to have disappeared after Divock Origi scored the first goal of Wednesday's match.
Maybe this team has a miracle in their pockets, but like most Evertonians I am feeling pretty short on hope at the moment.
Projected Starting XI: Robles, Baines, Stones, Pennington, Oviedo, Besic, McCarthy, Mirallas, Barkley, Lennon, Lukaku