Everton were eliminated in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup today by a 2-1 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Antonio Rudiger and Willian scored for the home side, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin netted late for the Blues.
James McCarthy returned from injury, while Beni Baningime made his first team debut.
- Unlike the first few months of the season, Everton were lined up in a way that made sense. Aaron Lennon and Kevin Mirallas were to get in behind the defense, while the three man midfield would win the ball and get it to Wayne Rooney, who would then provide service to the wide forwards.
- Whether the players are relieved to be out from under Ronald Koeman’s iron fist, or they simply enjoy playing for David Unsworth, the effort and overall attitude were vastly improved on this night. The lads flew into their tackles, and in the second half deserved more than the one goal they got.
- Tom Davies, though, was perhaps a little too excited. He picked up at least 8 fouls, including a yellow card. The short socked one was better in the second half, but Unsy wasn’t given much reason to not re-insert Idrissa Gueye on Sunday.
- I would not expect Baningime to head back to the youth side any time soon. His performance at the base of midfield was stellar. While the kid doesn’t (yet) have Morgan Schneiderlin’s range of passing, it looks like Beni is already the best backup in the team for the Frenchman, and likely better than both Muhamed Besic and James McCarthy already.
- As the game wore on, the 4-3-3 started to meld into something more confusing due to Unsworth throwing on Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Oumar Niasse, and Ademola Lookman. It worked, though, as Everton were by far the better team in the second half. Lookman was lively and will feel he deserves more playing time in the days to come.
- Phil Jagielka deserves a medal. Shortly after nearly scoring, the captain prevented Michy Batshuayi from tapping into an empty net. Jags carried the corpse of Ashley Williams around the field all night long.
It’s unfortunate that the Blues were eliminated tonight, because the domestic cups likely represent the best opportunity for making something special out of a currently dreadful season. However, the loss shouldn’t be considered a setback, but an encouragement.
The tactics were there, the effort was there, and the players showed a renewed commitment. David Unsworth’s first match in charge did not do anything to harm his case to be the club’s permanent manager. Up the Toffees.