The atmosphere around the club was given a much-needed boost with Saturday’s 3-0 win over Fulham. The grumbles and moans were beginning to grow after successive defeats that had all but eviscerated the feel-good factor that had surrounded Marco Silva’s arrival.
Instead, there’s now a great opportunity to gather some momentum ahead of Saturday’s tricky trip to Leicester, ironically the same opponents that await the Toffees in the next round should they beat Southampton.
The team has yet to fully hit their stride - the first half on Saturday was slow and ponderous. But their performance after the break was much more dynamic and the sort of display we expect from a Marco Silva team.
To that end I would be wary of making too many changes for the visit of Mark Hughes’ Saints. Two years ago, after a positive start to the season, Ronald Koeman made wholesale changes for EFL Cup tie against Championship side Norwich and were humbled 2-0.
I wouldn’t change the back four or goalkeeper for example to try and maintain some consistency. The game does, however, represent the ideal opportunity for the likes of Bernard and Ademola Lookman to impress and gain some match fitness. Cenk Tosun is also in contention for a start after finally breaking his goal duck against Fulham. Strikers need confidence and momentum so starting Tosun gives him the perfect opportunity to gain both.
We have already spoken several times on this site this season about the importance of the cups. The club has gone without a trophy for far too long and this competition has often been neglected by successive managers.
We don’t have a big - nor talented - enough squad to make wholesale changes and with no Europe this season there is no need too. I’d hope to see a strong side sent out at Goodison on Tuesday.
Southampton return to Goodison Park for the third time in 2018 and just over a month after their 2-1 league defeat in August.
Mark Hughes’ side have endured a mixed spell of form since. Their only league win came against Crystal Palace at the start of September, with their only other victory in the Carabao Cup at Brighton.
They head to Merseyside on a run of three games without a win, including successive defeats at Liverpool and Wolves without scoring.
Hughes has already said he plans to make changes to his starting line-up for Tuesday’s game, so expect a number of squad players to be given a run out.
Everton have no fresh injury concerns after Saturday’s win over Fulham. Marco Silva has hinted he may not make too many changes, particularly in defence.
Bernard and Ademola Lookman are in contention if Silva opts to freshen up his forward line. Cenk Tosun could also return to the starting line-up after breaking his goalscoring duck on Saturday.
Predicted starting XI
Everton have shown they are good enough to beat Southampton already this season and with the Saints set to field a weakened side, there’s no real excuse not to do so again.
We are all desperate for a cup run so anything other than victory would be a massive blow. Just get it done Blues.