Fulltime Thoughts - Everton performance that. Cruising along winning this thing handily and then losing all concentration to almost let it slip. Ancelotti has to be please with how the Blues look in the opposing half, not lacking for goals here - three against Salford, five against West Brom and now another five.
90+4’ - GOAL! Nkounkou with another great run, backheel cutback is slammed home, Kean gets his goal. 5-2 now, and there’s the final whistle! On to West Ham United at home next week.
90’ - There’ll be four minutes added on. I think Everton fans will take Pickford making these daft mistakes out of the way in these games.
87’ - Kenny crosses in and Gordon, standing on the edge of the box, meets it perfectly with his right foot and flays the ball wide of the right post. That would have been absolutely delightful. Boy amongst men here, and he’s been better than the men.
85’ - Everton playing mostly prevent right now, keeping Fleetwood in front of them. The hosts have had a couple of shots but nothing that tested Pickford.
80’ - Kean finds Gordon screaming down the left, he cuts in and tries a shot with three Blue shirts in the box, saved by Cairns.
76’ - No hattie for Richy today, as he goes off for Moise Kean. The Italian is going want a couple of his own.
75’ - Bernard! 4-2 Everton now! Sweet run from Gordon, give-and-go with Iwobi and his cross is met perfectly by the little Brazilian. Surely it’s over now?
Gordon denied the assist as his cross was deflected by a defender towards Bernard.
72’ - Nkounkou displays his twinkling toes on the goalline and his cross is put out for a corner.
Sigurdsson swings it into the box in the rain, cleared away.
70’ - The hosts suddenly seem up for it, it’s a one-goal game and they’re at home, why not. The Blues seem hesitant where they were confident, and the famous Everton nerves are settling in.
66’ - For as flawless Everton were in the second half, they have been as rubbish in the second half. No intensity, seem too lackadaisical starting with Pickford.
Bernard, who had gone missing, pops up with a curled shot that is parried away by Cairns.
62’ - Ancelotti looks pretty irritated by all this, and sends on Tom Davies for Delph.
58’ - Oh what the heck, it’s 3-2 now. Fleetwood with their best move of the day. Deep cross is headed back across the goal, and Callum Camps gets between the two centerhalves and his bicycle-kick is straight at Pickford, who then palms it somehow through himself.
56’ - Now Richy cuts in from the left, his cutback is perfect and Iwobi slams home.. nope, it curls just wide.
54’ - Digne with a couple of heavy tackles, neither called by the ref and rightly so. The hosts are pretty displeased.
49’ - Okay relief, 3-1 now. Iwobi gets his goal after Richarlison was so close to his hattrick. Lovely cross from Gordon on the left was mishit, fell to the Nigerian who slid it home.
47’ - Brain-dead from Pickford there. Dallied on the ball with two players converging on him, it’s blocked and slammed home by Mark Duffy. 2-1 and suddenly it’s not quite game over.
Second half underway, Calvert-Lewin is off and Anthony Gordon has come on for him. Looks Richarlison will go into the middle now.
45+1’ - DCL gets behind the line from a Keane ball, and he tries to place it behind the onrushing Cairns, goalie does very well to save that.
Halftime whistle, Blues lead 2-0.
42’ - This is all one-way traffic and Ancelotti must be wondering if he could have gotten away with a weaker team than this.
40’ - Nkounkou has been winning the battle of the fullbacks so far, but now Kenny wants in on the action, cuts in and fires off a left-footed shot, but it’s wide.
38’ - Another fantastic cross-field ball from Delph to Richy, but nothing comes of it.
Bernard playing a central role looks really good. Unfortunately, he seems to struggle when playing against bigger, faster, better players in that position.
34’ - 2-0!! Richarlison again! Delightful cross-field ball from Delph is trapped by the Brazilian, he cuts inwards, dummies once, twice, plays a filthy 1-2 with
DCL Iwobi and slams home from point-blank range, no chance for Kearns.
31’ - Close there for Iwobi again. Low shot from outside the box fizzes past the far post.
Bernard with a neat little chop and changes foot on the run, fires off a lovely shot that is just past the same post. What’s that, seven chances for the Blues already?
29’ - Miscued shot from Richarlison in the box, that was nearly two.
We’re having a laugh in the RBM Slack about Richy’s ‘drought’ being over. This article really caused a stir on Twitter.
26’ - Delph goes into the ref’s book for yanking a breaking Fisherman down. Replays clearly showed the player was gotten by the turf monster there.
22’ - Richarlison and Iwobi have swapped sides.
GOAL! The Nigerian finds Bernard whose peach of a ball behind the backline is met perfectly by the Brazilian to head home into the far corner. 1-0 Everton.
21’ - Off the bar! An Iwobi shot from distance is deflected, over the goalie and bounces onto the bar and out for a corner.
Digen corner is headed back across the goal by DCL but no one to meet it.
18’ - DCL wins a freekick from a promising position; Digne takes but it’s low and driven into the wall to clear.
16’ - The crosses into the box appears to be a concerted Everton strategy, wonder if the coaching staff have seen a weakness in the Fleetwood backline.
12’ - Another dangerous cross in, this time from Nkounkou, and a DCL on-target header is blocked.
8’ - Good Delph sliding challenge in the box gives the hosts a corner on the Everton right. Taken short and cleared by the Blues, with Bernard leading a counter that is cleared for a throw eventually.
7’ - DCL almost gets a flying boot to a cross across the box. So close.
Both Iwobi and Richarlison have done well getting good crosses into the box.
5’ - Been all Everton so far, passing the ball around between themselves. It’s a 4-3-3 with Delph, Bernard and Sigurdsson in the Allan, Doucoure and Rodriguez roles.
1’ - We’re off at Highbury, with Everton led by Sigurdsson, wearing their customary blue.
Lineups are in, and as expected, Ancelotti has named a stronger side for the game today.
Yerry Mina is given a break and is not in the squad at all. Lucas Digne slides into his spot and Niels Nkounkou gets another start. Fabian Delph is back and it looks like a 4-4-2 with the former Manchester City player manning the middle with Gylfi Sigurdsson. Up top Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin get a chance to reprise their magic.
Alternatively, a 4-3-3 with Alex Iwobi on the right, and Bernard playing the Andre Gomes role in the middle. Or even a 4-2-3-1 with RIcharlison and Iwobi on either side of Bernard as a #10.
Everton take on another lower league team in the earlier rounds of a Cup competition and we should be thinking ahead of the next opponent. Wrong. Recent history, and our inherent Blue-ness mean that we will of course fret about this game, analyzing and reliving every worst case scenario that can come out of this potential banana-skin.
The Blues travel to Fleetwood Town today in the Third Round of the Carabao Cup, with the winner advancing to a home tie against a coronavirus-impacted West Ham United next week.
Carlo Ancelotti chose to rest almost his entire first XI against Salford City last week, but might not be as brave this week against a better opponent. Of particular concern will be the centrehalf position, with only two fit players in the entire squad for the position, and the fixtures continuing to come thick and fast after today too.
Today’s League One opponents are led by avowed Blue Joey Barton, who has polarized the Everton fanbase with some of his antics and words over the years. His shock-jock comments about much-loved David Unsworth (‘glorified PE teacher’), dropping his shorts to moon the same Everton fans he proclaims himself to be one of, and getting into a physical alteration with a 15-year-old Everton fan are just some examples of some of the controversial things he’s done in his footballing career, and that is just the cases with Evertonians involved.
He’s done much better as a manager than he ever did in his playing career, managing to mostly keep a lid on his legacy of immature behaviour and even led the Fishermen to the playoffs last season.
There’s nothing he would love better than pulling one over his boyhood club, so expect his boys to come out extra fired up this evening with no home fans to cheer them on.
Competition: Carabao Cup Third Round
Date and start time: Wednesday, September 23rd at 11:45 a.m. PT / 2:45 p.m ET / 7:45 p.m. BST
Stadium: Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood, England, United Kingdom
Weather: 52°F/11°C, showers, 41% chance of precipitation, 8 mph winds
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Starting XI: Pickford, Kenny, Keane, Digne, NKounkou, Delph, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Iwobi, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
Subs: Lossl, Coleman, Davies, Doucoure, Walcott, Gordon, Kean
Starting XI: Cairns, Andrew, Whelan, Burns, Evans, Camps, Morris, Coutts, Boyes, Stubbs, Hill
Subs: Leutwiler, Duffy, Saunders, Garner, Holgate, Matete. S.Morris
The Blues have never played Fleetwood in a competitive fixture before, though the Under-21s did play them in the Football League Cup last season, and were beaten handily 4-0 by Barton’s side. That added insult to injury for Unsworth and you can imagine how badly he will want Ancelotti’s charges to spank Fleetwood soundly tonight.