On paper, Everton won. But this was a torrid performance against a team 23rd in the Championship.
So, what did the numbers tell us?
Blues dominate possession (65%), but create little
The Blues started well in this one, but soon after taking the lead, a familiar problem arose: Everton took their foot off the gas and looked woefully pedestrian in possession.
If you saw Everton’s defeat to West Ham United – or even many of the Blues’ home performances against mediocre opposition in the past five years – you’ll know exactly what I mean.
The Blues attempt to play out from the back, but have no idea how to break down an organised opponent that sits deep.
Everton had three shots in the opening 10 minutes, but then had just one other shot in the first half after letting Rotherham into the game. It wasn’t until the Millers had deservedly equalised that the Blues started to create chances once more.
First Everton goal in 432 days
After Moise Kean was sent on loan to PSG in the summer, it was left to Cenk Tosun to provide cover for Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front.
But given DCL’s outstanding form and durability, Cenk has had to wait to get fit first until this game to make a starting appearance in any competition.
And he seized his opportunity with both hands with a smart chipped finish putting the Blues ahead. It was his first goal for Everton since he bagged a 97th minute equaliser against Spurs in November 2019. He almost made headlines, too, with a only a narrow offside call by VAR denying him a late winner in normal time.
Obviously, Cenk isn’t going to provide serious competition for Calvert-Lewin but he showed himself to be a safe pair of hands.
Prior to this game, he’s made just six appearances from the bench this season, each of which averaged just 7.5 minutes. On the back of this, Carlo may give him some more game time in the second half of the season in order to provide DCL some much needed respite from time to time.
Has bagged an assist in every cup appearance this season
It was a moment of magic from Anthony Gordon that opened the scoring for Everton as they looked on course to romp home after Cenk’s early goal.
The teenager looked lively in the early stages and it meant he has now provided an assist in every cup appearance he’s made this season.
He’s yet to make an impression in the Premier League this season, but has been restricted to a mere three appearances from the bench.
Created two dangerous chances in 25 minute cameo
It was no surprise that Lucas Digne was replaced on the hour mark after his return from injury.
But it was disappointing to see Carlo make a defensive change by replacing him with Yerry Mina and returning Godfrey to left-back rather than providing a chance to Niels Nkounkou.
Godfrey has, of course, done a solid job filling in for Digne and it makes sense to play him ahead of Nkounkou against top opposition. But he doesn’t offer much going forward – and Everton were crying out for directness and creativity here.
In the end, Nkounkou did get a few minutes to impress in extra-time – and that he did. He put in two fabulous crosses after surging runs from the left.
Carlo certainly seems to have a trust issue with youngsters Gordon and Nkounkou and – if that is the case – it would be great to see the pair loaned out for the rest of the season so that they can continue their development, rather than barely getting a look in at Everton.
Blues into 4th Round for just 2nd Time in 5 Years
Everton haven’t passed fourth round since 2015/16
Despite a shambolic performance, Everton are hitting the hat for the fourth round draw for just the second time in five years.
Silverware is a top priority for the Blues and hopefully Carlo Ancelotti’s side will learn the lesson’s of this near-miss against Rotherham here.