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Everton vs Tottenham FA Cup match preview - It’s Carlo v Jose for a place in the quarter-finals

The two sides meet in the competition for the first time since ‘95

Soccer - FA Cup Semi Final - Tottenham Hotspur V Everton - Elland Road, Leeds Photo by Steve Morton - PA Images via Getty Images

Everton will attempt to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time in five years when they take on Tottenham at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

It has been a fixture burned into the retinas of every Evertonian since the draw was made last month, with the desire to end that long trophy drought more intense than ever.

The visit of Spurs brings back memories of that last trophy win – the 1995 FA Cup – and the Toffees’ famous Daniel Amokachi-inspired demolition of Gerry Francis’ side in the semi-final at Elland Road.

Soccer - FA Cup Semi Final - Tottenham Hotspur V Everton - Elland Road, Leeds Photo by Steve Morton/EMPICS via Getty Images

The two clubs have not met in the competition since – let’s hope that’s an omen.

The match falls in the midst of a packed and potentially season-defining schedule for Everton, with Fulham, Manchester City and Liverpool to follow in the space of a week.

To that end, how crucial will Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s last-gasp equaliser at Manchester United last Saturday prove to be? Not just because of the point it earned, but the momentum and confidence gained from a draw that will have felt like a victory.

Manchester United v Everton - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The fixture list calms down after the derby, with the lack of European football meaning Everton average one game a week until the end of the season (albeit with the Aston Villa game still to be rearranged).

It means the squad has more than enough depth to sustain a cup run on top, and once you reach the last eight then who knows?

All the fans can do it dream – but it is time for the players to deliver.

The opposition

Given Tottenham are four points outside the top four, through the Carabao Cup final, the FA Cup fifth round and knockout stages of the Europa League, you would think the fans would be pretty satisfied with life right now.

Yet a sizeable number of Tottenham supporters are growing increasingly frustrated with Jose Mourinho and his safety first tactics.

That was none more apparent than during last week’s home defeat by Chelsea, with Spurs only really mounting a response in the closing stages.

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Harry Kane was out injured that evening and their limp display highlighted just how much they rely on the England captain and his partnership with Son Heung-Min - between them they have scored 26 goals and have 17 assists this season.

He returned quicker than expected for Sunday’s game against West Brom and promptly opened the scoring, with Son also on target in a 2-0 win.

Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti has been equally pragmatic in recent months; though few Evertonians are complaining given it is getting results and looks the best use of the resources at his disposal.

That approach is unlikely to change on Wednesday, meaning this is a tie that could be decided by the odd goal or even extra-time and (gasp) penalties.

With a trip to Manchester City coming up on Saturday, it remains to be seen whether Mourinho will start with Kane at Goodison so soon after his injury return, Everton fans certainly hope he won’t.

They head north with a bit of history on their side. Tottenham haven’t lost successive games against Everton since 2012 and haven’t lost twice to Everton in the same season since 1985-86.

Given they have a cup final and European football to look forward to; you could forgive Tottenham for pushing this game down their priority list.

However, Mourinho, for all his critics, is a proven winner and has a habit of dragging his sides through when it matters.

Previous meeting

Tottenham 0-1 Everton September 13, 2020

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton - Premier League Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

A second-half bullet header from Dominic Calvert-Lewin earned Everton all three points in their opening match of the season – their first win against Tottenham for eight years.

Recent form

Everton

Man Utd (A) Drew 3-3

Leeds (A) Won 2-1

Newcastle (H) Lost 2-0

Leicester (H) Drew 1-1

Sheffield Wednesday (H – FA Cup) Won 3-0

Tottenham

West Brom (H) Won 2-0

Chelsea (H) Lost 1-0

Brighton (A) Lost 1-0

Liverpool (H) Lost 3-1

Wycombe (A – FA Cup) Won 4-1

Team news

Carlo Ancelotti says James Rodriguez and Jordan Pickford will be assessed in training on Tuesday before deciding his starting line-up.

Pickford has missed the last two matches with a side strain while James complained of a tight calf against Manchester United.

Allan is back training after a hamstring injury but is not ready to return, but could feature against Fulham on Saturday.

What they said

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti: “It is an honour for me to be compared to Jose. He is a focused defensively and offensively, like I am.

“I think a Mourinho team is always in balance, which means they are doing a good job defensively and offensively.

“I know how much Evertonians want to win trophies. We are working on this, I don’t know if this season is the right time.

“What I can say, for sure, is we are doing everything to try to have trophies here as soon as possible.”

Brighton & Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Andrew Boyers - Pool/Getty Images

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho: “The FA Cup draw is not easy, we play a team with great potential and ambitions in the competition like we have. So let’s go tomorrow.

“Carlo with time, he will win. I’m not saying that Everton can jump over the top clubs, with incredible history. It’s not an easy process of course.

“But with Carlo, and with patience, and with time, and with continuous development of the team, nobody better than Carlo to give a trophy to Everton.”

Final word

Forget Tottenham’s recent form, they are one of the toughest teams Everton could have drawn. However, the Toffees have generally risen to the occasion against the bigger sides this season and I’m sure they do not need someone to explain the importance of this match, with history weighing heavy on the fans’ shoulders.

Victory would mean a lot more to Everton than Spurs, given their participation in other competitions, and I hope that proves decisive.

Get past this stage and you are in “anything can happen” territory.

It’s time for Everton to deliver.