Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Everton will be facing Sheffield Wednesday with an injury-ravished squad but they will welcome top-scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin back for Sunday night’s FA Cup tie.
The winner of the fourth round encounter will host either of Wycombe Wanderers or Tottenham Hotspur in the next stage of the competition, with Jose Mourinho’s Spurs also visiting Championship opposition on Monday evening.
Everton have not reached the fifth round of the FA Cup since progressing through to the semi-final in 2015/16, after bowing out to Liverpool (twice), Millwall and Leicester City in recent years.
So, in Ancelotti’s quest to continue competing in the oldest national football competition, here’s a potential line-up the Italian may name to counter Everton’s injury crisis…
Ancelotti has grown a reputation at Goodison Park for rotating his goalkeeper options since the arrival of Robin Olsen last summer and he will be expected to name the AS Roma loanee against Wednesday after starting him at home to Rotherham United.
Everton will be forced into naming Ben Godfrey at left-back once again with Lucas Digne and Niels Nkounkou both ruled out of Sunday night’s tie, further forcing Ancelotti to name a full-strength centre-back pairing, likely alongside Seamus Coleman.
The Toffees will also be without Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Allan and Fabian Delph, leaving Tom Davies, Andre Gomes and Abdoulaye Doucoure as Ancelotti’s only fully fit natural options for the holding midfield role.
Doucoure will be expected to start at home to the Owls with the Frenchman suspended in the Premier League for Wednesday night’s meeting with Leicester City, and could be partnered by Gomes to afford Davies a rest ahead of the Foxes encounter after starting the Blues’ last five fixtures across all competitions.
Ancelotti has been met with a further absence in attack with Alex Iwobi ruled out, likely forcing the former Chelsea head coach to rely on Richarlison and Bernard to bring the width in six changes from the side that beat Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out.
Gylfi Sigurdsson started as a false nine at Molineux but will be expected to start in an attacking midfield capacity against Sheffield Wednesday, as Ancelotti likely looks to manage James Rodriguez’s workload following the Colombian’s calf injury.
Calvert-Lewin at least offers the Italian tactician a welcome boost with his return from a hamstring injury, and will hope to end a six-game drought across all competitions in search of his 15th goal of the season.
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