Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Everton duo Jordan Pickford and James Rodriguez are doubts ahead of tonight’s against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup.
Spurs visit Goodison Park looking to secure a place in the quarter-final in what will be the first FA Cup meeting between the two sides since 1995, a game which saw the Toffees run out 4-1 victors, thus sealing a place in that year’s Final.
Everton have not advanced through to the final of the competition since losing 2-1 to Chelsea at Wembley in 2009, but are currently enjoying their best run since reaching the semi-final of the 2015/16 edition.
Ancelotti accepts that tonight’s game comes at a crucial point in Everton’s season with a top-four Premier League finish a real possibility. So, with that in mind, here’s a potential line-up the Italian could name against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs in the FA Cup…
Ancelotti has confirmed that Everton are facing a handful of injury concerns before welcoming Tottenham to Goodison Park, after Rodriguez was forced off the field with a tight calf in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Manchester United.
Pickford was not deemed fit to feature at Old Trafford as he continues to overcome an abdominal injury sustained against Newcastle, but he and Rodriguez may yet feature against Spurs.
“I have to wait for training this afternoon [Tuesday] to check on some situations. One is James and one is Jordan. They are going to train and after that we will see,” Ancelotti said on Tuesday.
“James had a tight calf [against Manchester United]. I took him off after 70 minutes to avoid risk. Now he will train today. If he’s ready to play tomorrow, he will play, and if the calf is still tight, he will play in the next game on Sunday.”
Ancelotti may play Pickford’s return carefully with the issue now having ruled the England international out of two games, and instead, look to save the goalkeeper for this weekend’s Premier League encounter with Fulham.
Doing so would allow Robin Olsen to retain the gloves despite his challenging performance at Old Trafford, where the AS Roma loanee should have done better to prevent Scott McTominay’s header, having slipped on his line.
Resting Rodriguez may also be considered as Everton already lost the Colombian for five games across all competitions in December with a calf injury, something that Ancelotti will be keen to avoid a repeat of.
Gylfi Sigurdsson would be expected to stand in for Rodriguez in the creative role of Everton’s midfield if needed, joining Andre Gomes, Tom Davies and Abdoulaye Doucoure in the engine room after Ancelotti enjoyed what he saw from the Blues in a 4-3-1-2 against the Red Devils.
Richarlison was unable to end his scoring issues with one strike in nine games by partnering Dominic Calvert-Lewin at striker, but showed brief signs of promise.
Everton’s backline will be expected to stay much the same from the side that drew with Manchester United, after Ben Godfrey produced another impressive display in the centre beside Michael Keane.
Mason Holgate did not look comfortable at right-back at Old Trafford and committed the occasional error, something which Ancelotti may look to rectify with a recall for Seamus Coleman at the £16m-rated gem’s expense.
Coleman has not featured for the Toffees since captaining the side to defeat at home to Newcastle last month, while earning just his 11th start of the campaign in all competitions.