The FA Cup returns and the romance of the cup will be in the air at Boundary Park as Everton take on League 1 side Oldham Athletic. Everton are looking to bounce back from a disappointing league showing against Manchester United last weekend, as they went down 2-0. Oldham, despite the impressive cup run, have really struggled in the league, as well as off field where manager Paul Dickov resigned over board issues, however, Oldham did record an impressive 3-1 win over MK Dons last weekend, there first in 10 league matches and will be hoping to take that confidence into the match. Everton booked the trip to Oldham following a hard fought 2-1 win over Bolton. As for Oldham, they caused the shock of the round by beating Everton’s arch-rivals Liverpool 3-2. Both sides will be hoping their cup run continues as if they win, they will be one win away from the trip to Wembley.
Everton left back Leighton Baines on the trip to Oldham
‘We saw what a tough game they gave to Liverpool in the last round, We played them ourselves a few seasons back and they beat us, so we know what those cup ties are all about. It’s just about getting through. Liverpool will have been aware of what they were in for as well.
Oldham Athletic interim manager Tony Philliskirk on the match against Everton
‘We are under no illusions that we have to be at our maximum. The goalkeeper and back four have to have stormers. We will need some luck and Everton have to be a bit below par. That is not being negative – there is always the magic of the FA Cup and this season there have been more surprises than in years gone by. We have to go in with a positive mindset. We are massive underdogs and have everything to gain.’
Oldham Team News:
Oldham have a few concerns surrounding a couple of players. Foremost is the hero from last round, Matt Smith who is still struggling with the shoulder injury he sustained in that match and is listed as a doubt. The other goalscorer in that match, Reece Webara has since been recalled by Manchester City and sent out on loan to Blackpool, so obviously won’t feature. However, they have signed Barnard from Southampton on loan as well as Iwelumo who both could feature in the match.
Possible Starting XI: Bouzanis, Brown, Grounds, Mvoto, Wesolowski, Tarkowski, Croft, Obita, Iwelumo, Barnard, Baxter
Player to watch: Jose Baxter
The Everton academy product, who was once likened to Wayne Rooney by Evertonians, has been one of the few bright spots for Oldham. The 20yr old joined Oldham on a free transfer from Everton and has settled into life at Boundary Park with ease scoring vital goals for the Latics this season. Without doubt Baxter will be up for the match as he seeks to prove Everton wrong about releasing him and will hold the key for the Latics if they hope to continue their dream run.
Everton Team News:
Generally when a Premier League side faces a League 1 side they may consider fielding a weakened side, however, there is no chance of Everton doing that, as they showed against Cheltenham, Moyes and the players are taking the FA Cup very seriously and Oldham, especially after what they did last round should expect a full strength Everton side. There might be one change to the side that played United last week with Sylvain Distin, who was a late withdrawal from the match through illness replacing Heitinga in the side. However, it could be a week too early for Seamus Coleman who is still struggling with a thigh injury. Tony Hibbert will definitely miss the match as he struggles with a calf injury.
Possible Starting XI: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Neville, Osman, Gibson, Pienaar, Mirallas, Fellaini, Anichebe
Player to watch: Kevin Mirallas
The Belgian has, fingers crossed, finally gotten over his injury concerns, and now Everton fans will be hoping to see him regain the form he had when he joined. The pacy winger could hold the key in trying to unlock, what will be a very stubborn Oldham defence. Mirallas is a game changer, his pace and trickery could really win the game for Everton with a moment of brilliance. If Everton can get Mirallas heavily involved and give the player a bit of confidence then it could spell real trouble for Oldham.
Match Facts & Stats
1. Everton of course know the threat Oldham possess, the last time these two sides met in the FA Cup, back in 2008, Oldham won 1-0 at Goodison Park.
2. Everton are winless in the last 5 games against Oldham in the FA Cup losing 3 and drawing twice.
3. Everton’s last win over Oldham in the FA Cup was in 1912.
4. Everton are unbeaten in there last 7 away games in the FA Cup
5. Oldham have only won 3 games in the last 12 games, however, 2 of those wins have come in the last 3 matches.
I think the Oldham game against Liverpool will ensure the Everton players do not take this team lightly, and that could be a big plus for Everton. With hopes of top 4 fading, a good cup run in the FA Cup could salvage the season. Everton will need to be very strong at the back because Oldham do not hide the way they like to play and they will need to take their chances. Hopefully Everton can grab an early goal, much like against Cheltenham and make the task a bit easier for themselves. It will be an extremely tough and physical game but I think Everton can handle that unlike their neighbours and I think Everton will book their place in the Quarters of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win. COYB!!!! WE ALL WANT ANOTHER TRIP TO WEMBLEY LADS!!!!! THIS CLUB NEEDS SILVERWARE!!!!