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Sheffield Wednesday are embroiled in a relegation scrap and recently sacked experienced manager Tony Pulis, though they’re certainly fighting on the field.
They’ve won four of five unbeaten games in all competitions, including all three with Neil Thompson in the dugout, though their squad is stretched thin and Everton should prove too great a step up in quality to handle.
The Toffees are going strong in the league where they sit three points ahead of Chelsea with two games in hand, while they also have games on the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham, both of whom they’d overtake if they were to win those.
Although European qualification is the ultimate yardstick by which success will be measured this season, Carlo Ancelotti loves a cup trophy and will know that silverware would boost his Merseyside project.
Indeed, he won the FA Cup in 2009/10 at Chelsea and is W7-D3-L1 in this tournament overall as only Liverpool were able to get the better of his Everton side last term.
Everton have had nearly two weeks since their previous fixture at Wolves, with their 2-1 win that day leaving them W5-D2-L2 over 90 minutes since the start of last month, as their defeats came against in-form outfits Man Utd and West Ham.
They may have needed extra time to edge past Rotherham in the previous round, but they won by three-goal margins against each of Salford City, Fleetwood and West Ham in the League Cup this year before coming up short against Man Utd.
The break in action for Ancelotti’s men should have allowed one or two injured players to work their way back to fitness, but though the team news remains unclear, the Italian is certainly without Dominic Calvert-Lewin and midfielders Allan and Fabian Delph, while he’ll be conscious of the upcoming clash with Leicester midweek.
Even with some rotation, the Toffees will still have some considerable strength to their line-up and midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure is sure to start as he’s suspended in the league, while James Rodriguez could be in line for some minutes to build match fitness.
Under 2.5 Goals
The Owls are in a similar boat having also not played since early January, as Neil Thompson remains without a number of sidelined players.
Defenders Julian Borner, Joost van Aken and Dominic Iorfa are all injured, while there are doubts over midfielder Massimo Luongo and attacker Josh Windass.
Everton beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 in 2019 when they met in the League Cup and a similar result can be expected again this time around.
22 of the visitor’s 27 matches this season have seen fewer than three goals, including 13 of the past 16, while eight of Everton’s last 10 over 90 minutes have also featured a maximum of two goals.
Everton To Win 2-0
Neil Thompson’s side are a desperately poor W2-D2-L8 on their travels since late September, as even one of those victories came over fourth-tier Exeter in the previous round.
All but one of those defeats saw them fail to score, while half of those losses finished 2-0, so Everton should ease into the next round without too much fuss.