Pretty much the strongest side available to him was fielded by the
manager, who has been somewhat more critical than normal of his poorly
performing players after recent disappointing results. No young-blood experiments in the starting
line-up, but still 11 players in the treatment room and so plenty of youngsters on the bench.
Neill right-back; Hibbert left-back... with captain Cahill (!!!) playing
left flank in front him. And other side, what looked like a pretty
strong side, despite their injuries
Most of the early play was all from Spurs but Everton won an early
free-kick Saha had an early pop that needed saving by the keeper.
Not much then until Rodwell had a poke from distance: wide.
A good Spurs move ended up with Pavlyuchenko missing a scoring chance.
At the other end, Gosling did well to set up Heitinga but it was just to
high for the Dutch Master to reach. But a major scare on the half-hour as
Distin gets in a mess, gives the ball to Keane who beats Howard but hits
As the tempo built, end to end, Spurs launched a fast counter,
Huddlestone finishing it off, a stinging left-foot shot past Howard.
Howard went into the book for a strong tackle. Heitinga was next in
the book as Spurs sensed blood and went for the blue jugular, Bentley
firing just a yard wide of the Everton goal from the resulting
Keane looked set to score but screwed it wide just before the break
as Tottenham rued their missed chances from a dominating half, the Blues
in danger of being outclassed.
Moyes made a move after the break, switching out Louis Saha for Jo,
who started well. Hibbert and Neill also switched sides. Cahill
forced Gomes into a wonderful save soon after the game resumed.
But before long, the relentless flowing attacks resumed from the
Jo had a fantastic opportunity to score but fired just too close to
Gomes after a great pece of play from Everton. But at the other end, a
penalty after Distin adjudged to have fouled Keane. Howard saved
Keane's spot kick two or three times in the melee that ensued, and
eventually amidst the chaos, Keane lashed it into the roof of the net.
Fellaini got close and fired at Gomes but it was parried away...
Cahill could not make anything of it following up. Everton started
pushing up, playing more expansively, but still looking vulnerable when
Spurs break with pace.
Everton huffed and puffed but of course it was never going to happen.
Everton bemoan the scheduling imperatives that saw them play and loose
their third defeat in six days. Once again, the League Cup, that
completion Everton have never won... slips away into the record books.
A gruelling spell of four games in 10 days continues with a trip to White Hart Lane just two-and-a-half days after the bruising defeat to Bolton at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday afternoon. David Moyes made his frustrations at the timing of this Carling Cup Third Round tie clearly known but it can't change the fact that he must send his patched-up side out for another tough cup assignment.
Long-term absentees Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka and Steven Pienaar remain sidelined with their respective knee injuries but Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Johnny Heitinga, Leighton Baines and Yakubu are hoping to be fit after each missed all or part of the Bolton match.
No word on Joseph Yobo and the longer he remains absent with a supposed head injury, the more credence is leant to uncorroborated rumours suggesting he had a falling out with his manager prior to the Benfica match.
Moyes has hinted that he may have to play an even more weakened side for this match given his team's hectic schedule and that may pave the way for names like Kieran Agard, Jose Baxter and Hope Akpan.
Tottenham will be far below full-strength themselves. Aaron Lennon, Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King will all be missing, while Jermaine Defoe is suspended and Niko Kranjkar is cup-tied.
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