Everton made their customary meek exit from the League Cup with 3-0 defeat to Swansea City, their first defeat in history to the Welsh side.
Roberto Martinez rang some big changes for the visit to the Liberty Stadium, with the return of Bryan Oviedo and a debut for Muhamed Besic one of seven from Sunday.
Antolin Alcaraz, Tony Hibbert, Darron Gibson, Aiden McGeady and Luke Garbutt also came into the team which made a decent start, controlling the early possession.
Hibbert had an early shot that was always rising over the bar and Samuel Eto'o failed to hit the target despite being played in nicely by Antolin Alcaraz as the Blues looked fairly comfortable.
They were opened up by Jefferson Montero, though, with 28 minutes gone, the Ecuadorian dancing past three black shirts before teeing up Nathan Dyer who fired home at the back post with 28 minutes gone.
Chances were few and far between for Everton but they almost capitalised on a horrible error by Dyer who gifted the ball straight to Atsu in his own half. Unfortunately, the Ghanaian played it first time to Eto'o who was in an offside position, ending what would have been a two-on-one situation.
Martinez withdrew Eto'o at half time in favour of Romelu Lukaku and the the Belgian was involved straight away with a strong run and a shot that blazed narrowly over the bar.
McGeady also shot over from a decent position but the Blues were failing to cause their hosts enough problems in the final third and might have gone 2-0 down when Montero again raided down the left and Howard had to acrobatically push Sigurdsson's header away for a corner.
Everton did fall further behind soon afterwards, though, when Shelvey swung a dangerous ball into the box, Distin stooped low to head off his own bar and Sigurdsson reacted quickest to turn home the rebound.
Martinez had already put James McCarthy on in place of Oviedo and later added Leon Osman in the closing stages but there was little intensity or consistency with the way Everton went about trying to claw their way back into the tie.
And their misery was completed five minutes from time when Swansea's own substitute Marvin Emnes ran into space and advanced on the visitors' defence before beating Howard with a low shot from the edge of the area.
Everton's response to Sunday's disappointing result against Crystal Palace and, indeed, their ability to cope with juggling Premier League commitments with cup campaigns at home and abroad in general will come under serious examination over the next 10 days, starting with a potentially tricky trip to Swansea City this evening in the Capital One League Cup.
The Blues, who suffered what their second home defeat of the season when they went down 3-2 to Palace, now face four consecutive matches away from Goodison Park with the trip to Krasnodar in Russia sandwiched between League fixtures at Anfield and Old Trafford before Aston Villa come to Merseyside on 18th October.
Hardly charitable conditions, you wouldn't think, under which to try and stabilise a team that has made a disappointing start to the season despite some very promising signs, many of which have been buried under the headlines about that porous defence. Knowing Roberto Martinez, however, he will no doubt be relishing the challenge but while there is huge opportunity to advance on all three fronts over the next 12 days, this next part of the fixture list is littered with landmines that could derail a season that still holds much promise.
The manager continues to see spanners thrown into the works by injury, though. Seamus Coleman is again ruled out with the injury that forced him off in injury time against Wolfsburg and last week and which kept him out if the side on Sunday. His replacement at right back, John Stones, struggled against Palace and was eventually withdrawn in the second half, prompting an inquest as to why, after such magnificent displays against the German side and at West Brom before that, the young defender was pulled out of central defence in the first place.
Tony Hibbert's recent back injury and the general lack of options in that part of the field are the most likely answers but James McCarthy acquitted himself as a makeshift fullback at the weekend and could be asked to do a job there again if Hibbert isn't fit enough to start. U21s graduate, Tyias Browning, is also an option there but his lack of any first-team experience means he would be a big gamble.
There is better news elsewhere in the side, though, with Bryan Oviedo and Arouna Kone named in the squad for the first time since January and last October respectively. Both players have endured long roads back from serious injury and will be hoping to get some playing time off the bench this evening as they look to break back into the side. It's unlikely either will be risked from the start, particularly as Martinez has no need to given the cover he has for their positions.
Indeed, Martinez has a number of options open to him in the midfield and forward areas and his willingness to make changes to a winning team on Sunday in the name of squad rotation makes predicting his starting XI difficult. Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith are strong candidates to return after starting the Palace game on the bench and then helping improve what had, Romelu Lukaku's early goal notwithstanding, been a fairly impotent attacking display up that point.
Lukaku is a due a rest and, should his manager elect to give him one, Samuel Eto'o would be a good shout to replace him as the main front man given that he was less effective in a predominantly wide role on Sunday and that he thrives through the centre.
Swansea, who started the season with four consecutive wins in all competitions, have now lost twice in succession, including a 1-0 home defeat to Southampton on Saturday, and they will be without main target man Wilfried Bony who is suspended.
Those factors, plus the Swans' poor record against the Blues in general – they've never beat Everton in 84 years of meetings between the two clubs, including the three meetings in all competitions last season – should be cause for optimism among Evertonian ranks that we can negotiate this third-round tie and push on into the next round of a competition we have yet to win.
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