Football League World’s Chris Thorpe will be live at Goodison Park as Everton take on Rotherham United in the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
This tie pits together a side going well in the Premier League up against one which has left a lot to be desired in the Championship in a clash which has all the hallmarks of a classic cup match, with both sides aiming to progress into the fourth round.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton currently occupy seventh place in the top tier table and sit just four points off the leaders and their near neighbours Liverpool with a game in hand, underlining the positive transformation that the club has undergone since the experienced Italian took charge back in December 2019.
Whilst their opponents on Saturday, Paul Warne’s Rotherham United, are currently cut adrift of safety by three points in 23rd place of the Championship standings, albeit with several games in hand on Sheffield Wednesday in 21st, meaning that the Millers have a lot of work to do during the course of the second half of their league campaign.
The Toffees are widely expected to ring the changes for this fixture due their demanding winter schedule, with the likes of Robin Olsen, Jonjoe Kenny and Cenk Tosun set to be handed rare starts by Ancelotti on home turf as they once again line-up in their familiar 4-2-3-1 system that has been so potent so far this season.
They will however have to do without Allan, Lucas Digne, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, who all miss out through injury, whilst Alex Iwobi will be assessed ahead of Saturday’s game.
For Rotherham, not too many changes are expected from their side which lost at home to Barnsley in the league last time out, with Ben Wiles likely to get the nod at left back due to the absence of the injured Joe Mattock, meaning that the Millers will line-up in a conservative 5-4-1 formation, with the aim of stifling their hosts.
Warne will also have do without several other players for the visit to Merseyside, with the likes of Chiedozie Ogbene, Kieran Sadlier, Clark Robertson, Shaun MacDonald and Trevor Clarke all joining Mattock on the treatment table.
Neither side has had much in the way of average possession this term, although it expected that Everton will have a lot of the ball throughout the 90 minutes this weekend, meaning Rotherham’s best route to scoring chances could be through the use of set pieces due their vast amount of physically imposing players.
The two defensive blocks that will be deployed by Warne’s side will be tasked with limiting the amount of time that Richarlison and Bernard have in possession, with the Brazilian duo likely to be the home side’s key attacking outlets.
Meanwhile the Millers will be looking to lone striker Freddie Ladapo for their threat on the counter attack, with the former Plymouth Argyle man offering the pace to get in behind the Toffees’ backline.
Everton began the new year with a home loss to West Ham United, but have had eight days to rest ahead of welcoming their Championship opponents to Goodison Park.
The Millers have won only one of their last nine matches, losing seven of those, and are on a seven-game losing streak away for home, meaning a victory for them on Saturday would be seen as a huge upset.
Although the visitors will attack this game with largely nothing to lose, it would be fair to say that the home side should see off their opponents with ease due to the clear gulf in quality between the two teams, who both have more pressing matters to attend to in the league this term for two very different reasons.