Everton vs. Manchester United: Ancelotti’s men look to triumph in Carabao Cup quarter finals

(Photo by Visionhaus)
(Photo by Visionhaus) /

Carlo Ancelotti looks to pursue his goal of winning a trophy in his first full season as Everton boss with a big win over Manchester United who are coming off a 6-2 thrashing of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United.

It’s probably still crazy for Everton fans to think that three-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti is the Toffees manager, and is showing passion we haven’t seen since his AC Milan days. The Italian has made it very clear he wants to win trophies with Everton and this game could give a great chance of taking home their first trophy since the 1995 FA Cup win.

Everton take on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United who previously handed the Toffees a 3-1 defeat at Goodison Park, in a game that summarised Everton’s slump in form until the recent turnaround. One problem is that, in the Premier League, Manchester United haven’t lost an away game, winning four and drawing one to Manchester City.

One issue for Everton is the injury to Brazilian midfielder Allan, which clearly effected them in the game against Arsenal, even though they were able to take the three points. They are also still without Digne, Delph and James Rodriguez.

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Some good news about Digne for Everton fans is that it looks possible that the French left-back has been offered a new deal and according to his Twitter it looks like there’s a possibility that he’ll commit his long-term future to Everton.

Everton fans are probably wondering what Ancelotti is going to do, is he going to rest players like he’s been suggesting or will he save that for relegation battlers Sheffield United on Boxing Day. Personally, I can see a full-strength side being put out against United, including James, because I think Ancelotti is desperate to win either the FA Cup or EFL Cup to cement his first season as a guaranteed success.

This could lead to a heavily rotated side on the weekend, but I don’t think that will happen because some of these players have shown over the past week that they can handle a congested fixture list and it won’t affect how they play.

I see Carlo playing the usual back four unless he wants to play Holgate in midfield, and then giving returning captain Seamus Coleman the game against Sheffield United because Ancelotti wants Everton to have a big chance to beat Manchester United and the best way to do that is with a solid defence.

United are a team that can score a lot of goals so the best way to defeat them is the same approach Ancelotti’s men took against both Chelsea and Leicester. It may not be very pretty, but it gets results, and that is what Everton fans need if they want to win a trophy. Everton have only conceded one goal in their past three fixtures, and the penalty against Arsenal can’t really be blamed on the defence.

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This has been put down to some fantastic defensive performances by the Toffees, the complete opposite of what fans were watching at the start of the season, with Ancelotti’s approach of playing four natural centre-backs working fantastically, with the size and physicality of Yerry Mina and Michael Keane in the middle, and the more athletic pair of Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate playing in the full-back positions.

Ben Godfrey specifically has shined in this span, showing that he was a bargain for the Toffees at £20m (possibly rising to £25m) due to his versatility and the passion he has shown while playing in an Everton shirt.

During his time as a blue, Godfrey has averaged 2.3 tackles, 1.8 interceptions and 2.6 clearances. For somebody who’s been used all over the backline by Ancelotti, those numbers are ridiculous, and Godfrey is still only 22-years old which means the young Englishman is only going to get better and better as the years go on.

One possibility is that Ole goes with a rotated side against Everton due to the United boss having aspirations to challenge for the Premier League, especially with his side being third with a game in hand, and their next fixture is against the team above them Leicester. So if United can beat the Foxes then they can jump up to second at Christmas which would give the United higher-ups huge faith in Ole which could lead to a huge transfer budget in the Summer.

I could see the United boss rotating a lot of his side to make sure they’re fully fit, especially their star playmaker Bruno Fernandes, who could end Manchester United’s entire season early if he suffers a serious injury as most of the United offence is run through the Portuguese playmaker.

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Everton could still pick up a big win against a full-strength United side, but it will be a very difficult test and would more than likely lead to a midfield battle that I don’t think Everton would win due to the lack of Allan.

It’s a very hard game to predict, Manchester United are currently a mixed bag, it’s hard to tell which team you’re going to get, especially with their tendency to allow goals in, conceding two to Sheffield United, Leeds and Southampton after their win against us, and each of those teams aren’t nearly as defensively solid as Everton have been over the past three games, but it’s all about if Everton can score, and with the news, that’s just been announced as I write this, that James Rodriguez will miss another game, it’s hard to predict exactly what will happen in this game.

One thing that is for certain, is if Everton can beat Chelsea, Leicester, Arsenal and Manchester United in back-to-back fixtures, there’s no reason that Everton can’t challenge for Europe this season. Ancelotti is getting the best out of every little piece, and with some strengthening in January, Everton fans may have some high expectations going into the end of the season.

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If I had to give my prediction on the game, I see the Toffees going against a rotated Manchester United side, and with Everton’s defensive solidarity and United’s defensive weakness, I think the Toffees can take the win in this game and advance to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup. An exact score prediction is hard to predict, but I think Everton take a 2-1 victory, with the game being at Goodison Park and Everton’s massive improvements having a huge impact on the game.