Tottenham will go head to head with Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday, with a place the FA Cup quarter-finals up for grabs.

The stage is all set for the 2020/21 FA Cup campaign on Wednesday as Tottenham Hotspur will lock horns with Everton in the fifth round at Goodison Park, where both teams could lighten up the event with their subtle theatrics.

Carlo Ancelotti will be raring to outsmart Spurs on such an occasion, which could allow the Merseyside team to establish their potency. In spite of their roller-coaster run in the Premier League, Everton consider this competition as an inflammatory opportunity to showcase their strength.

After their victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round, the Toffees have been going through an inconsistent patch in their league campaign. Ancelotti’s men denied Manchester United in their last league fixture, which ended in an intriguing 3-3 draw. The Everton manager will back his charges on such an occasion, aware of Spurs’ inconsistent procession.

On the other hand, Tottenham need to be more precise in their approach to get a hold of the hosts, as this tie could play a pivotal part in their hunt for silverware. The Londoners had galvanized Wycombe Wanderers by a 4-1 scoreline in the fourth round, and they would fancy another such performance this time.

However, Spurs were not able to build the momentum after such a triumph in their league campaign, as they faced three consecutive defeats. But, the recent outcome in the Premier League, where they comfortably surpassed West Bromwich Albion by a 2-0 margin, could be decisive in their upcoming proceedings.

Everton and Tottenham have already faced each other once in this season, with Spurs being beaten by the Toffees 1-0 in a close encounter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September. Ahead of the latest meeting between both sides, The Hard Tackle takes a brief look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Everton

Carlo Ancelotti has few concerns due to a mini injury crisis, and the Everton manager is heading to this knockout tie with two unavailable figures. English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is all set to miss out due to a rib injury, and along with him, 28-year-old central defensive midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin remains unavailable.

Robin Olsen should be the starter between the sticks in Pickford’s absence, while Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey could form the centre-back pair in front of him. Everton’s defensive unit have to be sturdy enough to deny Tottenham’s counter-attack with conviction.

At the right-back position, 24-year-old Englishman Mason Holgate will yet again relish his role, as his agility on the flank could be fatal. On the other side, Lucas Digne will be venturing through his usual territory, where his blistering runs could cause damage to the opposition.

Abdoulaye Doucoure could featur as a defensive midfielder, seeing as his strength to hold the grip in the centre of the midfield has recently flourished. Andre Gomes is expected to be partner Doucoure to narrate the double pivot structure.

James Rodriguez is considered as a doubt for this fixture. But his availability will drive the attack forward on those crucial spaces from the right wing, as his creativity in the attacking region could rattle the visitors’ backline. Nigerian international Alex Iwobi will take the responsibility from the left wing, and his movements around the critical layers should not be unnoticed.

Pulling the strings on those crucial moments as the No. 10 should be the task for Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin will lead the line for Everton, with the forward seemingly in exterminating mood throughout this campaign.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Olsen; Holgate, Keane, Godfrey, Digne; Doucoure, Gomes; James Rodriguez, Sigurdsson, Iwobi; Calvert-Lewin

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Tottenham Hotspur

Jose Mourinho could breathe a sigh of relief due to the return of Harry Kane, whose strike was one of those reasons behind their league victory over West Bromwich Albion. Sergio Reguilon, though, still needs a few weeks to recover from his muscle injury, while Giovani Lo Celso Dele Alli will be unavailable as well, as both midfielders are still doubtful faces for upcoming projects.

Mourinho will set his team in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Hugo Lloris standing as the last man of the defence. 31-year-old Toby Alderweireld will command the defensive unit alongside Davidson Sanchez, and both players need to be at their full strength to keep the opposition’s threat at bay.

Matt Doherty will be looking forward to strengthening the backline from the right side, and on the other flank, Ben Davies should be the face to uplift the intensity from his wing. Harry Winks will be handed the role of the holding midfielder, and to set the tone in that territory, Moussa Sissoko needs to be more precise on his task.

In the attacking half, Gareth Bale will get another chance to display his credibility from the right wing. Son Heung-min has been one of the essential pieces of Mourinho’s scheme this season and the South Korean should wreak havoc as the left-winger. Erik Lamela will cherish the No. 10 role, while Steven Bergwijn will be the face to slaughter the ball back into the net, and the Dutchman needs to make the most from this opportunity.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Doherty, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Winks, Sissoko; Bale, Lamela, Son; Bergwijn

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Key Stats

  • Everton have won just two of their last five matches (D2 L1). As for Tottenham Hotspur, they have snatched two wins out of five as well (L3).
  • In their previous 21 encounters, Tottenham Hotspur have emerged as the victorious side in the most occasions. Spurs have outclassed the Toffees 9 times, while Everton have only secured 4 wins (D8).
  • James Rodriguez is the top assist provider in the FA Cup this season (3).
  • Dominic Calvert-Lewin could hammer the chances for Tottenham yet again, as his only goal was the sole reason behind Everton’s victory over Jose Mourinho’s men back in September.
  • Tottenham are the side who have created more big chances than any other teams in the FA Cup this season (10).

Player to Watch

Gareth Bale

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The Welsh international has thoroughly been criticised by the pundits due to his lack of intent, and as of now, it all depends on him whether he will make the most of upcoming opportunities or step away from the responsibility. The 31-year-old, with his rich reputation, was expected to be the final piece of the puzzle in Jose Mourinho’s principles, which could change Tottenham’s fortunes.

But, his recent unanticipated form has not been convincing enough for his manager, as Bale still is not able to impress Mourinho. However, if Bale is in his full tune at Goodison Park, he has full potential to rattle the cages of oppositions’ defensive unit. If not, his ignominy will worsen and a return to Real Madrid will be a given.

Prediction

Everton 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Carlo Ancelotti’s men have been maintaining their rhythm this season with unhindered determination, but the Italian manager is all aware of the fact that Wednesday’s test could be a big task to pull off. Tottenham, on the other hand, will be keen to throttle the Toffees with their staggering counter-attacking approach, and their decisiveness has to be sharp.

Both Son Heung-min and Gareth Bale could be the main architects in this mega clash for the visitors, and their thumping trademark runs will be fatal in this tie. The Hard Tackle predicts a narrow 2-1 victory for Jose Mourinho & co.

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