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Preview: Everton vs. Rotherham United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's FA Cup clash between Everton and Rotherham United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping that Everton's FA Cup third-round game against Rotherham United this weekend is the start of a journey to the club's first piece of silverware since 1995.

The Italian has told media in his homeland that the competition is a "prestigious trophy" and that "we want to honour it in the best way possible".


Match preview

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti pictured on November22, 2020© Reuters

Ancelotti, who won the FA Cup as Chelsea manager in 2010, sees the trophy as one of the most achievable ways of securing European football for Everton for the first time since 2017.

The Toffees have won the cup on five previous occasions but have not made it past round four since their semi-final appearance five years ago. Last season, they were beaten 1-0 in the third round by local rivals Liverpool.

This is now a different-looking Everton side who have been transformed by Ancelotti since his arrival in December 2019; he has refined the club's existing talents such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Michael Keane, while adding quality in the shape of Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

They currently sit seventh in the Premier League table – level on points with Tottenham Hotspur in fourth – with a 1-0 defeat to West Ham United on New Year's Day bringing an end to a four-game winning run.

Only Liverpool and Chelsea have scored more home goals than Everton in the top-flight this season, and their loss to the Hammers was only the second time they had drawn a blank at Goodison Park in the league.

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne pictured on September 12, 2020© Reuters

It will be an uphill battle then for Rotherham, who are winless in their previous 10 away games – last claiming victory on the road on the opening day against Wycombe Wanderers.

The Millers have lost seven of their last nine games in the Championship, which has meant they have fallen into the relegation zone and three points adrift of safety; they do, however, have games in hand over the sides around them due to recent fixture postponements.

Manager Paul Warne had admitted that he is keen to "chew Carlo Ancelotti's ear off" after describing the Italian's book 'Quiet Leadership' as "the best book in sport".

Rotherham have very little FA Cup pedigree aside from a win over top-flight Southampton in 2002 and have never made it past the fifth round in their history. Last season, they avoided being on the wrong end of an upset in round two when they came from 3-0 down to win 4-3 against National League side Solihull Moors – scoring all of their goals in the final 15 minutes.

Saturday's game will be only the second meeting this century between Everton and Rotherham and only the 12th in total. Each of their last five encounters have come in the League Cup, most recently when the Toffees won 3-1 in 2018.

Everton form (FA Cup): LLLWLL
Everton form (all competitions): WWWLWL

Rotherham form (FA Cup): LLLWWL
Rotherham United form (all competitions): LLLWLL


Team News

Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrates scoring for Everton against Sheffield United in the Premier League on December 26, 2020© Reuters

Ancelotti may look to rotate his team for this game, so could hand starts to players such as Robin Olsen, Jonjoe Kenny, Niels Nkounkou and Cenk Tosun.

James returned from injury as a substitute against West Ham but is likely to be rested, while Allan, Lucas Digne and Alex Iwobi remain sidelined.

Michael Smith's goal as a substitute in Rotherham's last game against Barnsley might encourage Warne to start the 29-year-old at Goodison Park.

Warne is hopeful of welcoming back injured quartet Chiedozie Ogbene, Kieran Sadlier, Clark Robertson and Shaun MacDonald later this month, but Saturday's game comes too soon for them.

Everton possible starting lineup:
Olsen; Kenny, Mina, Keane, Nkounkou; Davies, Doucoure; Gordon, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Tosun

Rotherham United possible starting lineup:
Johansson; Olosunde, Harding, Wood, Ihiekwe, Wiles; Crooks, Lindsay, Barlaser; Smith, Ladapo


SM words green background

We say: Everton 3-0 Rotherham United

Even if Everton do name a much-changed side, they are still likely to find this game fairly straightforward and the chance of an upset seems low. Rotherham are struggling for form and will see the cup only as a distraction from their relegation battle in the Championship.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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Lucas Digne in action during the Premier League game between Everton and Leicester City on January 1, 2019
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Friday's key events


HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women aim to secure their place on the podium as they face India in the bronze medal match (2.30am)
· Netherlands - silver medallists five years ago - and Argentina battle for the gold medal in the women's final (11am)

BEACH VOLLEYBALL
· The women's gold medal will be decided as Australia and USA go head to head (3.30am)

BOXING
· Lauren Price will be looking to add to Team GB's success in the ring when she takes on Nouchka Fontijn of Netherlands in the women's middleweight semi-final (6am)

DIVING
· Tom Daley already has one Olympic gold to his name in Tokyo, and he begins his bid for second in the men's 10m platform. Teammate Noah Williams is also involved in the preliminary round (7am)

CYCLING
· Jason Kenny's reign as sprint king may be over, but Jack Carlin looked strong in his bid to succeed his compatriot. He takes on Harrie Lavreysen in his sprint semi-final (8.10am), with the final taking place later in the day (10.35am)
· The women's madison makes its Olympic debut at the velodrome as Team GB duo Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny look to add another medal to their collections (9.15am)

FOOTBALL
· Hosts Japan will look to get themselves on the podium as they face Mexico in the men's bronze medal match (10am)
· The women's champions will be crowned as both Sweden and Canada aim to win Olympic gold for the very first time (1pm)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 5000m final includes Great Britain's Andrew Butchart, but most eyes will be on Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (1pm)
· Team GB's Jodie Williams will hope to get on the podium in the women's 400m final, but defending champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo is favourite for gold while Stephenie Ann McPherson should challenge and Allyson Felix is bidding to become the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time (1.35pm)
· Netherlands' Sifan Hassan takes on leg two of her ambitious attempt at a Tokyo treble in a women's 1500m final which also includes Great Britain's Laura Muir and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (1.50pm)
· A star-studded women's 4x100m relay final will see a Team GB quartet including Dina Asher-Smith look to upset defending champions USA and favourites Jamaica, who boast Elaine Thompson-Herah as she goes for her third gold of the Games (2.30pm)
· Great Britain and Jamaica will also be going for gold in the men's 4x100m relay final, and their medal hopes have been boosted by USA's failure to qualify (2.50pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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