MX23RW : Monday, March 30 12:17:49| >> :120:10134:10134:
Oct 29, 2019 at 7.45pm UK at Goodison Park
Attendance: 34,979
Holgate (72'), Richarlison (93')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Everton vs. Watford - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday night's EFL Cup last-16 clash between Everton and Watford, including predictions, team news and possible starting lineups.

Marco Silva welcomes his former club to Goodison Park for the second time already this season when Everton host Watford in the last 16 of the EFL Cup.

Both sides are in desperate need of a morale-boosting victory following poor starts to their respective Premier League campaigns, while Silva could also do with a win to ease the pressure on his shoulders.

Match preview

Everton manager Marco Silva on October 19, 2019© Reuters

The lengths Everton went to to poach Silva from Watford in 2017 left a bitter taste in the mouth between these two clubs, and Toffees fans may be beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about.

The Portuguese has certainly had his moments since eventually taking over at Goodison in May 2018, but despite a significant financial outlay they have made a thoroughly underwhelming start to the new campaign and sit just two places and two points above the relegation zone now.

Five defeats in their last six league outings has seen to that, and the latest of those was perhaps the hardest to take as a 94th-minute own goal saw Everton lose a match against Brighton & Hove Albion which they had led 2-1 with 10 minutes of normal time to go.

Silva, like a growing number of managers, was left bemoaning VAR after the defeat as the pressure was once again piled back on his shoulders following the brief respite of victory over West Ham United seven days prior.

There has been more joy in the EFL Cup so far this term, although Watford are the first Premier League opposition Everton have faced in this season's competition, having previously dispatched of Lincoln City and Sheffield Wednesday in the last two rounds.

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores spots the camera on October 5, 2019© Reuters

Whether Watford will remain a Premier League team next season remains to be seen, though, with the Hornets still propping up the table having failed to win any of their opening 10 games.

Only nine teams in Premier League history have ever made a worse start than their tally of five points from a possible 30, although three of those points have come in their last three games so there are signs of improvement.

Indeed, those of an optimistic viewpoint will point out that Watford are unbeaten so far this month, sharing the spoils with Sheffield United, Tottenham Hotspur and most recently Bournemouth, against whom they played out a goalless draw on Saturday.

Everton have also lost more games than Watford this season despite having double their points tally, although one of the Hornets' five defeats did come at Goodison in August when Bernard scored the only goal of the game.

As far as the EFL Cup is concerned, Watford have beaten Coventry City and Swansea City so far this season, although in order to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2008 they will need to win what is their first away game and their first meeting with Premier League opposition in this term's competition.

Everton EFL Cup form: WW
Everton form (all competitions): LWLLWL

Watford EFL Cup form: WW
Watford form (all competitions): LWLDDD

Team News

Everton's Bernard celebrates scoring their first goal on August 17, 2019© Reuters

Everton will be without the match-winner in this fixture from August for the foreseeable future after Bernard was ruled out with knee ligament damage.

The diminutive attacker joins Jean-Philippe Gbamin as a long-term absentee, while Tuesday's match is also expected to come too soon for Yerry Mina to return from his knee problem.

Cenk Tosun could be ready to lead the line following a minor groin injury, although Silva could instead opt for Moise Kean, who has failed to nail down a starting spot since his move from Juventus.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice in the last round and again off the bench at the weekend, but he could be rested with one eye on next weekend's league game against Spurs.

Silva must decide the extent to which he wants to rotate, although there should be fresh first-team options after the likes of Seamus Coleman, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fabian Delph were benched on Saturday.

Watford are still without skipper Troy Deeney due to a knee injury, while Isaac Success, Ismaila Sarr and former Everton man Tom Cleverley are expected to miss the match too.

Danny Welbeck is set for another spell on the sidelines having gone down inside the opening minute of the match against Spurs earlier this month, but there could be better news on the injury front elsewhere.

Etienne Capoue and Kiko Femenia are both pushing to be fit for the match, while Jose Holebas is available again after sitting out the Bournemouth draw due to suspension.

Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Digne; Davies, Delph; Walcott, Iwobi, Sigurdsson; Kean

Watford possible starting lineup:
Gomes; Janmaat, Prodl, Dawson, Kabasele, Holebas; Chalobah, Capoue, Doucoure; Gray, Deulofeu

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We say: Everton 2-1 Watford

This is a very difficult game to call, with two out-of-form teams likely to make a few changes but knowing that any victory in their current states could be the catalyst they need. It could go either way, but we are backing the hosts to squeeze through to the quarter-finals.


Who will progress from Tuesday's EFL Cup clash - Everton or Watford?

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Watford's Danny Welbeck celebrates scoring their first goal against Swansea City on September 24, 2019
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