Everton’s 2-1 defeat at home to Championship side Leeds United wasn’t on the cards for the Premier League club, and served as the biggest ‘giant killer’ result of Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup third round clashes.
A string of Premier League teams progressed to the fourth round last night, including Chelsea, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Southampton and Wigan, whilst tonight’s fixtures could see a further six teams (three at the very least) venture further into the competition.
This means that there’s a good chance that at least half of the Premier League’s teams need to play at least one more game than Everton so far this season, and if Everton are to manage a top six finish they will more than likely be slogging it out with Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle for position.
Whilst Newcastle play Premier League runners-up Manchester United tonight, Liverpool and Tottenham have the talent to overcome West Brom and Carlisle respectively, and should be able to book another game into their heavily-congested calendars. With both playing in the Europa League and hoping to progress deep into the competition, they can expect two games a week for much of the season.
Everton have no European fixtures in their diary, and until they join the FA Cup in January’s third-round bouts, have no other games other than Premier League clashes.
A steady stream of strong results in the league would be highly beneficial for the Merseyside outfit, and with other teams that could finish in similar positions to Everton this season fulfilling ample European and domestic fixtures on top of regular league football, fatigue could play a strong part in Everton’s quest for a strong Premier League finish.
Thought of by many as a cup that plays second-best to the FA Cup, Everton’s dismissal from the Capital One Cup on Tuesday could actually be a victory in itself, and David Moyes’ men can now look forward to concentrating purely on Premier League success.