The third round of the Capital One Cup kick-up up a few surprises last night.
There were some shocks as the likes of Everton and Manchester City exited the cup.
However, judging by Everton boss David Moyes’ team selection against Leeds in the 2-1 defeat he wasn’t taking the competition very seriously.
The Toffees boss claimed that he wanted to win the game and the competition, yet made six changes from the team that dismantled Swansea at the weekend. The Scot gave a full debut to new signing Bryan Oviedo and a debut to 20 year-old Francisco Junior in midfield.
Oviedo looks like he could grow into the team, but some of his defending and crossing at times were atrocious. Junior is an apt name for the young Portuguese midfielder because he looked like a boy amongst men against the Leeds pair of Michael Brown and Rudolph Austin.
The youngster was removed and replaced by the experienced Phil Neville at half-time and French winger Magaye Gueye was replaced by Steven Pienaar. Everton looked a far better team for the changes in the second half.
David Moyes has now been at Everton more than a decade and still hasn’t won any silverware. This competition was probably the clubs most realistic chance of winning a trophy this season.
However, the selection of the likes of Gueye, Junior and Oviedo showed that he is more interested in maintaining his top players for the Premier League. I’m sure Everton first eleven would have put in a much stronger performance than the team that started against Leeds.
Everton are being talked about as realistic challengers for the Champions League spots this season. The Toffee’s have looked good in the Premier League so far, but this defeat proves that their squad still lacks strength in-depth.
A few injuries to the first eleven and Everton may not have such lofty ambitions. It’s just a shame that the Blues don’t have a deeper squad.
I should point out that Leeds played really well and deserve credit for their performance, especially as they had injury problems of their own. The likes of Tommy Lees, Aidan White, Jason Pearce and El Hadji Diouf were just superb last night.
The home side were first to every ball and just sharper throughout the game. They full deserved their victory, despite surviving a few Everton penalty shouts late-on. The Leeds supporters definitely got their money’s worth from their players on the rainy windswept night.
Pity you can’t say that about the 5,000 Everton fans that travelled to the game expecting to see the same Everton team that destroyed Swansea so convincingly at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
Unfortunately, they got a much flatter group of players that looked like they wasn’t even capable of beating a non-league side, never mind a very capable Championship team.
David Moyes was angry with his team’s performance afterwards and rightly so. Some Everton fans were angry with the Toffee’s boss team selection though, and not so much the players.
You can be sure that the Everton team that lines up against Southampton on Saturday in the Premier League will be a far different one than the one that started this encounter. This clash proved that some of Everton’s back-up players are just not up to the job.
The defeat at Elland Road signals that Everton will have to wait another year to have a crack at winning the league cup. It may not be David Moyes’ priority, but it is silverware nonetheless.
Everton will now have to concentrate on their league campaign, until the FA Cup starts in January. I just hope for Evertonian’s sakes that David Moyes has learnt something from this defeat and takes these lessons into the rest of the season.
Should Everton have selected a stronger side in the Capital One Cup?