Everton will look to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Leicester when they head to the south coast to take on Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup third round.
The Toffees were terrible against the Foxes on Saturday and were deservedly beaten 2-0 in what was arguably their worst performance of the season.
Frank Lampard was tactically outsmarted by Brendan Rodgers, with Everton unable to break free from Leicester’s aggressive press. In contrast the visitors seemed to break into space with ease, particularly the impressive James Maddison and Youri Tielemans.
It felt like some of the bad habits from last season had crept back into their game, with the side’s lack of creativity brutally exposed. To cap things off three players suffered injuries – most notably Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was forced off with a hamstring problem.
The result piles the pressure on the side going into their final Premier League game before the World Cup break against Bournemouth on Saturday.
For now, though, they take on the same opposition the cup and will look to regain some confidence that was knocked out of the side at the weekend. It will also present an opportunity for some squad players and those who are returning from injury.
Staying clear of relegation trouble is the absolute priority but a decent cup run would not go amiss either, especially in a competition where Everton have historically under-performed.
Bournemouth are another side seeking some cheer before the World Cup break.
A month ago the Cherries were ninth in the Premier League and unbeaten in six games under interim boss Gary O’Neil, who replaced Scott parker in August following that hammering by Liverpool at Anfield.
But since then they have lost four straight matches, including conceding a 3-1 lead at Leeds on Saturday to lose 4-3, to sink to 17th in the table.
That makes Saturday’s game a huge encounter for both sides, though the confidence boost of a win on Tuesday cannot be underestimated.
This will only be the 15th meeting between the two sides and only the fifth in cup competition – the last being a 2-0 FA Cup victory for the Toffees under Roberto Martinez in 2016.
Everton have only lost four of those matches, but two of those have come in the last two meetings.
The Leicester defeat felt like such a backward step that this game has now taken on greater importance.
A victory, even in a game between much-changed sides, would be a timely boost and tee up Saturday’s second meeting perfectly.
Our prediction here: Double Chance: X or 2 (Draw or Everton Win) @ 1.42