So, a thrill for us all, games to be played on the weekend of the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th of March. Good day.
Manchester City v Wigan Athletic
Sheffield United or Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Wednesday or Charlton Athletic
Potential oooh etc.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Sunderland
Arsenal or Liverpool will play Everton. Oooh etc.
This father-and-son draw thing is really revitalising the FA Cup. This time, it’s Robert Lee - the Robert Lee - and his son, Ollie Lee - the Ollie Lee, all dressed in his best ftbllrs syoot.
Mark Pougatch. Just what the FA Cup needs, as he was just what TMS needed. He’s live at Wembley, heckling through the quarter-final draw.
Adrian Chiles; the state of.
In the meantime, Everton will need to do better than they if they’re to beat the better teams. They allow a lot of space in midfield, and are probably a class player short in that area - Barkley might need to play a little deeper to resolve things.
Swansea competed gamely enough, and should have more than enough to stay up, but even when they were level, never especially intimated a further goal.
Anyway, stay with us for the draw for the 90 minutes away from Wembley quarter-finals.
FULL-TIME: Everton 3-1 Swansea City
“Everton are 90 minutes away from Wembley”.
Guardian Strength Appeal: please donate generously.
90+3 min Nothing.
90+1 min Coleman slides a backpass for Robles, who slices his attempted clearance - but it makes no difference, as he quickly clears up.
90+1 min Clarke Carlisle’s man of the match is Seamus Coleman, which is fair enough. What a signing he was - and what a good job Roberto Martinez has done with him.
90 min There shall be a minimum of four additional minutes - and they’re LIVE!
88 min Naismith departs, but Everton have no remaining changes.
88 min Mirallas departs and Deulofeu arrives.
86 min McCarthy nudges the ball away from Lita, who pretends that he’d already decided to slide in and slides in as fast as he can, not catching McCarthy as hard as he might, but catching him nonetheless. He’s booked, which encourages Canas to mosey on over for a quiet one as McCarthy sits in recuperation, and Pienaar is over quickly to initiate a brief broiges. Canas is booked.
85 min Everyone wants to go home.
83 min Naismith, rubbing his jaw and ear area, shlurries to the touchline.
81 min Swansea muster a few consecutive passes, taking the ball from wide left to wide right, before Everton take the ball back and move forward. Naismith then sashays by Amat, who shows him no love, rotating to thrust a sharp shoulder hard into his coupon. Amat is booked.
79 min The ball for this game is a kind of fluorescent cerise colour. I’ll bet it has no interest in crowding around its transistor at lunchtime on Monday.
78 min Barry swings a lovely ball out to Mirallas, who pogoes to trap on his right instep, before messing up his cross.
77 min Everton are mainly marking time.
74 min “It’s a very traditional Welsh thing to be known by your second or third name,” reports M Hudson Dony. “Growing up in Pembrokeshire, many of my friends’ fathers and grandfathers were known by names other than their first name. Good to see Jazz pulling that tradition into modern times. Not so good to see him giving away penalties. But, y’know, swings and roundabouts.
If Jazz’s parents were seriously concerned about modern times, he’s be Roadmusic Richards.
GOAL! Everton 3-1 Swansea City (Baines, 72)
Tremmel dives right, Baines sweeps low to his left, and the white baseball hat is summarily discarded.
PENALTY! TO EVERTON!
Baines finds Naismith, just inside the box, left-hand side, and “Jazz Richards” has nothing better to do than slide in and bring him down.
70 min “You see how important that killer ball is to Everton?” asks Gary Naylor. Price paid by Swansea for Neil Taylor? £0.
69 min Lita comes on for Lamah.
67 min What a run of form Seamus Coleman is on/what a player Seamus Coleman is*. He motors down the right making metaphorical long bacon and Lamah and tucks back again, Mirallas smashing a relatively easy finish all black years away.
*delete if or as applicable.
GOAL! Everton 2-1 Swansea City 0 (Naismith, 65)
Oh dear, dear, dear me. Davies, under pressure from Mirallas close to the right touchline, turns inside to nip Tremmel a backpass. Only he’s failed to inspect the locale, and succeeds only in finding Naismith, who tucks a finish under the keeper.
65 min Coleman charges on outside Mirallas, who finds him - and looking up, he clips back low and hard from the by-line. A slight deflection flicks the ball high and hard, to Pienaar at the back post, and he does well to chuck a brow at it - on target and it’s in, but it’s off target and just wide.
64 min There’s not been an awful lot of decent stuff in this half so far, which makes the removal of Traore a little strange - Everton could use another body up front.
62 min Little known fact: it is physically, humanly, linguistically possible to refer to “Jazz Richards” by just his surname, “Richards”.
61 min Naismith and Osman replace Traore and Barkley. Hmmm.
59 min Barkley takes the ball off Baines and sets off across the face yet again, chasing round the side and back before attempting a cross that’s way too high.
57 min Jazz Richards latest: according to your Wikipedia, his name is Ashley Darel Jazz Richards. So the conversation sort of took place.
“How about we make his middle name not only Daryl, but spelled wrong Daryl?”
“Brilliant! I love you!”
55 min Lamah fights his way across the face of the Everton box, left-to-right, and finds De Guzman, who slides a return - one that almost catches his stride. Swansea fancy this.
53 min Everton win their first corner of the afternoon, taken short by Mirallas to Baines, at the corner of the box - and they exchange passes once more. Baines then advances and appears to have opened the angle for a curler, but instead drops a short into Barkley, who can’t quite turn on it. Still, though, that was very nice, and a change from the tedious and useless crosses that are generally inflicted.
52 min Hernandez shimmies inside Coleman, who turns to ram buttocks in midriff - resourceful and innovative.
50 min Mirallas wanders in off the right, and with everyone expecting a pass back outside to Coleman, he finds Barkley, again barrelling across the face of the box. Again, he shoots with his left foot, but this time for the near post, Tremmel stooping to block with his hands.
49 min Telt, the sequel -here’s Lee Halliday: “‘That’ conversation you refer to didn’t happen...he was christened Ashley Richards, not Jazz. The latter is a nickname (from where I know not why).”
You’re killing me here - terrible news. Ashley might be surprise common ftbllr’s name of the millenium.
47 min Telt - here’s Alex Howard: “Please don’t use the phrase ‘two minuses make a plus’. While it is true that two negatives multiplied together make a positive and two adjacent minus signs can be replaced by a plus sign, the phrase is misleading. A common resulting misconception is of the form ‘- 4 - 7 = 11’, a clear example of two minuses which should not make a plus. Kindly inform your readers of your mistake, apologise, and do your bit for the mathematical education of the footballing community.”
One finger plus one finger equals plus two fingers. I am very sorry.
47 min Tremmel is wearing a baseball hat - never a good look, but even so. This one is white.
46 min Swansea beginagain. Wayne Routledge, who did a lot of nothing in the first half, has been replaced by Nathan Dyer.
Sweardown! Just heard someone use the words “Bill” and “Kenwright” without the words “theatre” and “impressario”.
“True re what Liverpool paid for Coutinho - but they wouldn’t pay that now” rejoinders Gary Naylor. And that’s true - but it is possible to get proper, decisive players for less than obscene money. And less than decisive players for obscene money. The boy Maroune, for example.
Half-time adverts. Here are are a collection from 1995, when Leighton Baines was just another Supernaturals obsessive.
That was a pleasant half of association football. Most of the pressing was done by Everton, Barry and Barkley moving well in midfield, and Coleman and Mirallas incisive down the right. But Swansea are attacking with numbers, De Guzman in particular taking advantage of space in midfield. It’s actually worth continuing to engage.
HALF-TIME: Everton 1-1 Swansea City
45 min There shall be two additional minutes.
45 min Swansea’s away jersey.
43 min Coleman finds Barkley at inside-right, and he jinks goalwards, swaying and stuttering to intimate both shot and dribble, before drilling a low left-footer marginally wide of the near post.
41 min “What’s also noticeable about this Everton team”, begins Gary Naylor, “is the ability to make accurate passes consistently until the killer ball is required. That’s the difference between a £15M midfielder and a £30M midfielder. And between 6th and 4th.”
Hmmm - the crossing has been pretty good, I’d say - but McCarthy hasn’t been involved much. Not sure money is absolutely significant, though - Liverpool paid what, £8.5m for Coutinho?
40 min Mirallas’s ego wins, and he sidefoots a bender through a space on the end of the wall vacated by Traore. But “it’s a nice height for the keeper”, and Tremmel dart-dives to his left, shoving the ball away from the post.
39 min Richards bumps Mirallas to the ground unnecessarily, inside the D and slightly left of centre. He and Baines lurk behind the ball...
37 min Good little spell for Swansea, pushing on and enjoying a bit of possession around the Everton box. Hernandez does well to turn, just left of centre, and slides a pass for Vazquez ahead of him - but he’s offside.
36 min Everton do, though, cede ground in the middle of the “park”, and De Guzman seizes on a loose ball to send it wide. A low cross is duly arced over, but Lamah can’t make much of it, knocking wide.
35 min Given that two minuses make a plus, does Clarke Carlisle multiplied by Michael Owen make the most wondrous football commentary of all-time?
34 min What’s noticeable about this Everton team is the manner of their movement - as many men run towards the ball as away from it, which allows them to switch possession quickly.
33 min A quiet moment.
31 min Williams replaces Bartley.
30 min Oh dear. Bartley chucks himself into another challenge, this time with Traore, and diddles his hamstring. “That’s the difference between a two week lay off and a six week lay-off”, calculates Countdown’s Clarke Carlisle.
30 min Low crosses are so much more effective than humped high ones, if you’re reading, David.
28 min Attempted manslaughter suspect Ashley Williams is ready to replace Bartley, who is having no such thing.
26 min Barreth Garry wins possession, and cleverly locates Coleman, laifing down the right. Again, there follows a smart low cross, this time into the stride of Mirallas, whose finish uses the line of the ball, turned just past the far post.
25 min Two thudding tackles from Bartley on Barkley, whose names are slightly similar, ironically. The first involves a flinging of self at the ball, caught with the trailing leg, the second a meaty block. But he might have injured himself.
23 min A sharp ball into Pienaar allows him to flick a heel that sends it forward and outside him, directly into the stride of Baines, who, assuming possession, espies an angle for the return cut-back. Arriving, Pienaar somehow jabs a shot into the ground, and ball loops up to hit the post. Then, from the ensuing cross, Traore can’t find the purchase on his header, and Tremmel vaults to the horizontal, pushing away.
21 min “Ooooh, he’s dead cute - let’s call him Jazz.” That conversation actually happened.
19 min De Guzman’s goal minds me a little of this one, by Robbie Earle, for Jamaica against Croatia - it’s the manner of the arrival.
18 min A period of relative calm. The players are applicating themselves.
GOAL! Everton 1-1 Swansea City (De Guzman 15)
Attacking down the left, Swansea combine for three quick passes, allowing Taylor to swing over a cross - to no one - except that arriving between Jagielka and Baines is De Guzman, and he thumps a header directly past Robles.
15 min Pienaar is too relaxed in possession and cedes and left-win corner, humped into the middle by De Guzman, perfectly for Robles to come and collect.
13 min Lovely move from Everton, Mirallas, Barkley, Barry and Coleman exchanging passes, the first into the centre, followed by two first-timers that move the play forwards. Mirallas then tries to slide one back out wide, into Coleman’s path, but hanging back to
get into character keep onside, he can’t catch up.
11 min Mirallas, who is in some form, sidewinds in and out after pouncing on Taylor’s error, but as he cuts in and prepares to shoot, he overruns the ball fractionally, and Bartley jumps in to relieve him of its possession.
8 min Ross Barkley sweats confidence. He carries the ball right-to-left across the face of the Swansea back-four, and then swivels into the kind of shot that is usually sliced miles wide. Instead, his is lightly dragged, and skids only just by the far post.
6 min “Is nationality the only thing keeping Martinez from having a crack at the Man Utd job?” asks David Furse.
I’m not sure it’s that - being mates with the right people helps too. But he’s happy where he is, I’ll bet.
DEBUT GOAL! Everton 1-0 Swansea City (Traore, 4)
This is lovely in three aspects. Barkley is fouled on the left, 40 yards or so out, and he curls to the back post, where Distin attempts to head back for Traore. But the ball bounces back to him, and, not at all far from goal, occurs lovely aspect 1: he takes a touch, makes to shoot, and fools Canas. Then, lovely aspect two: a low, hard ball across goal for Traore - followed immediately by three: Traore backheels hard, rather like a bull scrapes its hooves preparing to charge. Richards, on the line, can’t prevent it from going in. Lovely.
2 min Swansea should score! Swnasea don’t score! But Hernandez shuffles into space, centrally and forty yards from goal, watching Jagielka step up at the same time as sliding Vasquez in. Robles charges out and is rounded to the left - but unwilling to use his left foot to clip the ball into an empty net, settles and checks, rolling back for Lamah. His shot is deflected such that rears up, allowing the keeper to snatch.
1 min We’re British, so: it’s sunny. Meanwhile, here’s Simon McMahon: “Afternoon Daniel. Your preamble comes close to providing us with a Guardian Goals Guarantee. So, 0-0 then?”
I’m passing telepathy as we speak.
1 min Everton are go.
Tom Finney, the Preston Plumber. As opposed to Wayne Rooney, the Croxteth cashhoarder.
The loan system, with Duncan Smith: “As an Everton fan I tire about hearing how we’ve benefitted from the loan system and that it’s somehow unfair. If the loan system didn’t exist then Barry would probably have departed for a low fee in the summer. I am not sure Lukaku would have been happy to play in Chelsea’s reserves for three seasons either. I think that the benefit to the loaner club is greater than the loanee as it allows them to stockpile potential talent, see how they turn out and either make money selling them on or have the finished article for less than it would have cost to buy once they’re polished. It maintains the hegemony of the wealthy, whilst being of some short term use to the poorer clubs who might have been able to afford the players otherwise.”
I’m not sure there’s a better way, but it’s a bit rum - the way that Darren Ferguson would get United players, say, or Lukaku sent to score against Chelsea’s rivals. And Chelsea, in particular, have an absurd number of players out on loan.
The sides are in the tunnel. For those watching in black and white, Everton are in blue, and Swanseas are in blue.
Email with Martin McCarthy: “What would be the greater achievement: Martinez taking Everton to Big Cup at the first time of asking or winning back to back FA Cups with different teams?”
To the extent that we need to choose, I’d go the latter - consecutive trophies, with sides unused to winning, would be exceptional.
“The way the boys have applicated themselves in training”, says Gary Monk. I’ll leave you to perform and enjoy the relevant word association.
Sonically beautiful things said by sportsmen: Roy Keane saying Arsenal and Barkley (Airsenal and Bairkley); Ross Barkley saying Lukaku (Luchachu); Michael Mikey Holding saying pace and bounce.
So, Robles locums for T-Ho in the Everton net, and Lacina Traore makes his debut. Swansea, meanwhile, are keen to stay up - they make eight changes from Wednesday night’s game against Stoke, so aren’t really that arsed about winning. Michu remains unready.
Ruffridin’ this afternoon’
Everton (Not English manager): Robles, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Mirallas, Barkley, Pienaar; Traore.
Subs: Howard, Stones, Hibbert, McGeady, Deulofeu, Naismith, Osman.
Swansea City (English manager): Tremmel, Richards, Bartley, Amat, Taylor (c); Hernandez, Canas, De Guzman, Routledge; Lamah, Vazquez.
Subs: Vorm, Williams, Tiendalli, Britton, Dyer, Bony, Lita.
Referee: Bronwyn from Neighbours’s second cousin.
Preamble. Unlike human beings, it’s relatively easy to improve footballers. Coach them better, deploy them better, buy better ones to run around near them. But changing entrenched mindsets is less theoretically straightforward - consider how easily and regularly some teams beat others despite their relative merits, or how it’s usually the same ones that fold.
So Roberto Martinez’s impact at Everton - admittedly with the help of a very shifty loan system - is a significant achievement. His team have beaten Chelsea and won at Old Trafford, played well to earn a draw at Arsenal, and generally impressed with their abandon and belief.
Which is all very nice, but now they need to sort things in more tangible fashion. You can’t dance around Wembley with a mindset, nor wear its lid on your head, and Everton haven’t won a trophy since 1995 - when Leighton Baines was just another Menswear obsessive.
Confronting them are Swansea City, now a lot less handsome but a lot more punnable. Will they be silenced by the trapping Monk? And all of that.
His team is a lot better than its performances this season. Wilfried Bony is strong and enterprising enough player to impose himself on games to the extent that they become about him, and Michu may well return this afternoon. If they can be arranged into a partnership, with Pablo Hernandez and Nathan Dyer around to serve it, goals, results and entertainment will follow.
This should be a good game. It will not improve us.