Everton v Rotherham: Both Teams to Score – 11/10
The Merseyside Blues, emerging from the considerable shadow of Big Sam, look a different team under Marco Silva… largely because they are.
With a summer splurge in the transfer market, the Goodison Park side enjoyed a makeover and their fans are enjoying the benefits, with Brazilian Richarlison lighting up their games with goals and some head-banging antics.
But they’ve not had it all their own way, and are conceding goals at almost the same rate they’ve been scoring them. Their defensive cause tonight won’t be helped by injuries to Michael Keane, Yerry Mina, Andre Gomes, and Morgan Schneiderlin. Phil Jagielka is suspended as well.
Rotherham, meanwhile, have scored in five of their six games this season, including a 1-0 win at the weekend over a fancied Millwall side. They’ve also conceded frequently in that run.
With Everton understrength, the Millers will fancy their chances of getting on the scoreboard, though the home side should have enough to nab a goal or two as well.
Notts Forest v Newcastle: Daryl Murphy Anytime – 15/8
The Magpies head to the County Ground with their squad squabbling over tactics on the training ground after a summer of typical transfer tightness on the part of their Scrooge-like owner.
Tactical disputes aside, Jamaal Lascelles is their crucial defensive presence. Manager Rafa Benitez has tried to smooth over the controversy, but the centre back won’t be playing tonight, and his manager has suggested he’ll rotate heavily in any case for this game.
Forest are unbeaten this season, though four draws in five league games shows they aren’t making the most of their chances.
Daryl Murphy started their previous round meeting with Bury, so we’d expect him to appear again tonight. Against a make-shift Geordie backline, we think the big man, who has two goals in his two league appearance, will batter his way to a goal, and 15/8 looks a good price on it.
Reading v Watford: Draw – 11/4
It’s been a tough start to the season for the Royals. Losses to promotion hopefuls Forest and Derby in their opening games put the pressure on Paul Clement’s men, with a 2-0 League Cup victory over Birmingham providing some relief.
Since then they’ve managed to dig out two creditable draws against Blackburn and Villa, both away from home, so they’re at least moving in the right direction after a slow start.
Watford have won their three games so far – Burnley, Brighton and Palace accounted for – but how much Javi Gracia wants to invest in a Carabao Cup run is unclear. The Hornets’ recent record of three successive second round exits to lower level opponents suggests the competition has not been a priority in years past.
A draw at 11/4 looks a reasonable shot given the likely resting of players and Reading’s improving form.
*All odds correct at time of posting