Jagielka back to top form for the Toffees.
This day seems to have took an eternity to come around, but it's finally here. I don't think I've been this nervous since the derby. You do wonder though what the feeling is like on Merseyside and if they're as nervous and excited as we are.
Well wonder no longer, curiosity got the better of us and we spoke our friends at top Everton blog, Royal Blue Mersey, and found out how their feeling, in the feature we like to call 'Fan Focus'.
So without further ado, let's get some Mersey Views...The infection of ‘cup fever' is still very high in the North East, how about on Merseyside?
RBM: Everyone is pretty excited for the replay, but there is a sense of missed opportunity. Most Everton fans felt we should have won the first match given our performance, so there is a sense of uneasiness about the upcoming match
Going back to the previous game, was there a sense post-match that Everton's chance to win the tie had gone, given you had the better of the second half?
RBM: There is no doubt most Evertonian's felt we should win. That said no one can be super surprised that we drew given that Everton has always struggled to hit the back of the net on a consistent basis. It was certainly a missed opportunity, and our work will be cut out for us if we cant to win the replay.
A semi-final is incentive enough to go through, but does the fact it's against Liverpool spur Everton on any, or would you rather avoid them?
RBM: I'd have preferred to avoid them. We have beaten Chelsea as well as Spurs and Bolton this year, but our Liverpool games were not great. The potential derby rematch probably helps spur us on for the replay, but only because we were embarrassed a few weeks ago. That said, looking past Sunderland is the surest way to lose, so if they just concentrate on the task at hand I will be ok with that.
How was your win against Swansea this weekend? Were any players rested this time around, and does the result set you up nicely for this game?
RBM: We became the third team to beat Swansea at home, and although it was a tale of two halves we were certainly the better club. Moyes only made a few changes from the squad that faced Sunderland, but Phil Jagielka looked every bit the England international, and Pienaar was our Man of the match. The result is definitely a boost to confidence, especially after being robbed of potential points against Arsenal, but the club still needs to show up for this replay, and it is anyone's guess if they will.
If Everton are going to beat us, how do you think they're going to do it?
RBM: I think an Everton victory will come from a strong central midfield showing. Darron Gibson returned against Swansea and had a good game, and he has worked well with Fellaini in the central midfield. The two of them controlling the flow of the match will be key. After that, Jelavic will also be key. The former Rangers man has done well in his appearances so far, and I think he will be our goalscorer.
RBM: It certainly provides more of a dimension to Sunderland's attack, but my concerns have been focused on Everton's problems. We very rarely play a complete game, and the key for us is to minimize any poor periods of play we have. Our victories tend to come when we have 25-30 minutes of bad play or less in a match. Any more than that and all bets are off for what can happen.
Can you give us a prediction for how the game goes, plus score...
RBM: Despite Saturday's result as well as the first match between these two teams, I don't think Everton gets it done. This will be Everton's 7th match in the month of March, and a combination of exhaustion and poor play will give Sunderland a 2-1 victory.