Unfortunately for Everton fans, this match and its build-up will be all about Everton vs Boreham Wood. The Hertfordshire side currently ply their trade in the National League, sitting fourth in the table but having a few games in hand on the teams above them, looking to reach the Football League for the first time in their history. But their promotion push will take a backseat on Thursday as they travel to Goodison Park with the FA Cup quarter-final in their sights.
The lowest-ranked side left in the competition, and the only team outside the Premier League and Championship, Boreham Wood entered the 2021/22 FA Cup in the fourth qualifying round, having to beat Barnet to even reach the ‘First Round Proper’ – when the Football League clubs start to join. It hasn’t been a easy ride for Boreham Wood either, beating fellow National League side Eastleigh and rivals St Albans City to reach the third round. Two Football League clubs have since fallen to Boreham Wood, with AFC Wimbledon of League One and the Championship’s Bournemouth unable to stop the drive.
But now they face their biggest test, against an Everton side looking to find some form under Frank Lampard – a manager that has lost just two of his 13 FA Cup games as a coach, across spells with Derby County, Chelsea and now the Toffees. In his only full season at Chelsea, Lampard took the Blues all the way to the final, where they did lose to Arsenal, and he was unbeaten in the first two rounds of the following campaign before his sacking. The FA Cup actually brought Lampard’s first game in charge of Everton after replacing Rafa Benitez and it was a solid start as the Toffees beat fellow Premier League side Brentford 4-1 at Goodison Park.
That positive start has quickly been forgotten, however, with the seriousness of a relegation battle taking over. Everton have lost three of their past four matches, following on from the FA Cup win, only beating Leeds in another commanding 3-0 victory. But the defeats haven’t been great for various reasons. In Lampard’s second game in charge of Everton, they were beaten 3-1 by Newcastle and then lost 2-0 to Southampton, both away from home. And at the weekend came perhaps the worst defeat, not by result, but due to the feeling. Everton were excellent against Manchester City but lost 1-0 to Phil Foden’s goal, which came after they had a penalty wrongly not given for handball by Rodri, with PGMOL apologising for the non-decision.
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Everton vs Boreham Wood: Match Stats
Everton are yet to find a goalscorer under Lampard, with their eight goals so far being spread among seven different players (plus one own goal). But the man most likely to becoming the main scoring threat is Richarlison, who was on target in Everton’s 4-1 win over Brentford in the last round, his fifth goal of the season across all competitions – only two behind Andros Townsend, the Toffees’ top scorer.
However, you can expect Everton to struggle. The Toffees have averaged just 11.75 shots per game in the Premier League under Lampard, only really thriving when facing open defences like Leeds and Brentford (in the FA Cup). Against teams that have a packed defence, as you’d expected Boreham Wood to have, Everton will be made to work for their chances.