Premier League titles contenders Manchester City have started their campaign with two very commanding wins. The Citizens look to be in good form and have rediscovered their top form.
However on Sunday afternoon City visits Everton’s Goodison Park, a ground where they have a poor record in the Premier League.
City have garnered just three victories in their last 18 visits to Everton’s grand old stadium, as Goodison has become one of City’s bogey grounds. Evertonians tend to raise their teams when the expensively assembled teams roll into town.
The fans tend to make it uncomfortable for opposite teams and the players respond in a similar manner. It is never an easy ground for teams to visit.
Everton started the campaign in an uncertain fashion by drawing 2-2 with newly-promoted Watford at Goodison Park. However, last time out the Toffees looked like a different team, as Roberto Martinez’s team hammered Southampton 3-0 at St Marys.
The two stars of the show were England starlet Ross Barkley and club-record signing Romelu Lukaku, who grabbed a brace and looked unstoppable. The City defence will certainly have to be solid if they are going to stop Everton from getting on the scoresheet.
Lukaku looked unplayable against the Saints. The performance was a perfect illustration of why Everton paid a club-record fee of £28million for the big striker. On his day he will trouble any defence.
Barkley looks to have rediscovered his form this season. The highly-rated youngster now has two goals in two games and his all round play has also improved from last season. Barkley looks more capable of running at defences and creating chances for his teammates.
Both players have such potential and on their combination may be the key to Everton being successful this season, as both have such quality.
Manchester City have started the campaign looking more solid at the back with Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala at the heart of their defence. Mangala struggled last season, but his opening two displays of the season have been far more encouraging.
However, Mangala may not be in the starting line-up for much longer though, as City have recently spent big on Argentinian international Nicolas Otamendi, who arrives with a big reputation from Spanish club Valencia.
It remains to be seen if Otamendi will be thrown right into the starting line-up, but if he is then it may just unsettle the City backline, which Lukaku, Arouna Kone and Barkley could capitalise on.
City have showed far more energy in their performances this season so far. The introduction to the team of England winger Raheem Sterling has added youthful enthusiasm and sheer pace to the City team.
Sterling has formed a promising partnership so far this season with Aleksandar Kolarov on City’s left and that combination could be key against the Toffees, especially as striker Arouna Kone played as a right-winger against Southampton last time out. The Ivorian may be exposed defensively by the pair.
The home side are being written-off by many, as Manchester City are favourites for victory in this one at odds of 8/11. The form that the Citizens are in those odds is understandable, but the Toffees will be looking to collect consecutive Premier League wins in this tough clash.
The confidence seems to have returned to Everton’s talented group of players and there seems to be a confidence on Merseyside that the Toffees can gain something from this game, with Barkley and Lukaku threatening to live up to their hype this season.
This is the sort of game that teams have to win if they are to become champions. City have been there and done it before when it comes to winning the title. However, make no mistake Everton away from home could be a big test for City’s rejuvenated players.
If Manchester City can win this game and continue their good start to the campaign, then City’s confidence will grow even further.
Will Manchester City win at Everton on Sunday?