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Everton v Manchester City: Pellegrini expecting difficult Goodison challenge

Despite Manchester City’s flying start to the Premier League season, Manuel Pellegrini believes it will be tough for his side to take all three points at Everton on Sunday.

Pellegrini’s men have laid down an early marker as they seek to regain the Premier League title surrendered to Chelsea last season.

City beat West Brom 3-0 in their first game of the season and then overcame Chelsea by the same scoreline last Sunday.

Everton were held to a 2-2 draw by newly promoted Watford in their opening match but produced an impressive counter-attacking performance at Southampton to claim a 3-0 win last time out.

And, with similar tactics likely on Roberto Martinez’s mind, Pellegrini is under no illusions as to the task City will face on Merseyside.

“It will be a difficult challenge, they are a difficult team who play very good football,” Pellegrini said.

“They didn’t play well against Watford but scored two goals, and in their second game they played very well and scored three goals.

“We must be very concentrated and play with a lot of intensity to win there. They try to have good possession of the ball, I’m sure we will see a similar Everton as to previous seasons.”

New signing Nicolas Otamendi will not start but is available following his switch from Valencia, but fellow Argentine Pablo Zabaleta is out for up to a month due to a knee injury.

Fabian Delph and Gael Clichy have both returned to training for City, and Fernando is available for selection after shaking off a groin issue.

Everton have been boosted by Aiden McGeady’s recovery from a hamstring problem.

However, Steven Pienaar (hamstring), Darron Gibson (foot), Tony Hibbert (knee) and Leighton Baines (ankle) are all still out of action.

Martinez credited a fine team showing after overseeing success at Southampton, rather than Romelu Lukaku’s double, and feels a similarly well-rounded display will be needed against City.

“When you perform as a team, you are always going to see certain individuals with enormous talent shining,” Martinez said. “But the key is to perform well as a team.

“It is the same with Sunday – if we rely on one or two individuals, we are going to fall short. Against City it will be the same as Southampton. We will have to be very good in everything.

“If you are not very strong throughout every aspect of the performance, you will find playing against Manchester City very tough.”

Fri 21 Aug, 2015
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