Midweek action will see a turn of focus from the Premier League to Capital One Cup semi-finals and the first leg between Everton and Manchester City who go head-to-head at Goodison.
With only one win in their last six Premier League matches, Roberto Martinez’s men will be hoping for a change in fortunes as they look to record a positive result against Manchester City in the first leg of Capital One Cup semi-finals. The Toffees are coming off from a 1-1 draw against Tottenham on Sunday eager to return to winning ways and end the sticky patch they have been going through. Roberto Martinez’s charges have opened the scorings through Aaron Lennon but were unable to keep hold of the lead as Alli set the final score in the dying minutes of the first half. With no changes to the result in the next 45 minutes, Toffees fans will be understandably disappointing with yet another poor result despite the exiting showings. Everton are entertainers dwelling in the bottom half of the Premier League table with impressive attacking numbers. Goodison outfit are the third highest scorers in the Premier League this season behind Manchester City and Leicester City, but their defensive woes have undone all of the good work upfront. Romelu Lukaku has been particularly impressive with his 15 goals in 19 appearances, sitting at the top of the scoring charts together with Jamie Vardy. Martinez faces a difficult time ahead of him with the Belgian being targeted by a number of clubs, and his team will need to start producing results as soon as possible.
Heading into the first semi-final leg the home side will have to do without Tony Hibbert, who is having knee problems, as well as Tyias Browning. James McCarthy is out due to a groin issue, while Bryan Oviedo has an injury to his hamstring.
Muhamed Besic has impressed as a second-half substitute against Tottenham Hotspur and the Bosnian will be hopeful of more opportunities.
The Citizens will have been buoyed by the 2-1 at Vicarage Road since it was their first triumph on the road in the last seven Premier League outings. The last time that Manuel Pellegrini’s men have won outside the Etihad was at Crystal Palace midway through September. Since then they have managed two away triumphs in the UEFA Champions League, and the victory at Watford will be a huge morale-boost for the Citizens. Travelling fans have been forced to wait until the last ten minutes for a breakthrough from their team and it was Yaya Toure who broke the deadlock with eight minutes on the clock, capitalizing on the assist from Aleksandar Kolarov. Sergio Aguero knocked the Hornets down two minutes later to set the final score of the game and give Citizens the much needed self-esteem injection. Change of scenery will do Manuel Pellegrini good, as he has been under a lot of pressure from the British media. The Chilean has dealt with it well and his team still remains in frame for the Premier League title midway through the campaign. Manchester City boss is believed to be making some plans for the January transfer window with Real Madrid’s Isco expressing desire to work with his former Malaga manager and there is no doubt that the eventual arrival of the player of his calibre would make the Citizens even more competitive in the league.
Pellegrini cannot afford to make any significant changes to the fold for the semi-final outing, and is believed to go for a similar line-up to Watford’s game.
Sergio Aguero is back to full fitness and the game versus Everton will be a proper chance for the Argentinean to get back to his fine form. Samir Nasri, Fernando and Vincent Kompany remain the long term absentees.
Key Factors to Consider
- Everton have been prolific this term, score 34 Premier League goals
- Romelu Lukaku is league’s top scorer with 15 to his name
- Manchester City have won six points from possible 21 on the road
- The Citizens scored only four goals in last seven EPL away matches
- Pellegrini’s men have scored six goals after the 85th-minute mark this term
Capital One Cup is the chance to explore different options and ideas, so we should expect to see an openly contested affair at Goodison. The hosts have been impressive upfront this season, while they have struggled in defence department which can also be said of the visiting team. Manchester City’s backline is not the same without Vincent Kompany and I believe we should see a lot of goals in the upcoming affair.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/10