Manchester City will be looking to exact revenge on the Toffees for the League Cup defeat when they take on Roberto Martinez’s side in midweek’s Premier League fixture. Everton have now recorded two victories in a row and arrive at Etihad Stadium in good spirits, hoping to upset their league rivals for the second time in seven days.
Manchester City have experienced all sorts of problems this season, as inconsistency is proving to be a major issue, but the good news is that the Citizens are still competing on all four fronts. However, with all these competitions slowly reaching the decisive phase, it is now that Manuel Pellegrini’s charges need to prove their worth and rediscover the championship form. That has proved a very difficult task in the absence of talismanic captain Vincent Kompany, with City keeping 7 clean sheets in 12 games the Belgian featured in, and just two in 19 matches where the captain was missing. This speaks volumes about the centre-back’s importance to the side, and with the Citizens now set to face free-scoring Everton, another disappointing defensive performance appears on the cards. With that in mind, the hosts will have to turn on the style of they want to pay the Toffees back for the narrow defeat in the League Cup semi-final first leg.
Kevin de Bruyne, Joe Hart, Yaya Toure and Bacary Sagna should all be back to the side after the were rested in the 3-0 FA Cup triumph over Norwich.
However, Vincent Kompany and Samir Nasri are out injured, whereas Fernandinho, David Silva and Wilfried Bony all face fitness tests.
Everton have been on a slight downtrend ever since they finished in Premier League top 4 back in 2005, but the current season can be dubbed as promising when compared to some of the other ones. This has a lot to do with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley starting to show much needed consistency, while John Stones’ commanding performances at the back have proved he will go on to become and England stalwart in years to come. The Toffees did lack balance in some games, but they have become much more dangerous up front and they seem like they can score whenever they want. Roberto Martinez’s charges have taken part in some highly entertaining games of late, with matches against Sunderland (6-2), Aston Vila (4-0), Bournemouth (3-3), Leicester City (2-3) and Stoke City (3-4) still fresh in the mind. And having also defeated Manchester City seven days ago in the high stakes League Cup game, the Toffees will feel confident heading into the clash at Etihad.
Roberto Martinez is sweating over the fitness of star striker Romelu Lukaku, but he is expected to overcome an ankle problem and start the game.
Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy and Ty Browning are definitely out, whilst Tom Cleverley, Steven Naismith and Ramiro Funes Mori are rated doubtful.
Key Factors to Consider
- Man City kept 2 clean sheets in 19 games without Vincent Kompany
- Both teams have scored in three of last five meetings between the two sides at Etihad
- Three goals on average were scored in Everton’s last eight away fixtures
- The Toffees scored in eight successive matches on the road
- Both teams scored in Man City’s last 11 home games (W10 L1)
Both Manchester City and Everton have been relentless up front this season, but they have also been conceding way too many goals, so everything suggests we will witness some end to end stuff when the two sides square off at Etihad, with both teams to score the obvious choice.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 8/13