It will be very interesting to see the reception the home side receives when they come out on Saturday at Goodison Park. Last time we saw the Blues they were busy getting booed off the pitch after a miserable performance in the FA Cup. In between, there has been all sorts of hyperbolic speculation and questionable journalism on the future of this great club.
David Moyes will be keen to put last weekend behind him and get the boys refocused on playing football. He marked eleven years at the club this week and the events of the last few days should not be used to judge the entirety of the gaffer's tenure at Goodison. Meanwhile Manchester City, unencumbered by the burden of playing European football of any form, have sparkled in the FA Cup and have been in decent form in the League too, although they remain a whopping twelve points behind cross-city rivals Manchester United.
Team News -
Tony Hibbert remains the only long-term casualty for Everton, while regular starters Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka will miss this game too with recent injuries.
City's strength lies in their depth - Argentinian strike pair Sergio Aguero and Carloz Tevez will miss out with injuries, but they still have Edin Dzeko and a host of characters behind him to give John Heitinga and Jan Mucha nightmares. Captain Vincent Kompany, Micah Richards, Maicon and ex-Evertonian Jack Rodwell are all also injured.
Keys To The Game -
The Toffees have had a pretty good record against the Citizens in recent times, and Moyes will be hoping adversity will bring out the best in his team again. When both left and right wings are humming along and Messrs. Jelavic and Fellaini are making a nuisance of themselves in the opposing box, Everton can be quite unstoppable. However, we've only seen that happen very rarely this season.
City on the other hand will attempt to take advantage of the lead-footed Johnny Heitinga by deploying the quick David Silva on him. Mancini's sides have tended to look bewildered whenever they play Everton, so they will attempt to not give the home side the bigger share of possession. Despite the absence of Kompany, City have been solid in defence recently.
Match Facts -
- Leighton Baines is only player in the League to be in triple figures for both defensive contributions (156) and crosses delivered (101).
- Everton have only won two of their last seven matches across all competitions.
- Against City however, the Blues have won six of the last eight times they have played at Goodison.
- Everton need just two more goals to make it a total of 600 Premier League goals.
- Leon Osman's next start will mark his 300th for the club.
- City have recorded four straight clean sheets in their last four games in the League and Cup.