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Everton vs Man City: Toffees seek response after FA Cup disappointment

Premier League the only focus for Everton between now and May

Manchester City v Everton - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The past seven days haven’t contained quite as much drama, excitement and intrigue as the previous week, but that doesn’t mean the build up to Sunday’s meeting with Man City has been no less eventful.

The hugely disappointing FA Cup defeat against Leicester prompted a fierce broadside from Ronald Koeman, who made his displeasure at the club’s lack of transfer activity clear to Everton board.

The early elimination left the supporters feeling deflated and contemplating a campaign that contains little to fight for apart from trying keep ahead of West Brom and Stoke in seventh.

The response was a £20m deal for Man Utd midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, while rumours swirled around social media about other potential big-money deals.

Meanwhile Tom Cleverley and Oumar Niasse, two symbols of the failed Roberto Martinez era, were shipped out on loan.

It’s vital Koeman is given further support in the transfer market this month to strengthen the squad, many of whom have been told they have no long-term future at Goodison Park.

The final few months of the season can then be used to bed those new signings in and generate some momentum to carry into the next campaign.

It sounds ludicrous to be looking ahead to next season in early January but that’s where we find ourselves.

Short-termism dominates modern football, none more so than in the cash-rich Premier League.

Farhad Moshiri’s takeover at Everton means the club have more resources at their disposal than ever before – but a bit of patience from the fans can give Koeman the breathing space he needs to put solid foundations in place.

The Dutchman has 18 games between now and May to figure out his best XI and get the team playing his way.

Meanwhile the board have a very busy two weeks ahead of them to further bolster the side before turning their attentions to ensuring the summer window is much more successful than it was 12 months ago.

The opposition

When Pep Guardiola swept into the Etihad Stadium this summer is was supposed to be the magic bullet that restored Man City to the top of the table.

West Ham United v Manchester City - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Guardiola after all was the visionary super coach, whose Barcelona side had swept all before them before dominating German football with Bayern.

Despite being once again generously backed in the transfer market, spending close to £170m, things haven’t gone completely to plan for the Catalan.

City find themselves seven points off leaders Chelsea in fourth place, just one point behind Arsenal in fifth and a further point ahead of city rivals Man Utd in sixth.

All this comes after City won their first 10 games in all competitions, including six in the Premier League.

Their autumn slide draws comparisons to Koeman at Everton, another Barcelona disciple who started the campaign with a bang but saw things decline as the nights drew in.

There has been plenty of speculation about the source of Man City’s difficulties, with the media pinning it on the team’s struggles adapting to Guardiola’s passing philosophy.

As a product of Barcelona’s La Masia academy Guardiola is only going to play one way (sound familiar?), even revealing in one press conference that he “doesn’t train tackles”.

That has led to some accusing him of being arrogant, with his refusal to adapt to the demands of the English game costing Man City results.

Others say Guardiola is simply sticking to his beliefs that have served him so well.

Like Evertonians, Man City fans may well have to be patient, especially if this campaign doesn’t deliver multiple trophies.

I’ve managed to get this far without mentioning John Stones, who returns to his former club for the first time.

Will he get booed? Probably, it’s par for the course these days. Does he deserve to? Not for me. Despite all the speculation he continued to perform for the team, especially during Chelsea’s interest in the summer of 2015.

Plus he bagged us nearly £50m. There’s nothing really for us to feel bitter about.

Team news

Koeman has confirmed new signings Ademola Lookman and Morgan Schneiderlin could be involved for the first time on Sunday, though both will be assessed in training.

James McCarthy and Maarten Stekelenburg have also resumed training but may miss out due to lack of match fitness.

Everton v Leicester City - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Man City are without Fernandinho, who serves the second match of a four game ban.

Leroy Sane and Vincent Kompany are back in training but may not be risked. Fernando is doubtful with a knock.

Final word

Man City have such depth of talent they will always be a threat regardless of recent results.

Everton meanwhile once again have to respond to a disappointing result the previous week.

The arrivals of Lookman and Schneiderlin should boost the crowd, who always rouse themselves for the visit of a Manchester team.

Whether that will be enough to get a result though remains to be seen.

Predicted starting XI: Robles, Baines, Funes Mori, Williams, Coleman, Davies, Schneiderlin, Mirallas, Barkley, Valencia, Lukaku.