Everton are the one club Pep Guardiola has played the most without actually beating, with his three previous encounters against the Blues seeing Manchester City go winless. Sam Allardyce happily tossed more salt on that wound today in his pre-match press conference when asked if Guardiola is seeing more success in his second season in the Premier League as his methods are finally percolating down to the players.
“And £350 million will have a bit to do with it.
”In all fairness, the money has been really well spent, hasn’t it? I think that it’s a lot of money, but it’s been spent on quality players over [his] short period there.
”I think those players have brought so much more to the team overall. The average age of the player has been reduced I would think if you look at it.
”Certainly, the confidence has grown -- where they believe every game they walk out [thinking] they’re not going to get beat. That grows and becomes another force before they even start.
“We can’t be intimidated. We’ve got to go out there and get our game plan in place. We’ve got to master our game plan throughout the 90 minutes to get a result against a team that’s riding high.”
Everton were no strangers to spending during the summer transfer window, but have found it difficult to show the performance on the pitch to reflect the money shelled out from Farhad Moshiri’s coffers.
Allardyce was not around when Everton led City at the Etihad earlier this season, before conceding late in a 1-1 draw that remains the Sky Blues’ only dropped points at home.
Big Sam is looking forward to the challenge of pitting wits against Pep again, knowing that City need just two wins against Everton this week and Manchester United next week to seal the Premier League title with weeks to spare, and the first leg of a Champions League clash against Merseyside rivals Liverpool coming up midweek.
“I don’t think anybody has ridden high at the top of the Premier League this far away. It’s a big challenge and one we should really look forward to.
”I suppose in the end, it’s sustainability -- after this season and where would they go from here. If they actually go and win the Champions League as well then that puts them right up there.
”Winning the Premier League with such a gap is certainly going to be one of the top teams to ever be in the Premier League.”
Blues will likely be happy to get a point tomorrow, but a replica of last season’s 4-0 thrashing with Tom Davies’ worldie and a debut goal for Ademola Lookman will be very welcome too!