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Match day preview.



An early start for City this Sunday as we rise at some unholy hour or other to get to Eastlands for an 11:15 am kick off.
It is a game where both sides are desperate for the three points to put an end to recent poor form - City to banish the memories of the past two weeks whilst Everton high hopes for this season are quickly disintegrating following an abysmal beginning to the league campaign and a European venture that made our 2003/04 campaign (wins over TNS and Lokeren before being dumped by the 'mighty' Groclin) look like a glorius success.
Everton have yo-yo'd in the last couple of seasons, posting a succesful campaign, then avoiding relegation before last seasons campaign when they proved the doubters wrong by finishing in fourth place.
So what sort of team should we expect Everton to be? Moyes has had much of the Rooney cash to spend, bringing in players such as Tim Cahill, Per Kroldrup, Phil Neville and James Beattie. It is Beattie who has perhaps been the biggest disappointment so far, as he has not become the goalscorer that Moyes was counting on.
I don't think Everton will finish anywhere near the relegation places come the end of the season, but need to put a decent run together sooner rather than later.
With the impressive Arteta likely to be missing on Sunday, they lack creative options with only Tim Cahill able to spark them, as the likes of Kilbane, McFadden, Bent and Ferguson should not be able to hurt our defence. Defensively, Nigel Martyn has been dependable enough to be mentioned for an England recall, but the both David Weir and Joseph Yobo to me are pedestrian whilst Nuno Valente and Matteo Ferrari are yet to really settle.
As for City, we are boosted by the news that Andrew Cole should be fit to play (how many would have admitted that at the start of the season?) and his movement along with Vassell's pace should cause Everton problems. Joey Barton and Ben Thatcher are listed as doubtful, so Stephen Ireland and Stephen Jordan could step in.
Atmosphere wise - it could be a strange game with the early kick-off and probably needs some early action to spark the crowd into life. I expect Moyes to play a 4-5-1 style with Bent or Beattie holding the play up with the Kilbane and Cahill in support.
Stuart Pearce will be hoping City can bounce back from recent disappointments and keep Everton at the foot of the table.
A warm welcome will probably be afforded to young Mr Neville, and I'm going to go for a 1-1 predicition, leaving neither manager pleased nor truly disappointed.