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Everton preview

When and where:
Saturday 30th September, Goodison Park.

Current form:
Everton have started the season brightly, and the 06/07 season looks as though it could shape up to be a good one in their recent up and down performances. Andy Johnson has settled in quickly into the 4-5-1 formation and has added the goals they were perhaps lacking at the start of last season.
A good win at home for City got the season (slightly) back on track following the Reading and Chesterfield defeats. Still, back to back wins have been a rarity in recent times - almost as much an away win in fact.

Team news:
Ousmane Dabo returns from his three game suspension and could press for a recall given Stuart Pearce musing over a change to the formation to combat the away woes:

'We have lost three away games in the league already this season. 'Now we need to win one and I might have to tinker with the players and the formation to achieve it. 'This is the first time I have had Ousmane Dabo, Dietmar Hamman and Barton available together in midfield and the significance of that will be evident.'

This may result in a three-pronged attack or a more advanced role for Sinclair and Ishmael Miller - who will be confident of keeping his place in the line-up after his performance against West Ham.

Everton meanwhile are hit by injuries in defence to Gary Naysmith, Alessandro Pistone and Alan Stubbs whilst Tony Hibbert misses out through suspension.

Keys to the game:
Avoiding silly mistakes that prove costly. Both against Chelsea and Reading soft free-kicks were given away that resulted in headed goals from the resultant set-piece. Big games are required from Distin and Dunne as the pace of Johnson and the deep runs of Tim Cahill will be a major threat.
Avoiding falling the trap of relying on the long ball is something that must be done as well - especially if we go with the midfield trio Pearce suggested. Getting the ball to the midfield to control possession and create chances is a must.

Why City will win:
Dunne and Distin will have big games, nullifying the twin threat of Johnson and Cahill.
The confidence of the West Ham will be taken forward into this game, and a (welcome) change in away tactics will more play to our strengths.

Why City will lose:
11 defeats from 12 away games. No back to back Premiership wins in 35 attempts. Last win at Goodison Park saw Mike Sheron score twice. Need anymore?

Prediction:
A scrappy, hard fought 1-1 draw.