If there's one team that should strike fear in the hearts of City supporters everywhere, it's Everton.
I know, it's not some galactico, it's not a club that's winning trophies left and right, nor are they featuring players that should truly scare you as a fan or player. But somehow, when looking at matches between City and Everton over the years, the Toffees have come mighty close to driving City mad.
As of Friday, City stand on top of the Premiere League and look to continue their run of form that has seen them disarm West Brom in the first week and absolutely, albeit "falsely" dismantle Chelsea the week prior. The Blues also are looking to win their ninth straight league match going back to last season, which would be a new club record. Everton sit with four points in two matches following a comfortable win away to Southampton, which saw a brace from young-but well versed Romelu Lukaku and a third goal from Ross Barkley. In his Friday presser, City boss Manuel Pellegrini emphasized how crucial Lukaku is to Everton by saying, "they have Lukaku in a good moment and we will have to play with a lot of intensity if we want to win there."
Fortunately for City, the defense has shown major signs of improvement in regard to consistency, Vincent Kompany and Eloquim Mangala have formed a partnership that has seemed to surprise everyone, especially after their perceived communication issues that were glaring in matches last season. It hasn't stopped City from signing a new center half from Valencia in Nico Otamendi, but Otamendi will not be playing in this game, his compatriot and City favorite Pablo Zabaleta will also be out, as he is recovering from an ankle knock for the next three to four weeks. This leaves Hart, Kompany and Mangala ensuring the spine for the City defense, and a rejuvenated Bacary Sagna and Aleksandar Kolarov on the flanks. Kolarov has been especially effective by going forward and providing crosses into the box, having Raheem Sterling there has helped tremendously with removing pressure from the fullbacks. With Lukaku and Barkley roaming in and out of the box, City will have to be weary of players that will not be afraid to take chances from long range, quite the opposite from that of Chelsea.
Offensively, it's as if David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure are as dependable as a pickup truck, and will continue to be so for quite a while. Everton have solid defenders in John Stones, Seamus Coleman and Phil Jagielka, but with Leighton Baines out until Thanksgiving, City will have to be salivating at the opportunity to take advantage of his 19 year old replacement, Brendan Galloway. The key to this match may very well lay in the midfield with Fernandinho and Yaya facing up against former City muscle Gareth Barry and James McCarthy.
If City continue their form they will be tough to beat in any stadium, but that won't stop Everton from trying to impose their will and create plenty of chances to win. Roll on the Blues to Goodison, and we will see you tomorrow.