Manchester City and Everton go head to head for the second time in seven days, this time in League play.
City found a good rhythm over the weekend as they dismantled Norwich in the third round of the FA Cup -- having said that, it was a night and day performance from their loss against Everton in last Tuesday's League Cup Tie. Sergio Aguero appeared more comfortable up top as Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho scored against the Canaries, but the attack isn't so much the concern as is the middle of the park.
Fernandinho is ruled out of today's match, leaving Fernando or Fabian Delph to partner with Yaya Toure andpick up the duties of marshaling midfield against the likes of former City stalwart Gareth Barry and youngster Muhamed Bešić. Barry teamed with Tom Cleverly in last weeks game to essentially short the supply line from City's backline to it's forwards, where only a long ball to Kun Aguero would result in a Jesus Navas goal. Everton enjoy playing a possession heavy game that ultimately ends up at the feet of their forwards, but away from home will look towards the counter-attack as a method to sting City. It will be imperative that Toure, who has been besieged with controversy surrounding his agent's comments about Pep Guardiola and the results of the CAF Player of the Year play as if he deserves to win the award. This could be the motivation the Ivorian needs, and the motivation that would benefit City tenfold.
Romelu Lukaku will provide a handful for Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi, however the main difference from the previous match shall be that Joe Hart is back between the posts for City. The team is learning to play without Vincent Kompany, and based on Manuel Pellegrini's words at his pre-match presser -- it could be something that they're going to have to do for quite some time.
City are a glaringly different team at home, and they should be able to get the job done today against Everton. There were a officiating issues that occurred during the Cup tie that left Pellegrini unhappy that will hopefully not occur this time, however City must find themselves in positions to finish clinically in attack. Given Sergio Aguero's return to fitness and a healthy Sterling, De Bruyne, and Silva, the Blues could place themselves in position to trounce Leicester who play Spurs today, as well as Arsenal who face Liverpool.
Manchester City FC vs. Everton FC
Goodison Park, Liverpool, UK
Referee: Roger East
Manchester City Form: WDWLW
Everton Form: WWDLW