Fresh off an exhilarating victory against Watford, Manchester City will seek to move in the position to gain another trophy this Wednesday against Everton. City travel down the M62 for the first leg of the League Cup Semifinal, where their opponents have similarly shown as many inconsistencies for the amount of talent yielded. Everton, seeking their first hardware in 21 years, faced Spurs at the weekend in what was a cracking match that ended in a 1-1 draw.
On the other end, Manchester City seemingly hit a switch against Watford to come out of Vicarage Road with three points as late goals from Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero sealed the victory that ripped the hearts out of the upstart Hornets. City have now gone won two out of their last three games, and will go to Goodison seeking similar results.
One of the grievances that Everton supporters have been voicing has been that manager Roberto Martinez does not loosen the reigns on one of the better Everton sides the club has seen in years. Standing in 11th place in the League and featuring amazing young talent like Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley and John Stones, the Toffees should be in a position to compete for a European place, but instead they have a leaky albeit oft injured defense who retard the team's ability to hold on to leads late in matches (see their recent effort against Stoke for more).
Martinez's rigidity will be tested however as City will look to open up an Everton squad that enjoys possession between it's forwards with finishing that often ends up at the feet of Lukaku, who has found the back of the net 15 times in League Play. The Merseyside squad will be without Tim Howard between the posts, likely leaving his backup Joel Robles with a lot of work to do.
Time will tell if Manuel Pellegrini will play any kids in this tie, and with Wilfred Bony out it leaves Kelechi Iheanacho with an opportunity to step up behind Sergio Aguero for some time on the field. One could expect appearances from the likes of Clichy, Fernando and Delph tonight as well. Bony will miss the match in addition to the medical room stalwarts Nasri and Kompany.
With the second leg on the 27th of January in Manchester, look for City to continue their good away record in the League Cup where they haven't lost on the road since 2010. Also of note, in the last six meetings between the two sides -- City are 4-1-1, it seems that Pellegrini may have broken the Everton bogey-spell.
Everton vs. Manchester City
Goodison Park, Liverpool UK
Referee: Robert Madley
Everton Form: DLWLD
Manchester City Form: WDWLW
For more on the history between these two squads, visit here.