David Moyes’ Everton side travel to the Etihad Stadium this weekend looking to extend their impressive run against the champions this weekend. Moyes has a knack for outwitting Mancini, instilling a hard-working mentality amongst his players. However the fixture has come at a sticky time for the toffees who have picked up only one win in their last eight outings, recording six draws, a run that has seen them slip to 13th in the Premier League form table.
Meanwhile Manchester City have remained unbeaten so far this season with an incredible home record, dropping only two points at the Etihad all season in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal back in September. Despite their promising start it could be argued City have struggle to recapture their attacking flair we come to expect last season with no striker considered to have cemented a first team spot, although Tevez looks the most likely in recent weeks. On top of this their back four have looked vulnerable on more than one occasion this campaign.
Everton remain the last team to pick up all three points at the Etihad back in December 2010 running out 2-1 winners. In fact Everton have grown into a bogey team for the blue half of Manchester having won eight of the last ten meetings between the two sides, with Man City winning two. In fact in the 15 Premier League contests between the two sides at City’s home ground, not one draw has been recorded dating back to their time at Maine Road.
England international James Milner is ruled out for the home side with a hamstring injury he picked up shortly after his wonder strike away to Wigan Athletic in mid-week. Former Evertonian Jack Rodwell (hamstring) and Gael Clichy (ankle) will join Milner on the side lines whilst Micah Richards continues recovery on his knee.
David Moyes is sure to be sweating over the fitness of Leighton Baines who damaged his hamstring on Wednesday night against Arsenal. The ever present left-back has created 53 chances for team mates so far this season, more than any other Premier League player. Nikica Jelavic will face a late fitness test, reported to have picked up an illness.
Ones to Watch
Undoubtedly Marouane Fellaini will be pivotal to Everton’s success, the Belgium international has turned heads so far this season with his fine goal scoring form making him Everton’s top goal scorer, netting seven. Although his passing game is not to be undermined, an own half passing accuracy of 83% as well as a 73% success rate in the final third, shows how important he is in helping Everton control the midfield.
Meanwhile Manchester City have accumulated 142 attempts on target so far this season with Carlos Tevez notching 17 of those, converting 6. The Argentine will be looking to take advantage of Baines’ absence this weekend having acquired a 52% shot accuracy rate this season.
Another victory for Everton away to Manchester City would underline the fact that they are Merseyside’s strongest contenders four a top four finish, however unlikely. City will be full of confidence having just become the first team in Premier League history to survive the opening 14 fixtures without a defeat.
Everton will struggle to get a result having seen a dip in form after their impressive start to the campaign at a time where the champions are just finding their stride.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Everton