Early pace setters Manchester City will be looking to continue their hugely impressive start to the season when they face Everton at Goodison Park, a venue at which they have often struggled in recent years.
There was discontent at Everton after a unconvincing home performance against Watford on opening day, and a lack of summer signings brought about an aerial protest as they prepared to play Southampton last time out. However, the team produced the perfect response on the pitch with a marvellous display of counter-attacking to overpower their erratic hosts. With Man City being a side that likes to dictate the tempo, the Toffees are likely to adopt a similar gameplan here.
Romelu Lukaku was unplayable at times on the South coast, and if he maintains those levels, it could propel Everton back into Champions League contention. The Belgian has been helped by the presence of Arouna Kone as a secondary striker, a player who is finally gaining a run in the side having spent much of his two years of the club on the treatment table. The return to form of Ross Barkley is also a major boost, with goals in both games so far suggesting real promise.
From the moment they took to the pitch at West Bromwich Albion for their first outing of this term, Man City have looked ominously good, and they were just that as they dismantled Chelsea with great authority last weekend. They pulled apart what is widely regarded as the Premier League’s toughest defence, creating numerous first half chances before Sergio Aguero eventually made one of them count, having proved just as elusive as key teammates David Silva and Yaya Toure.
Captain Vincent Kompany was on the mark again as Manuel Pellegrini’s side made the game safe with two goals in the latter stages and ensuring that the scoreline was a fair reflection of their dominance. Continue to play like that and they will be difficult to stop from winning their third title in five seasons, but it is still early and Everton are very capable of giving them a rough ride here, even if the £32m signing of Nicolas Otamendi in the week showed the disparity between the two clubs in terms of spending power.
Everton could recall Kevin Mirallas upon his recovery from injury. Muhamed Besic and Aiden McGeady are also back available.
The visitors are likely to go unchanged, but have midfielder Fernando back along with Fabian Delph, who could make his debut. Pablo Zabaleta is sidelined for a month with a knee injury.
Last Meeting: A goal from Steven Naismith gave Everton a much-needed point back in January following a wretched festive period, while for Man City the 1-1 draw proved to be the beginning of a run of results which effectively ruled them out of the title race. After a Phil Jagielka had seen a goal ruled out and Seamus Coleman had hit the crossbar for the home side, Fernandinho gave City a lead which they held for just four minutes as Naismith glanced in a header from a free-kick.
Played for both – Sylvain Distin: The French defender moved to Man City in the summer of 2002 following a season on loan at Newcastle United, and was a mainstay at centre-back throughout his five years at the club, captaining the side and scoring five goals in 178 Premier League appearances. After two years at Portmouth he moved to Merseyside in 2009 and was again a prominent figure with 174 league outings yielding two goals.
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