Manchester City will aiming to gain a second straight win in the Premier League for the first time since October when they take on an Everton side whom they currently trail in their two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men will have to be much better than they were at Goodison Park last week if they are to come away with all three points here and stand a chance of at least closing the three point gap between themselves and top spot. Despite having a lot of possession they never really got going and several of their forward players had very quiet outings, while Yaya Toure in midfield was languid and cumbersome as the team as a whole struggled for forward momentum.
Toure is a top quality player and continues to give reminders of his tremendous ability and finesse, but at times he displays a negative body language, which he did even before scoring the crucial equaliser in City’s last Premier League match at Watford. He will need to be much more effective here, especially after the news that Vincent Kompany will remain sidelined for some time. As for Sergio Aguero, his return to fitness seems to be coming along well and a fine performance at Norwich City in the FA Cup on Saturday will have done him no harm.
While City were hugely disappointing when the two clubs met in the first leg of their Capital One Cup tie, Everton belied their position in the bottom half of the Premier League with a showing that fully merited the win, with experienced campaigner Gareth Barry particularly outstanding. Although manager Roberto Martinez may have gone a little overboard in his praise of the midfielder, it certainly showed what he can still offer to the Toffees, and on the occasions that matter.
A fully-fit Aguero is without doubt the most feared striking presence in the Premier League, but Romelu Lukaku’s efforts all season suggest that before long he may not be too far behind. With the Man City defence looking continually vulnerable without their captain, the Belgian will be confident of inflicting even more damage upon them here as his side look to move up the table from their current state of underachievement.
Martin Demichelis will partner Nicolas Otamendi in the Man City defence as Eliaquim Mangala is injured, while Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony and Fernandinho also miss out.
Everton are unable to call upon right-back Seamus Coleman, and midfielder Tom Cleverley is a major doubt. They are likely to make changes from their FA Cup win over Dagenham & Redbridge.
Played for both – Joleon Lescott: After impressing in his early career at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Lescott moved up a level by joining Everton in 2006 and he helped them to three top-six finishes as well as finding a goalscoring touch in the 2007-08 season. He left for some £24m