Everton will make the trip down the East Lancs Road to face Manchester City in high spirits. Roberto Martinez’ Blues are the only team in the Premier League with an unbeaten record to defend and make the short journey looking to make it four consecutive league wins.
This lunch time kick off will see Everton feature in front of the BT Sport camera’s for the first time and the Blues will look to further boost their growing reputation in front of the watching nation. The Toffees will be supported by another away sell out, with approximately 3,000 Evertonians packing into the South Stand at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Everton have enjoyed many memorable trips to Manchester City over the last six years, with 4 wins, 1 draw and just the 1 defeat. That loss occurred during City’s Championship year, but with Pellegrini’s men losing twice already in the league this season, it would appear that they remain someway short of repeating that feat. They are however unbeaten at home in the league and with Everton no longer possessing the scurge of Manchester City, Tim Cahill, in their ranks, City would appear to be pre kick-off favourites.
Manuel Pellegrini however, is refusing to get carried away and knows that City face a tough task in the final round of league matches before the next international break.
“Everton are always a difficult team, they are the only team unbeaten in the Premier League.
“They are a very good team, but I hope that we can play a good game and get three points.
“We must play well in every sense…” Manuel Pellegrini speaking to MCFC.co.uk
Everton will be forced to make at least one change, with Gareth Barry ineligible to face Manchester City as he is officially on loan from the Sky Blues. Kevin Mirallas is fighting a battle against time to be fit after twisting his ankle in Monday nights victory over Newcastle. Darron Gibson would be the obvious replacement for Barry, but the Irishman has suffered a slight set back in his recovery from injury, although Martinez remains hopeful he will be able to take his place in the Everton team.
“We hope that Darron is going to be fit… We have a bit of doubt with his knee from the previous knock that he had.
“Kevin Mirallas is still a concern and I would say he is 50-50 for the weekend. It was a knock during the game against Newcastle. Obviously he was able to stay on the pitch but he has got a twisted ankle” Roberto Martinez speaking to EvertonTV
If Mirallas fails to prove his fitness then Deulofeu and Naismith will compete for the starting position, with Steven Pienaar still a week or two short of returning to action. Aside from that Everton will be as they were before, with Lukaku and Barkley continuing their partnership and McCarthy now establishing himself in the Blues midfield.
Possible starting team: Howard; Baines, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin; McCarthy, Osman, Barkley; Naismith, Mirallas, Lukaku.
Our archive footage this week comes from 1986-87 and Everton’s Championship winning team. Everton travelled to Maine Road early in the campaign and recorded a 3-1 victory with Adrian Heath scoring twice and former Citizen Paul Power scoring Everton’s third.