It was hardly a week for celebration at Everton as David Moyes clocked up 11 years in the Goodison Park dugout on Thursday. The mood in the blue half of Merseyside has been predictably glum as they bid to overcome the FA Cup mauling suffered at the hand of Wigan last Saturday. That first half capitulation summed up their current jam after falling well off the Champions League qualification pace in recent weeks following an uncharacteristically solid start to the season. Star man Marouane Fellaini was booed by the home support as he was substituted last week and Moyes will naturally look to his top scorer to inspire the troops as he bids to get the Toffees’ season back on track against the Champions.
With that in mind Roberto Mancini is likely to ask his Manchester City side to adopt a conservative approach on their trip to Goodison. It’s a venue the Italian won’t relish visiting given the fact City have scrape together four points from a possible 21 during his reign. That being said City have recovered well following the shock defeat at Southampton and they should be confident of taking all three points back to the Etihad Stadium. With a 12 point gap to scale at the top-flight summit, that can be shortened before Manchester United’s home fixture against Reading in Saturday’s late kick-off, they can’t afford to leave empty handed.
Everton are still without Tim Howard (back) so Jan Mucha will continue to deputise. Phil Jagielka (ankle) is still out so Johnny Heitinga will fill in for the Toffees skipper.
Manchester City will travel to Merseyside without Sergio Aguero (knee) and Vincent Kompany, while a hamstring injury prevents Jack Rodwell from featuring against his former club.
What the managers said…
“It doesn’t alter anything. The decision at the end of the season will be made by me and the players and how well we all do together – how high we finish in the league. It’s never changed. I want the players to do well. You can see from the way they’ve spoken this week in the papers that they’re ambitious to finish as high as they can, and get into Europe if they can. That’s the same as the manager’s ambition, and that’s what we’re going to try to work towards.” David Moyes says Everton’s FA Cup exit won’t influence the decision over his future (ESPN)
“The next two or three games will be crucial. If they lose a point in the next two games – maybe. After the two games, we have the derby. But it all depends on us. When you are behind you should win every game. We hope we can play a derby with nine, seven points, maybe 10. Less than 12 would be better. From the derby to the end of the season, they have three or four difficult games.” Roberto Mancini believes Manchester City’s next two games could make or break their title hopes (Independent)
Pre-Match Statistic: Should Everton register a victory it will be the first time in 92 years since they’ve won four in a row against City at Goodison Park.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Manchester City
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