Manchester City v Everton – Match Preview

Everton travel to the Etihad Stadium to face high-flying Manchester City in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off hoping for repeat last seasons surprise 2-1 victory.

The Toffee’s are unbeaten in their last four against City but face a tough task this time around though with Roberto Mancini’s side yet to taste defeat so far sitting second in the table just behind rivals United. The Citizens have lit up the early stages of the 2011/12 Premier League campaign with the exhilarating brand of attacking football and superstar team proving to be too much for a number of teams. They did however drop their first points away at Fulham last week throwing a two goal lead with Danny Murphy scoring a deflected equaliser to snatch a 2-2 draw for the Cottagers. That was all forgotten in mid-week though as Mancini sent out his reserve side, including Owen Hargreaves, to face Birmingham City in the Carling Cup. Hargreaves certainly made the headlines with a superb goal and performance that contributed to a knocking the holders out of the competition. It’s unlikely that he’ll play any part on Saturday with Mancini set to bring back his first team regulars including Sergio Aguero who has scored a remarkable eight goals in just 329 minutes of league action. He scored both goals at Craven Cottage and will pose the biggest threat to Everton’s chances of repeating last seasons win.

It’s been a topsy turvy start to the campaign for David Moyes’ men with his side comfortably beating Wigan 3-1 last week to secure a first home win of the campaign. New signings Apostolos Velios and Royston Drenthe came off the bench in that game to score the decisive goals to make former captain Mikel Arteta a distant memory at Goodison Park. Drenthe in particular was impressive with his pace and willingness to beat his man all displayed during his brief cameo. Moyes also has a decision to make as to whether he should welcome Louis Saha back into the fold after the striker was dropped for last weeks game. The Frenchman aired his unhappiness on Twitter after his boss opted to play midfielder Tim Cahill as a lone striker despite the fact he has yet to find the net in 2011. The Australian has a good scoring recored agains City breaking the deadlock in three out of the last four games he has started which could count in his favour.

Neither manager has any injury worries although Moyes will be concerned over how fatigued his players will be after they went all the way to extra time in Wednesdays Carling Cup fixture with West Brom.

Key Players

Phil Jagielka – The new Everton skipper will have to be right on top of his game when he comes to face-to-face with City’s devastating attack. His defensive organisation and skills as a captain will be put right to the test at the Etihad Stadium.

Sergio Aguero – Eight goals already this season and the £38 million Argentinian doesn’t look like he’s set to slow down. Scored two excellent goals against Fulham last week and will be hoping to reach double figures by full time on Saturday.

Verdict: 3-1

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