Everton have the unenvious task of facing Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals this weekend but here are a few things that may work in our favour this time
Everton have the unenvious task of facing Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals this weekend.
We’ll head into the game at Goodison Park coming off consecutive Premier League losses, facing the runaway League leaders.
All four quarter-finals are being televised, whilst a handful of Premier League fixtures take place too, to make a busy schedule of live football on TV to watch this weekend.
It was only a month ago that Pep Guardiola’s side turned up on Merseyside and beat us 3-1. But here are a few things that may work in our favour this time around:
The last time we faced Manchester City they were on an 11-game winning streak in the league. That ended at home to Manchester United less than a fortnight ago.
Since the Manchester derby, we’ve only played two games – a defeat at Chelsea the following day, and a loss at home to Burnley last weekend.
City played a midweek game at home to Southampton after losing to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, were at Fulham over the weekend and fielded a strong team in beating Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Tuesday night. That’s four fixtures in the time we’ve had two.
So, Carlo Ancelotti will have the fresher squad to pick from.
Battle of Attacks
Neither side has kept a clean sheet in our last three meetings. Richarlison had sent us in at half-time with a 1-1 scoreline last month as the Manchester City defence was at sixes and sevens.
It’s worth remembering they did create a number of chances against us, but their opener came courtesy of a deflection and the two that followed were both from long range. The former we can’t do much about but hopefully the team will have learned their lesson from the first game in order to close their midfielders down around the edge of our box.
The main Everton news is that Jordan Pickford is set to miss the game through injury. This could come as a blessing in disguise to see the taller Robin Olsen between the sticks.
Sergio Aguero has only recently returned from a lengthy layoff so how fit is the Argentine, should he start?
It’s the FA Cup
The FA Cup always throws up a few surprises. Crawley Town thrashed Leeds United and Blackpool beat West Bromwich Albion in the third round, whilst Championship side Bournemouth won at Burnley to make it to this stage.
Manchester City will know all too well about FA Cup upsets themselves, having lost the 2013 final to Wigan Athletic.
It wouldn’t be a giant killing by any stretch of the imagination, but Everton beating Manchester City would be an upset, and it’s something the FA Cup could spring in our favour.
Carlo Ancelotti admitted after defeat to Burnley that a top four place is no longer achievable this season. That means full attention must go towards the FA Cup between now and May.
Expect the boss to name the strongest possible lineup for this one as he tries to get his hands on some silverware. Whilst Manchester City played a strong side in the Champions League midweek, we could see the visitors rotate a little at the weekend.