14 March 2013 14:45
Everton will look to claim their fourth straight home win against Manchester City as they attempt to reel in fifth-placed Arsenal.
Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final draw means the English Premier League’s sixth-placed team is very unlikely be given a spot in the Europa League, which puts pressure on the likes of seventh-placed Everton.
Belgian attacking midfielder Marouane Fellaini looms as the key player for Everton as they look to bridge the two-point gap to Arsenal as the 25-year-old has seemingly returned to form.
Fellaini started the season with a bang, scoring three goals in the opening five Premier League games but apart from a flurry in November, the big Belgian has been fairly quiet since.
Since the start of February, however, Fellaini has started to find form again, scoring three goals and setting up another in Everton’s past four matches in the Premier League.
By contrast, Everton had a dismal February with just one victory from five games in all competitions and March has not started much better as a 3-1 win over Reading in the Premier League was followed by Everton’s 3-0 defeat by Wigan in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Everton manager David Moyes will hope the visit by Manchester City on Saturday can spark his team.
City have left Goodison Park in defeat on their past three visits and last tasted success on Everton’s home turf in April 2009.
The reigning champions’ manager Roberto Mancini will hope Sergio Aguero (knee) and captain Vincent Kompany (calf) are both available to take on Everton after they missed City’s 5-0 thumping of Barnsley in the FA Cup.
City have won their past four games in all competitions, including a 1-0 triumph over Aston Villa in their last Premier League fixture.
Mancini would be thrilled with his team’s defensive solidity in that period as Manchester City have not conceded a goal in 360 minutes, a fact even more impressive considering Kompany has been absent all that time.