Jan 6, 2016 at 8pm UK at ​Goodison Park
Man CityManchester City
Funes Mori (45'), Lukaku (78')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Navas (76')
Delph (51')

Preview: Everton vs. Manchester City

Sports Mole looks ahead to the first leg of the League Cup semi-final between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park.

Currently fighting for trophies on four different fronts, Manchester City head to Goodison Park on Wednesday night to take on Everton in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final.

The Citizens have won the competition on three previous occasions, while in contrast the hosting Merseysiders have never lifted the trophy.


Roberto Martinez manager of Everton looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on October 17, 2015© Getty Images

The Goodison Park faithful may not quite be in mutinous mood, but there is a feeling that the natives are becoming increasingly restless with what is being produced on the pitch.

On paper at least manager Roberto Martinez has at his disposal one of the strongest Everton squads in recent memory, yet results in recent weeks have failed to live up to that fact.

Of their 11 home matches in the Premier League this season, the Toffees have been triumphant just three times. Last time out Martinez's charges played out a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, although it was a game that was largely dominated by the hosts, who saw efforts strike the crossbar and the upright.

Nevertheless, Martinez used his pre-match press conference to urge supporters to stay behind the team when he said: "We know that we showed great signs this season but we need to be patient. The performances have been very inconsistent and probably that's where the frustration comes. We all need to learn as a football club that we've got a special group of players and we have to help them."

On a more positive note, Everton do boast one of the country's in-form strikers. Romelu Lukaku has been involved in 10 goals in his last six Premier League outings at Goodison Park (seven goals and three assists).

The League Cup is a trophy that has so far escaped Everton's clutches, with their two appearances in finals - against Aston Villa in 1977 and Liverpool seven years later - ending in defeat after replays.

Recent form: DDLWLD

Man City

Manchester City's Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini gestures from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Swansea City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on December 12, 2015© Getty Images

With Pep Guardiola having announced his intention to work in the Premier League next season, it is looking increasingly likely that Manuel Pellegrini will be relieved of his duties come the summer.

As far as the bookmakers are concerned, the Etihad Stadium is Guardiola's preferred destination - the thinking being that the former Barcelona and current Bayern Munich head coach will be able to catapult City into the higher echelons of European football in a way that has so far eluded Pellegrini.

From the point of view of the City boss, he will at least be able to depart the Mancunians with his pride intact, providing that he is able to guide the team to a couple of trophies between now and the season's conclusion.

The League Cup is a competition that the Chilean is bound to be fond of, given that it provided him with his first taste of glory on English soil in March 2014 when City overturned a one-goal deficit to beat Sunderland 3-1.

If City are to take a positive result with them back to the Etihad for the second leg later this month, they will need to arrest some poor away form of late. The 2-1 victory at Watford on Saturday night was their first on the road in the Premier League in seven attempts.

As well as the success of two years ago, City won the tournament in 1970 and 1976 courtesy of 2-1 wins over West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United respectively.

Recent form: WWLWDW

Team News

Everton's English defender Phil Jagielka vies with Manchester City's Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park in Liverpool on August 23, 2015© Getty Images

Pellegrini confirmed to reporters during his press conference that Wilfried Bony is not fit enough to be included in the City squad for this clash, which should see Sergio Aguero spearhead the attack.

The visitors will still be without their captain Vincent Kompany, though, as the Belgian centre-back continues to recover from a calf problem.

Samir Nasri is the only other absentee that Pellegrini will have to contend with when it comes to team selection.

Meanwhile, Everton boss Martinez has revealed that Joel Robles will replace Tim Howard in goal, just as he has done throughout the competition.

Skipper Phil Jagielka and midfielder Steven Pienaar are both in contention for a place in the squad, but James McCarthy is likely to be out of action until the end of the month with a hip injury.

Everton possible starting lineup:
Robles; Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines; Cleverley, Barry; Deulofeu, Barkley, Kone; Lukaku

Man City possible starting lineup:
Hart; Sagna, Otamendi, Mangala, Kolarov; Toure, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling; Aguero

Head To Head

City have prospered in four of the past five meetings between the clubs, including the game back in August when goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Nasri secured a 2-0 win for the visitors.

In terms of the League Cup, the two sides have crossed paths twice.

In 1969 it was City that won through 2-0, but in 1988 Everton gained revenge as Adrian Heath and Graeme Sharp found the net.

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We say: Everton 1-2 Man City

Everton tend to give City a tough game at Goodison and that trend is likely to continue. But, with Aguero looking sharper by the game and the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and David Silva behind the Argentine, the away side could well have too much.

Who will win the first leg at Goodison Park?

Man City
Man City
Wilfred Bony reacts after missing a penalty for Man City against Sunderland on December 26, 2015
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