Saturday, October 5, 2013

Manchester City vs Everton

Everton aim to continue their strong recent Premier League record against Manchester City when they visit the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The visitors have won nine of the past 12 league meetings between the two, with City triumphant just twice during that time.

The Etihad has been a happy hunting ground for Everton of late too, with three wins and a draw from their last five visits to the ground.

They will make the journey this term in good spirits, with genuine hopes of adding to their recent run.

City, under new manager Manuel Pellegrini, have had a mixed start to the season so far, winning three, drawing one and losing two of their opening six league matches.

Their most recent league outing ended in a surprise 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa, while on Wednesday they were comprehensively beaten 3-1 at home by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

They are the Premier League's top scorers this season with 14 so far, but they have been susceptible to conceding soft goals and currently sit seventh in the table, five points adrift of leaders Arsenal.

Pellegrini's side have lost a league-high number of points from winning positions (six), a figure that is in stark contrast to last season, when they dropped just seven points from winning positions across the entire campaign.

However, they will take comfort from the fact that they have found the net in 53 successive home Premier League games in a run going back to November 2010.

Everton are also under new management this season, with Martinez coming in to replace the departed David Moyes.

His new side have started strongly, boasting the only unbeaten record in the division thus far.

After three draws from the opening three league games, Martinez's side have won their last three games to climb to fourth in the table, three points behind Arsenal.

Were they to win on Saturday, it would represent the first time the club has won four successive league games since March 2008.

Their latest victory came in Monday's 3-2 win over Newcastle United at Goodison Park, with on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku scoring twice either side of a Ross Barkley strike.

That brace took Lukaku to three league goals for the season and in his last six Premier League appearances, and the Belgium international has averaged a goal every 37 minutes he has been on the pitch.

Everton will be without England international midfielder Gareth Barry, as the terms of his season-long loan deal from City dictate that he is ineligible to face his parent club.

Meanwhile, Martinez hopes Darron Gibson (knee) and Kevin Mirallas (ankle) will shake off their respective knocks in time to be included.

David Silva returned to action for City on Wednesday but long-term absentee Martin Demichelis remains out with a knee injury, as does former Everton man Jack Rodwell with a muscle problem.

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