Date:Monday December 20 2010
Monday, 20th December
Tonight sees the visit of Gollum Moyes' out-of-form Everton side. The Toffees are our bogey team but here's hoping we can continue that 9 match unbeaten run and sit top of the pile for Christmas.
The quotes from Mancini have already been posted separately. Concerning supporting the team, not booing Tevez.
Mancini has almost a full squad to pick from. The only absentee is Nigel de Jong who has to serve a one match ban after racking up five yellow cards for the season. It will be interesting to see how we fare in his absence this time around, especially after our struggle last time without him. The ever-dependable Zabaleta will probably retain his spot at right back with Milner replacing de Jong in midfield. This decision is likely to be unpopular with Vieria who will want to start but his tired legs will be a risk against an energetic Everton midfield. Kolarov should return at left back after serving his suspension.
Carlos Tevez is expected to return to the side and play for the first time since those problems arose. It will interesting to see the reaction he gets; I'm predicting a very mixed reception from the fans, similar to the one Rooney received on his Old Trafford return. Also interesting will be to see who the captain's armband is handed to; my choice is Vincent Kompany but I think Mancini will opt with Kolo as a vote of confidence. Anyway, here`s what I think the team will be:
Probable City Team:
5) Zabaleta - 28) K Toure - 4) Kompany - 13) Kolarov
7) Milner - 42) Y Toure - 18) Barry
21) Silva - 32) Tevez - 45) Balotelli
All eyes will be on the Argentine. It will be extremely interesting to see the performance he puts in and the attitude with which he adopts. But Tevez`s character means it is likely that he will continue where he left off - giving the heart on the sleeve approach, playing with vigour and intent. His return is a boost to the side as has presence undeniably lifts morale and gives more options to our current darling, David Silva.
Gollum Moyes is going to have to reshuffle his pack a little! Two of his best players are unavailable; Mikel Arteta is suspended whilst Steven Piennar is a doubt with a groin problem. John Heitinga is out with a knee injury and Tony Hibbert is also doubtful after having stitches. If Hibbert is deemed fit Neville may move into midfield to help combat City`s physical presence.
Here is the team I think Moyes will go with:
Probable Everton Team:
18) Neville - 6) Jagielka - 15) Distin - 3) Baines
23) Coleman - 26) Rodwell - 17) Cahill - 25) Fellani - 7) Bilyaletdinov
The Aussie has carried Everton through their dreadful first half to the season with his 8 goals. The next top goal scorer has only three, which suggests a lack of firepower up front. Consequently, this is exactly the case; Everton`s lack of goals from their strikers is alarming - Beckford has two, Yakubu has one and Saha has yet to score (in the league). No wonder they`re squandering in 15th position then! But Cahill has been their shining light and inspiration from midfield. His aerial ability is arguably the best in the league and Everton are really going to miss hi when he departs for the Asia Cup.
City are unbeaten in nine in all competitions.
City have only scored eight goals at home this season - the joint-fewest in the Premier League. City have scored 16 away from the City of Manchester Stadium.
However, Arsenal are the only side to have beaten Manchester City at home in this season's Premier League.
Carlos Tevez has scored 10 of City's 24 league goals this season. City have never lost a Premier League match in which he has scored.
Everton are looking for a fourth consecutive league win at the City of Manchester Stadium.
If they fail to beat Manchester City, it will be the club's longest run without a victory under David Moyes and longest since an eight-match streak in 1999.
Everton have managed only three top-flight wins this season, but have lost only five of their last 28 league matches. Those three victories came in the space of four games in October.
I'm not expecting a brilliant game tonight, taking all factors into consideration. But if we can bag the three points and sit top of the tree come Christmas Day, I'll be happy as Larry! Everton are struggling for both form and goals but still have a number of quality players in their side who are capable of something out of the ordinary. The main threat will come from Cahill, pushing-on from midfield. And without the tenacious de Jong City might get over-run in the middle but with the probable inclusion of Milner, City should have enough energy to combat their opposing midfield. Adam Johnson is pushing more and more every week for a starting berth, and i believe he'll be rewarded in the near future, but I think Balotelli will be preferred for tonights game. Obviously, it's going to be interesting to see Tevez back in the team but I think he'll put his usual shift in and bag the first. Prediction: MCFC 2 - 0 Everton.
Saturday, 26th December v Newcastle @ 15:00 (A)
Monday, 28th December v Aston Villa @ 15:00 (H)
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