After a rocketing start to the Premier League campaign of 2016, the sky blues have not been able to carry that resilience while heading into 2016.
Injury plagued Pelligrini squad is yet to recover from a stint of dipping form in the recent games. The pressure of being sacked is looming over Pelligrini’s head since the Bavarian manager, Pep Guardiola, told the press that he wants a move to the Premier League. After all the speculations and news, it is almost inevitable that Guardiola will soon announce his arrival at Etihad Stadium.
But Pelligrini has other concerns. Captain Kompany is still on the bench and is yet to return to training sessions. It is still uncertain as to when Kompany will find his way back.
David Silva and Sergio Aguero have returned from their recent injuries, but we are yet to witness a taste of their sheer class. Aguero, who scored a brace against West Ham and an equaliser in the first leg of the semifinal of League Cup against Everton, has shown glimpses of his might after the recovery. The inclusion of Fernandinho will surely boost their chances of winning. Fernandinho has been one of the best midfielders in the league this season.
For this particular match, City will be up on their heels because they are already down 2 to 1 in the two-legged semifinal.
RECENT FORM: DWDWLW
PREDICTED STARTING LINEUP:
Caballero, Sagna, Otamendi, Demichelis, Clichy, Fernandinho, Toure, De Bruyne, Silva, Iheanacho, Aguero
Everton has produced a handful of good performances against City recently, winning game 1 of this semifinal and drawing 0-0 in the Premier League. So far, Everton has the upper hand against Manchester City in head to head, but the overall situation on BPL points table indicates otherwise.
Everton stands 12th on the league table, with a total of 29 points in 23 games. Despite scoring 40 goals so far in the league, the Toffees have been unable to suppress goals in their half and have already conceded 34 goals. The Toffees will be challenged here because Sergio Aguero is almost at his best and is well capable of demolishing a defence like that.
On the brighter side, Everton’s manager, Roberto Martinez, has a good chance to prove his worth by winning the League Cup. With the kind of squad he has at his disposal, it would not be too harsh to expect at least a Europa League qualification and a place in the upper half of the table.
Nonetheless, Everton needs to do their homework to stop City from scoring in this fixture because they already have an advantage of an away goal.
Lukaku factor will boost Everton’s chances in the game. He may not have Aguero’s experience and talent but is equally dangerous when it comes to scoring goals. He has scored 19 times this season in as many as 28 games in all competitions. The Belgian is only 22 years old, and his goal scoring ability is quite evident through his track record. He can be deadly and provide his team with the much needed breakthrough at any point in the game on his day.
RECENT FORM: LDDWWD
PREDICTED STARTING LINEUP:
Howard, Oviedo, Stones, Mori, Baines, Barry, Besic, Deulofeu, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku.