Jan 092015


One of the Blues’ outstanding performers in their FA Cup third round draw with West Ham in midweek, Besic is sure to have his hands full this weekend, as he looks to keep an in-form Silva quiet.

The Bosnian is swiftly establishing himself as a key figure for Roberto Martinez, with his ability to both win the ball and use it catching the eye. He has made more tackles per game (2.4) than any Everton outfielder, though the fact that he has also been dribbled past more times per game (1.7) and conceded more fouls per game (1.6) show the areas he can improve.

Silva will be a huge test. The Spaniard is in fine form, with four goals and an assist in his last four Premier League outings, and has been identified, with Yaya Toure absent, by Martinez as City’s key man. Cutting off his space and ability to get on the ball will be key if Everton are to get a result.


Back to something like his best in midweek, Everton will want Lukaku to retain that hunger and energy against City.

Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring against West Ham  

The Premier League champions hope to have Vincent Kompany available after a hamstring problem, but if not it will be left to the formidable Mangala to deal with Lukaku’s physical threat.

The French international has had mixed reviews since his £32m move from FC Porto, but is growing into his role at the Etihad. He likes the battle, competes in the air, though his desire to engage attackers quickly can often manifest itself as clumsiness. Everton, meanwhile, will hope Wednesday night provided the shot in the arm that Lukaku has needed. He scored in both meetings with City last season, and will be looking to build on that morale-boosting FA Cup strike against West Ham.


It is assumed that Joe Hart, having been on the bench for City’s last two games, will replace Willy Caballero for City at Goodison.

Hart made a crucial contribution to this fixture last season, denying Steven Naismith a goal which would have made it 2-2.

Joel Robles Joel Robles  

At the other end, Tim Howard enjoyed a rather less distinguished game. Howard, of course, remains sidelined, and so Joel Robles will continue. The Spaniard is yet to convince, though showed signs of improvement against West Ham, including a vital save from Enner Valencia which kept the Blues’ cup hopes alive. Everton will need a reliable performance from the former Wigan man, while simultaneously trying to expose any potential rustiness in Hart at the other end.


He’s unlikely to start the game, but City hope top scorer Aguero will be fit to play at least some part. The Argentine has not featured since the previous meeting with Everton back in December, when he was carried off early with a knee injury.

Sergio Aguero leaves the pitch after picking up an injury  

Everton, ideally, would hope his absence extends. Aguero, like Lukaku, scored in both meetings between the sides last season, and prior to his injury had netted 19 times in all competitions this term, including seven in his last six. James Milner has had some success operating in a ‘False Nine’ role of late, but is a different, and let’s face it less threatening, proposition to Aguero. Phil Jagielka and co will hope City’s medical staff err on the side of caution.

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