EVERTON v MAN CITY – City battle bogeymen

Manchester City’s meteoric rise in the domestic game has seen them neutralize many a nemesis, en-route to the pinnacle of the Premier League.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal are all regularly put to the sword nowadays…not so Everton.

Roberto Mancini’s men have shown themselves more than capable of taking down their top four rivals, so why is a trip down the East Lancs Road  always greeted with a sense of trepidation?

The answer is as simple as it is savage. City have a 10% win rate on the blue side of Stanley Park since returning to the top flight in 2002 – just one in 10 seasons – it’s an appalling record.

It’s as if a cloud of dour inevitability hangs over City and a gut-wrenching air of defeatism envelops the team, when facing up to David Moyes’ battle hardened troops.

Everton, on their day, are a team capable of beating the finest sides in the land with a camaraderie and taste for combat not many can match.

But, with the exception of Leighton Baines and Maruane Fellaini, City wouldn’t accommodate any of an EFC starting line-up in their first XI.

Moyes seems to have made it ‘personal’ when he comes up against City, ever since Joleon Lescott was lured away in the most acrimonious of switches from the royal to the sky blue shirt, during Mark Hughes’ ignominious managerial stint.

It’s all the more galling that the Glaswegian gargoyle masquerades as the devil’s disciple, in cahoots with old Beelzebub himself,  lurking in the Swamplands of Trafford Borough.

Moyes may share his roots with Fergie and admire the graceless knight, but it didn’t prevent him from grabbing that sensational 4-4 draw and inflicting  incalculable damage on United’s title hopes last season.

After 11 years without silverware he’s at a managerial crossroads and perhaps set to leave Everton this summer. His reluctance to sign a new contract, and all the consequent speculation, is cited as a primary reason for stuttering form in recent games.

Normally praised and lauded, Moyes is attracting more criticism than plaudits, after his side’s meek surrender to unfancied Wigan in the FA Cup.

Sadly, it’s a different story when he comes up against City. He’s lost just five of 20 PL games and, coming off the back of one of his all-time lows, he’ll want to vent his spleen against the team he loves to hate.

His teams  always raise their game against City, but the time has come for Mancini to manoeuvre his Mancunian forces and exact vengeance on a wounded adversary.

Negativity is swirling all around Everton like a dust storm – a cauldron of frustration, disappointment and uncertainty. City need to seize the moment and squeeze the footballing life from a formidable foe.

With no Vincent Kompany or Sergio Aguero, City will be minus critical elements of their battle group. Kompany will miss his eighth consecutive game and Aguero his third – the consolation being the outstanding form of centre backs Matija Nastasic and Kolo Toure along with striker Carlos Tevez.

There’ll be no reunion for the sidelined Jack Rodwell at his former club and Micah Richards and Maicon are still absent.

Everton will likely be missing keeper Tim Howard and defender Phil Jagielka – two of their most influential players. Howard’s replacement, Slovakian keeper Jan Mucha, has looked unsure in recent matches so City need to bombard his goal at every opportunity.

Moyes has previously deployed man markers on Silva to try and negate the architect of all that is good in City’s forward play. He may do so again.

Baines is a menace down the left flank, so expect to see the industrious and combative James Milner motoring up and down, tirelessly tracking his England colleague. Nullify Baines and Everton’s supply lines are severely impaired.

Nonetheless, Fellaini is a perennial danger. The mop haired marauder will be eager to restore his reputation after incurring the wrath of the Everton fans in the wretched Wigan showing. City will have to render him containable and not permit him to be unplayable.

With four wins, 12 goals scored and none conceded since their own horror show at St.Mary’s, City must maintain momentum and keep believing that United will falter.

A win at Goodison could prove irresistible in the run up to one or potentially two Manchester derbies next month. City simply have to fight ‘till the end – they could yet be handsomely rewarded.

FORZA MANCINI.

40 Comments

  1. March 14, 2013  9:17 pm by fifthcolumnblue Reply

    I've actually got more hope for this visit to Goodison than I've had for ages.

    We've finally exorcised the ghost of Stoke, so Neverton's version of thuggery should be child's play. Add to that the fact that the fans are pissed off with both Moyes and Microphone head and I'm optimistic we'll get a result.

    1-2 City

    • March 14, 2013  11:15 pm by David Walker Reply

      Let's hope so - 13 more wins this season - not asking much!

  2. March 14, 2013  9:25 pm by Cheryl Reply

    'Old Beelzebub himself' ha ha you keep them coming week after week. That blue sense of humour runs right through you doesn't it. Fab read!!!!!

    • March 14, 2013  11:17 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks - humour kept us going in the dark days, so we shouldn't lose it in the brighter moments.

  3. March 14, 2013  9:28 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    City smashed one long standing bogey record earlier this season at Arsenal...why not another at Everton?
    This could be tricky, though....the home supporters were certainly more than restless following their limp display in the Cup against Wigan. There are probably still howls of anguish coming out of Liverpool L4 even now once the Cup semi final draw was known.
    A physical presence at Villa in the shape of Benteke was dealt with superbly....a repeat with Fellaini, please, Kolo and Nasty!

    • March 14, 2013  11:18 pm by David Walker Reply

      Good call - let's make sure Microphone Head stays switched off.

  4. March 14, 2013  9:49 pm by roy sykes Reply

    Definitely a case of 'beware the backlash' Everton can't play that bad two weeks running, City however are built of sturner stuff, they'll need to be.

    • March 14, 2013  11:19 pm by David Walker Reply

      We can outplay them - just need to match their physicality or at least not submit to it.

  5. March 14, 2013  10:00 pm by Ed Reply

    Will be happy with a 2-0 win and Tevez on the scoresheet again.

  6. March 14, 2013  10:18 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    I have a deep seated hatred for Everton,no idea where it came from but i've had it for many years so to smash them into the dust would keep me smiling for weeks. Don't think that will happen though but i'll take 1-0 thank you very much as its another 'must win'. Top read again David....cheers!!

    • March 14, 2013  11:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Andy - we can win. We will win - long overdue.

      • March 15, 2013  10:37 am by fifthcolumnblue Reply

        One thing's for certain - There is not a chance in hell of Phil N.Evil screwing up the offside trap twice and gifting us 2 goals as he did against the rags a couple of weeks ago.

        Not that I'm accusing him of anything underhanded of course...

        • March 15, 2013  12:05 pm by david walker Reply

          Perish the thought that anything underhand ever goes on in games involving our red brethren from across the way.

  7. March 14, 2013  10:52 pm by Dave Bones Reply

    Nice read David as per usual,I think the reason Everton played so dreadfully against Wigan was simply down to the fact that the bluedippers were saving themselves for there favourite fixture of the season.City.

    • March 15, 2013  7:20 am by David Walker Reply

      More than likely but we have superior personnel - we just need to prove it on field of play.

  8. March 14, 2013  11:54 pm by Philip Entwistle Reply

    Perfectly put Dave. Everton under Moyes recently have become the anti-christ, a team with obvious talent but relaying on thier 'dogs of war' mentality to get them through. When teams battle them head to head and have the nouse to stifle thier game they can as Wigan did reap the rewards.
    Less of this bullshit, lets just go and play football and we can and will reap the reward of 3 valuable points.

    • March 15, 2013  7:17 am by David Walker Reply

      Indeed young Philip - play them off the park - class to conquer sweat = EFC tears.

  9. March 14, 2013  11:57 pm by Alan Baxter Reply

    My least favourite ground in the country (other than the obvious) very little atmosphere, crap infrastructure, and yet they always seem to make us struggle. Fergie's acolyte must feel like he owes his idol one after he won us the title last year with the draw at the swamp, but, I fancy another Villa type result on Saturday. We'll take home 3 points as well as the splinters from the seats.

    • March 15, 2013  12:17 am by David Walker Reply

      Goes against the grain to criticise #EFC seats! We can win this time - just need to be quick out of the blocks.

  10. March 15, 2013  6:59 am by Chris Williams Reply

    Your spot on there aren't many teams in the Premiership that actually have camaraderie and work ethic that Everton show. If we can match their superior work rate, our class in key areas should show through.

    We've put Arsenal and Stoke away hoodoo's behind us this season and as long as we stay focused and take our chances Everton will be next.

    • March 15, 2013  7:19 am by David Walker Reply

      It can be done & should be done - Bobby Manc should heed lessons of the past. No reason other than psychological, that we shouldn't win.

  11. March 15, 2013  12:29 pm by carol Reply

    beautifully eloquent as usual, I'd have just said "lets smash the bastards" but thats why you're a writer and I'm not

    • March 15, 2013  9:10 pm by David Walker Reply

      But you have passion for MCFC - that's more important - cheers Blondie

  12. March 15, 2013  1:39 pm by Ben Curley Reply

    Nice read pal. Fergies lover sure does like to play against us. Hope we stick a result up them. We're man city and we most certainly fight til the end. FORZA MANCINI

    • March 15, 2013  9:11 pm by David Walker Reply

      Let's hope we turn the history book on it's head and take three precious points.

  13. March 15, 2013  2:23 pm by Kev Russell Reply

    Another meaty, flowing preview for this bogey fixture. I cannot see Moyes allowing his troops to roll over again this season so am expecting a full blooded affair. He will want to win v us to demonstrate his bounce back ability after recent poor performances (for his summer CV). If we match them in the grunt areas then our class should be enough to force a tight win. This will put more pressure on the rags to keep the points difference. Mmmm I wonder !!! Thanks again David. #TopScriber

    • March 15, 2013  5:36 pm by david walker Reply

      '...grunt areas...' very eloquent young Kev - you should have a go at this blogging lark yourself! Thanks for feedback - don't know why but I feel the pressure is off City, albeit it's still a must win game. Time to stop under achieving at Goodison and impose a new order - City to edge a meaty affair.

  14. March 15, 2013  6:10 pm by Arthur Spedding Reply

    Enjoyed your blog once again. I dislike ' the Glaswegian gargoyle ' ( Ha , Ha ) almost as much as ' Old Beelzebub ' so let's hope that for once we give a mint performance against the toffees. Look forward to reading your report of our win.

    • March 15, 2013  9:12 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Art - hope it'll be a sweet win which the Gargoyle finds hard to swallow.

  15. March 16, 2013  9:20 am by Steve White Reply

    Dam fixture is such an unknown. We need to be on our game and well up for a fight. Lets hope our boys take 'pride in battle' today.

  16. March 16, 2013  9:27 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

    Absolutely bang on #BluesBrother skill and class count for very little if not accompanied with courage and fortitude and an appetite for the battle. FORZAMANCINI #FIGHT'TILLTHEEND

  17. March 16, 2013  10:45 am by Russell Carson Reply

    Thanks David, we are due a win at Goodison and I've decided today is the day! Also fancy Garcia to score.

    • March 16, 2013  11:56 am by David Walker Reply

      Garcia from a set piece 1-0 - that'll do nicely

  18. March 16, 2013  10:47 am by karen Reply

    after chatting with an Everton fan recently he said Fellaini was not being booed because of his performance but that they believe he is on his way out of the club.
    Great read as always David.

    • March 16, 2013  11:57 am by David Walker Reply

      We could do worse than take him as an enforcer - Everton would be interested in some of our players this summer.

  19. March 16, 2013  11:48 am by Simon Price Reply

    My own hatred of Everton comes from Howard Kendal ! I remember being a young man and watching him walk out on to the Maine rd. Turf with a City flag raised above his head ..... I thought that our time had come ! How long till he scuttled back from whence he came ?
    Anyway ..... The wait was worth it ! Tevez for a couple today I think

  20. March 16, 2013  11:59 am by David Walker Reply

    Yes, it seemed like a brave new dawn when Kendall arrived...and then the darkness descended once more. But then we went into Mega wattage #SheikhMansour & BobbyManc.

  21. March 16, 2013  12:14 pm by Debi Walker Reply

    Super read spot on as always - hate playing Everton as a real bogey team for us - need to really go for it x

  22. March 16, 2013  12:19 pm by David Walker Reply

    Absolutely - out of the blocks - no tippy tappy stuff. Yaya will be a big loss today but we have to stand up and be counted.

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