Everton must put the disappointment of crashing out of the FA Cup behind them when they welcome Manchester City to Goodison Park on Saturday, says Matthew Desai.
The Blues were the victims of a shock three goal defeat to Wigan in last weekend’s quarter-final, but a victory over the current champions would be the perfect tonic to give David Moyes’ side the chance to finish the season with some momentum.
Manchester City will have to take near enough maximum points from now until the end of the season if they are to have any chance of overhauling their rivals’ twelve point lead at the top, and in Everton they face a team who have beaten them on their last three visits to Merseyside.
Three goals in four minutes condemned The Toffees to a 3-0 defeat in last Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Wigan. Maynor Figueroa headed in Wigan’s first from Jordi Gomez’s corner, before Phil Neville horrifically slipped in Callum McManaman to double the scoreline. Moments later Everton’s fate was effectively sealed, when Gomez caressed home Arouna Kone’s square pass.
Manchester City burst into the last four of the FA Cup with a romping 5-0 win at home to Barnsley last weekend. Carlos Tevez’s hat-trick was added to by goals from Aleksandar Kolorov and David Silva as Roberto Mancini’s side look to lift the trophy for the second time in three years.
Everton are likely to still be without Phil Jagielka as the centre-back continues to recover from a damaged ankle. Tim Howard’s back injury, while not as serious as first thought, keeps him sidelined, so Jan Mucha will continue in goal.
The visitors should have Carlos Tevez fit, despite the three-goal striker being withdrawn from last weekend’s defeat with a hamstring problem. Samir Nasri, who limped out of the same game with a thigh injury, is unlikely to feature. Jack Rodwell’s Goodison Park return will have to wait, as the midfielder nurses yet another hamstring problem. Sergio Aguero (knee), Vincent Kompany (calf), Micah Richards (knee) and Maicon (knee) are all likely absentees.
Everton had an absolute stinker last Saturday, and added to Marouane Fellaini’s escapades, David Moyes’ contract fiasco, and the boardroom debacle which Stan Collymore so kindly brought to the nation’s attention on Monday night, there is little reason to be an optimistic blue at the moment. However, as Evertonians know only too well, football can be a funny old game, and just a week on from thinking an Everton regime had gone full circle following a 3-0 quarter-final defeat, three points on Saturday would leave The Toffees with an interesting couple of months ahead.