Pre-match | Everton v Man City

Everton FCManchester City
Date: 16.00pm, Sunday 23rd August 2015

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MCFC SQUAD NEWS - Squad Information -Injuries/Suspensions

Squad (from): Caballero, Hart, Wright, Demichelis, Denayer, Clichy, Kolarov, Kompany, Mangala, Sagna, Fernandinho, Fernando, Lopes, Nasri, Navas, Silva, Toure, Aguero, Bony, Iheanacho

Injured
: Fernando,Delph, Zabaleta

Everton SQUAD NEWS - Squad Information -Injuries/Suspensions

Squad (from)Robles, Howard, Stanek, Stones, Jagielka, Coleman, Browning, Galloway, Oviedo, Cleverley, McCarthy, Barry, Barkley, Deulofeu, Besic, Osman, Kone, Lukaku, Mirallas, Naismith, McAleny

InjuredBaines, Gibson, McGeady, Pienaar, Hibbert

PREDICTED LINE UPS

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Sagna deserves to retain the right back spot but think Zabaleta may be used for this game.

MATCH ANALYSIS AND KEY BATTLES 

Manchester City and Everton are both going into this game on a high after 3v0 wins against direct competitors. Manchester City were dominant against Chelsea; a fantastic team performance causing many pundits to reconsider who the title favourites are. The fans witnessed a record attendance at the Etihad and were treated to fluid, progressive, attacking flowing football; an absolute joy to watch! Aguero on his return was fired up, a constant threat, lead the line and scored a passing accuracy of 95%; misplacing one pass the entire game. David Silva sang “Ring a Ring o’ Roses” as he danced around the Chelsea midfield, he ran circles round Matic and Ramires all game much to their fristration. The Chelsea midfield and attack whimpered “A pocket full of posies; A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down” as they looked to exploit the leniency shown by Atkinson.

Everton played brilliantly, utilizing the counter attack excellently in what was always a tough away fixture against Southampton. Lukaku exhibited why he is one of the highest rated young strikers in the Premier League with an awe inspiring performance. Lukaku was unplayable showed composure, strength and determination; was a constant threat down the left flank and centrally with his direct powerful running. He finished his two goals brilliantly and was clear man of the match. Barkley showed why he is rated one of the best Home grown talents in the Premier League. The Everton defence was impenetrable with strong performances from Stones and Jagielka centrally and a fit Tim Howard between the sticks is one of the best keepers in the Premier League.

This game has all the hallmarks of being a classic encounter and small margins could swing the balance of this game. In the 2014/15 season Everton have had more attempts from Direct Free-Kicks than any other team in the Premier League. Everton tend to win many freekicks on the edge of the box due to fouls on Barkley, Mirallas and Lukaku. Man City received much less fouls on the edge of the box but do have a much higher conversion rate (ranked 3rd overall for goals scored from direct free kicks) due to free kick specialists like YaYa and Kolarov. Baines is a set piece specialist, providing many assists and a real threat from set pieces and his absence through injury will be a big loss for Everton. I was looking at the free kick and distribution of fouls and was shocked by the statistics; Manchester City were awarded the least amount of fouls of any teams last season {310 to City compared to 487 for Man Utd} and City committed 50 more fouls {472 to 389} than Everton last season. This appears odd when you consider the amount of time City spend in possession of the ball; City were ranked 1st for ‘Possession in Final Third’, ‘Total Touches’, ‘Touches in Opponents Half’, ‘Touches in Final Third’ and ‘Touches in Penalty Area’ and 2nd for ‘overall possession’ and ‘overall possession in final third’. It would have made sense to me that a team on the back-foot who are defending, without the ball who need to make tackles, clearances and interceptions would commit more fouls but City aren’t in that scenario. Therfore to conclude it must be because we maintain possession of the ball for long spells of the game and when we lose the ball we press the ball aggressively; yet that doesn’t explain why the statistics are so extreme when comparing City and United. So we must consider a team who play a similar style in another league; let’s choose Barcelona as it’s no secret that this is the team that Man City aspires to replicate both on and off the pitch! I’m starting to understand why it often feels like the referee is not watching the same game as we the fans are when the sums don’t add up! Perhaps someone could explain that to me? The only logic I can see is that Eibar play in sky blue!

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I think the 2 key areas of this game will be central midfield and battle of the flanks. Midfield will be interesting as from last season’s statistics we can see that Man City won the least amount of tackles in the league compare to Everton who won the second most tackles 692 to the 932 lost for City. Everton tend to focus on attacking down the wingss and were ranked last for % Chances Created from the Centre last season. Everton predominately focus on bringing the ball out from the goal keeper and attacking down the left flank although this threat is diminished partially by the absence of Baines with Galloway or Oviedo likely to play left back, with Galloway the more likely starter despite poll from the Liverpool echo.

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LAST 10 FIXTURES

  • 20-Dec-10 Manchester City v Everton Loss 1-2
  • 07-May-11 Everton v Manchester City Loss 2-1
  • 24-Sep-11 Manchester City v Everton WIN 2-0
  • 31-Jan-12 Everton v Manchester City Loss 1-0
  • 01-Dec-12 Manchester City v Everton DRAW 1-1
  • 16-Mar-13 Everton v Manchester City Loss 2-0
  • 05-Oct-13 Manchester City v Everton WIN 3-1
  • 03-May-14 Everton v Manchester City WIN 2-3
  • 06-Dec-14 Manchester City v Everton WIN 1-0
  • 10-Jan-15 Everton v Manchester City DRAW 1-1

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MANAGER HEAD TO HEAD

Manchester City are looking for their 3rd win at Goodison since 1992, viewing the game from a positive perspective I think that City have hexed their hoodoo after beating Everton away on the 3rd of May 2014 in the run in to becoming champions. Statistics are interesting and if City get a result this time then the record books will show 7 points out 9 in last 3 trips. Pellegrini has the edge over Martinez in the last 5 fixtures with three wins and a draw. Martinez teams tend to play attacking free flowing football and he is a likable character and well-respected manager in Premier league circles after his terms at Wigan and Swansea.

Last 5 Fixtures

  • 16-Mar-13 Everton v Manchester City Loss 2-0
  • 05-Oct-13 Manchester City v Everton WIN 3-1
  • 03-May-14 Everton v Manchester City WIN 2-3
  • 06-Dec-14 Manchester City v Everton WIN 1-0
  • 10-Jan-15 Everton v Manchester City DRAW 1-1

REFEREE

Referee Appointments: Referee Anthony Taylor
http://www.football-lineups.com/referee/341/

Has officiated City games on 3 occasions, 2 wins and 1 loss against Wigan in the cup.

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BETTING ODDS

Oddchecker

Manchester City best ever result was a 6-2 away at Goodison Park in 1928, I do fancy City to go and attack Everton and if you fancy this result you can find odds of 350-1

Pre Match Thread | City v Chelsea

Manchester City V Chelsea FC

Date: 16.00pm, Sunday 16th August 2015
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Manchester City (2nd 2014/15) welcome Chelsea FC (Champions 2014/15) to the expanded Etihad stadium.
This will be the first home match of the season and the first match played in front of the new level 3 South Stand, extended singing section and an expected record Etihad attendance of just under 55,000. Exciting how quickly things have changed on and off the pitch with the state of the art Etihad Campus and the expansion; makes you proud to be a blue! Astounding really when you contemplate the progress and realize it’s only just over 12 years from the day City beat Barcelona in the first game at the City of Manchester Stadium.

The stadium will surely be buzzing with excitement and should be an important influence in motivating our players, let’s continue to make the Etihad an imposing fortress!

MCFC SQUAD NEWS

Squad Information - Injuries / Suspensions

Squad (from): Caballero, Hart, Wright, Demichelis, Denayer, Kolarov, Kompany, Mangala, Sagna, Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Lopes, Nasri, Navas, Silva, Toure, Aguero, Bony, Iheanacho

Injured: Fernando, Delph, Clichy

CHELSEA SQUAD NEWS

Squad Information - Injuries / Suspensions

Squad (from): Begovic, Blackman, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Ake, Hazard, Fabregas, Matic, Willian, Mikel, Ramires, Cuadrado, Loftus-Cheek, Moses, Traore, Costa, Remy ,Falcao

Chelsea have a clean bill of health although Oscar is doubtful, Chelsea will be missing Courtois for 1 match after seeing red vs Swansea despite appealing the decision.

POTENTIAL LINE UPS

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I anticipate Mourinho will play Zouma before Oscar. The selection of Fernando could be critical in defending set pieces; playing without his added height could be a huge risk as Chelsea are clearly dominant aerially.

We could use this perceived weakness as a strength by restricting the number of players Chelsea can commit forward leaving Sterling and Aguero forward on the last man with Silva on the edge of the box ready to pounce for a fast fluid counter attack.

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KEY BATTLES

Reading between the lines, I expect Mourinho to push Fabregas further forward for this match in hope that he can control the offensive play from this position. I believe Fabregas is much stronger than Oscar in this position and would have more impact dictating the Chelsea offensive play. Azpilicueta will be a defensive anchor on the Chelsea left allowing Hazard free reign to exploit the spaces that Fabregas will create in behind Zabaleta and between Zabaleta and Kompany. If Fernandinho and Fernando can limit the control Fabregas has and dominate this zone then this will greatly diminish the threat from Hazard and Costa.

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Silva and YaYa will be the creative stars for City supplying Sterling and Aguero.
Nasri with 4 goals in last 10 appearances will be unfortunate to miss out but think he will on this occasion; what odds for a Nasri winner from off the bench!?
The referee will require a strong performance as Matic is a very dirty player who for reasons unbeknownst to most is given freedom to kick lumps out of his opponents. The Sterling v Azpilicueta battle will be very interesting; Azpilicueta is rated one of the best defensive full backs in the league but Sterling has the speed and technical ability to devastate many defenders this season. The Chelsea defensive line tend to sit deep with Matic covering the zone directly in front of Terry but there should be space to be found by Sterling if he can utilize the switch of wings to exploit the gap that Ivanovic leaves as the more offensive full back.

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Defending with high intensity and the will to win the ball at set-pieces could be the difference between obtaining a key result in such an important fixture. We need Hart, Kompany and Mangala to be a dominant force attacking each set-piece delivery into our box. More than 35 % of goals conceded were from set-pieces last season and with this being one of Chelsea strongest attributes we must remain focused and ensure that we address this.

LAST 10 FIXTURES

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MANAGER HEAD TO HEAD

There has been vast media coverage about the Pellegrini - Mourinho head to head.
Managerial strategy, tactical knowledge, player management, mind games and media handling are key attributes when considering a manager. However the most important factor is team performance, team morale and being a good man; Pellegrin excels at this, let’s take a closer look at the history, similarities and how they differ in their approach to pursuing the title.

Both managers are well respected in football circles for their successes; it is clear Mourniho edges it from a trophy haul perspective. Both have managed Real Madrid; Pellegrini lead Madrid achieved 96 points, a club record until it was surpassed by Jose Mourinho in 2011–12 season after replacing Manuel.

The two managers have gone head to head as managers on 11 occasions, Mourinho amassed 7 wins, 3 draws and Pellegrini has achieved 1 win whilst manager of Malaga back in 2012. Mourinho teams have scored 29 goals compared to Pellegrini teams have scored 11 goals. So on the face of it that would appear that Mourinho has a clear edge over his rival.

This isn’t a shut case though when we consider the Chelsea to Manchester City head-to-head under these managers in which Chelsea lead 5 goals to the 3 of City. The fixture is usually a very tight affair, average 2 goals per game and has often been decided by an individual error or a moment of brilliance.

Mourinho has been very quiet on challenge expected from Manchester City thus far choosing a battle of words with Arsene Wenger. The lack of conflict has prompted many to question if Mourinho believes Manchester City aren’t a real danger to Chelsea title credentials.

Pellegrini is a honorable, honest, respected manager who applies integrity and ensures his main focus is improving his team not manipulating the media, referees or opposition players.
I’m sure this is one of the key reasons he is respected by his peers!
Don’t get me wrong i’m sure Mourinho is respected by other managers for his winning mentality.

I believe the charming man will engineer a clinical blow in this mental battle against Mourinho!

Madrid 7-0 Malaga | Malaga 0-4 Madrid | Madrid 3-2 Malaga | Malaga 0-1 Madrid |
Madrid 1-1 Malaga | Malaga 3-2 Madrid | Madrid 6-2 Malaga

Chelsea 2-1 Man City | Man City 0 – 1 Chelsea | Man City 1 – 1 Chelsea | Man City 1 – 1 Chelsea

SEASON EXPECTATIONS

It seems pre-season that all the talk is of Another Title For Chelsea? 
EPL Preview 2015-16 provides an interesting insight into the Chelsea title defense.
The majority of pundits have them as favourites which is hard to question due to the stability of the playing squad and ease in which they won the title last season.
That’s 4 out of 5 pundits of the 53 polled that think Chelsea will win the league this season !

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The squad stability was very apparent when selecting the best 11, I think most people could predict the majority of starters in the Chelsea line-up. On the contrary ask 10 City fans and they would all provide you a different starting 11; that’s not a knock, to me it highlights the strength of the City squad, element of surprise and that we don’t actually know our strongest starting 11. There is not a definitive answer though as there will be plenty of opportunity for all to impress, the one area perhaps we would benefit from improved stability and less rotation is in defense.

It appears Manchester City are currently flying under the radar with very few pundits predicting a title challenge and some that we will miss out on top 4!
The EPL 2015-16 Season Preview – Manchester City makes for interesting reading with City seen as somewhat an unknown. City finished trophy-less and second after what many described as a disappointing season but their were positives; many of the statistical analysis was positive, Aguero winning golden boot and Hart the golden glove (his 4th). The real damage was done mid-season when we seen a return of 15 points in 12 games, I expect that come the end of the season Manchester City will be challenging for the title with Chelsea. Let’s hope City can take the positives out of last season and learn from the mistakes.

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REFEREE
Referee AppointmentsREFEREE: Martin Atkinson Bradford

Positives: Referee for our 2011 FA Cup final / 2014 Football League Cup final wins.
His First Premier league game was an away victory for Manchester City against Crystal Palace in a game where he awarded 2 penalties converted by Anelka and Andrew Johnson.

Negative: Poor time keeping lead to Michael Owen 96th-minute goal in the derby.

Atkinson has never refereed a match between the two teams so no previous history for this fixture.

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ASST. REF. 1: Stephen Child Kent
ASST. REF. 2: Mike Mullarkey Devon
4TH OFFICIAL: Jon Moss Leeds

BETTING ODDS
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New Branch Logo

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Dundee day out

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Arsenal Ticket

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Newcastle (H) – Capital One Cup – 29.10.14, K.O 19.45 hrs – Deadline is midday this Sunday 5th October

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BBQ & AGM @ Highland Hotel – 2nd August

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