Thứ Tư, 6 tháng 1, 2016
Two teams that love to attack, playing for a place in the final of the League Cup – Everton vs Manchester City on Wednesday promises to be a cracking Capital One Cup semifinal first leg.
Having watched Liverpool and Stoke City play out a nervy first leg, both these sides, while being wary of giving away too much, will want to grab as big an advantage as possible going into the second leg. With the match taking place at Goodison Park, the onus is certainly on Everton to do just that, and while their attackers are certainly capable of banging in the goals, it is the defence that is the worry.
Everton's defensive record has been quite poor this season – they have conceded 29 goals in 20 matches in the English Premier League – and if they are to seal a place in the final of the Capital One Cup, the back-four will need to remain solid over the two legs.
"It is always important to make home advantage count," Everton manager Roberto Martinez said. "But in the same way you need to make the most of being at home, you need to be able to cope with playing away and not being affected by the home team's support.
"To get to Wembley, you need to be perfect, and I just feel with everyone's help we can become a perfect team and put in a perfect performance. We all know the quality that we have and the character and focus of the players. That allows us to believe we can compete against anyone on the day."
It will be easier said than done, though, considering Manchester City's firepower up front. With Sergio Aguero getting back to his usual groove, City, as they showed in the come-from-behind victory over Watford at the weekend, have the quality to explode at any moment, and Everton will need to be diligent, and then some, against Manuel Pellegrini's men.
Having said that, though, this contest might suit Everton a little bit more, because Martinez's men are at their best when given a chance to counter-attack, and you feel City, even away from home, are likely to have the ball more.
Manchester City will look to the 2-0 victory picked up at Goodison Park early this season in the Premier League, knowing full well a similar result and they will have a foot-and-a-half in the final of the League Cup.
Team news: Everton: James McCarthy is ruled out of this match against Man City, while the semifinal comes too early for Phil Jagielka, who is, instead, expected to feature in the FA Cup at the weekend. Joel Robles will be given an opportunity to make his mark in goal.
Manchester City: Wilfried Bony has been added to the injury list, which also includes Vincent Kompany and Samir Nasri, after the Ivorian picked up a calf problem.
Where to Watch Live
Everton vs Manchester City is scheduled for a 1.30 am IST (8 pm BST, 3 pm ET) start with live TV coverage in India on Ten Action and Ten HD. The match can also be watched via live streaming online in India on Ten Sports Live.
Viewers in the UK can watch the League Cup semifinal match live on Sky Sports 1, while Everton vs Man City can also be live streamed online on Sky Go.
Audience in the US, Canada, France, Middle East, North Africa, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia can watch the first leg of the Capital One Cup semifinal live on Bein Sports. The live stream option is on Bein Sports Connect.