CAN Everton hold off Manchester City and qualify for the Capital One Cup Final? Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us his views.
Manchester City v Everton | Wednesday 19:45 | Sky Sports 1
How frustrating are Everton are at the moment? Down in 12th place this season of all seasons is not acceptable when you take a glance at the side that Roberto Martinez has crafted over the last three campaigns.
Chelsea, who have had a disastrous season, are just one point behind Everton and the likes of Watford, Stoke and inconsistent Southampton all sit above them.
I suppose if you had to label Everton this season I think the word soft works quite well. Just six defeats is the same number of Manchester United and only one more than Arsenal but a lack of wins (six also) is telling.
This side have won just one league game in their last 10 matches and have let slip late points at various points in that run. Here are a few key examples.
In November, Bournemouth equalised in the 98th minute against them, a 91st minute Marko Arnautovic goal gave Stoke three points against them and of course John Terry was the villain again two weeks ago as he scored very late to snatch a draw against the Toffees.
Above are various examples of Everton failing to see out a game but now here they’re being required to see out a tie against Manchester City. It’s a frightening thought.
Yes, Everton won the first leg at Goodison by two goals to one and that puts them in a strong position for this return leg at the Etihad. Bookmakers go as short as Evens that they qualify.
Everton’s record at Manchester City in recent years is fairly decent. They drew 0-0 there just two weeks ago and lost by the odd goal last season.
But of course, like always, it depends which Manchester City turn up. One things for sure, a few of their men won’t be arriving and that’s Vincent Kompany, Joe Hart and Wilfried Bony to name just three.
Their last home match was a 4-0 romp over Crystal Palace and if that intensive, hungry Man City turn up it will be curtains for Everton. Most of the time this season though that drive hasn’t been there.
They won this competition in 2014 and have been exemplary this season bar the defeat to Everton three weeks ago. If they really get their heads down they’ll go through.
But then there’s Everton. I’ve just got this feeling that Sunday’s defeat to Swansea will inspire them to absolutely fight here. Their season is falling apart but an appearance in the Capital One Cup Final would rescue it. Their opponents at Wembley would be Merseyside rivals Liverpool too so there’s another huge inspiration to perform here.
The doubters and haters are out in force for Martinez. His team simply need to produce here or the season will almost certainly be a write off. I’m backing them to stay within touch of City and siding with them +1 on the Asian Handicap at 11/10 with BetVictor.
Manchester City v Everton – Everton +1 Asian Handicap (11/10 BetVictor)
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