Everton face City looking to end awful record against champions

Tomorrow the Toffees take on newly crowned Club World Champions Manchester City at Goodison Park.
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton FC - Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton FC - Premier League / Gaspafotos/MB Media/GettyImages

Everton were defeated at Spurs in their last Premier League outing before Christmas, despite doing more than enough to get at least a point from the match.

Sean Dyche in fact claimed it was one of the best performances he had seen since becoming manager last January.

And of course, had Dominic Calvert-Lewin's goal not been so controversially ruled out by VAR, the Blues would have probably got that point.

Next Everton play champions City at the Grand Old Lady looking to try and end a terrible recent record against Pep Guardiola's side.

Worryingly, the Toffees haven't beaten City home or away in the league since January 2017 when they triumphed four nil at Goodison.

Furthermore, the Blues have only managed one draw in that time, last season's surprising result at the Etihad Stadium when they secured an unexpected point.

So all this history together with the undoubted gulf in class and quality between the two teams, would indicate that an away win is certainly the most likely outcome.

However, there might be room for some degree of optimism that Everton could overcome all these negative vibes tomorrow.

First of all the Toffees form has been excellent since the points deduction with their home record also improving considerably since the start of the season.

The team have now won their last two Premier League games at Goodison defeating decent sides in Newcastle United and Chelsea without conceding a goal.

In addition, City are on for them, an unusually bad run of form in the league having only won one of their last five matches and that was a come-from-behind victory over struggling Luton Town.

The new Club World Champions are also missing their talismanic striker Erling Haaland out with an injured foot, although he has an outside chance of returning tomorrow.

Potentially as importantly, midfield star Rodri is also a doubt after getting hurt during the Club World Championship. He would be just as, if not even more of a loss were he to be unavailable.

Finally, City are coming back from their trip to the Middle East and so they just might be a little fatigued too.

None of this means that Evertonians will be feeling confident going into the game on Wednesday. But there is perhaps a little justification for cautious optimism that it may be possible to bring a halt to that dreadful record.

Critical though, will be the strength of the squad that Dyche has to pick from and whether he will be able to select key players who have been missing recently,.

In particular, will Abdoulaye Doucoure, who has become such an important player in Dyche's system and the teams' leading scorer, have recovered from his hamstring problem. The answerappears to be no.

Along with Doucoure, Idrissa Gueye is also unavailable leaving Dyche depleated in central midfield, which is certainly not what he wants going into such a difficult fixture.

It means that Amadou Onana (who had a poor match at Tottenham) and James Garner will have to step up and perform well tomorrow.

Also Andre Gomes, who was excellent coming on for Gueye against Spurs, needs to continue to play well filling that attacking role Doucoure usually occupies. That is assuming he does start.

Realistically however, to have a chance of beating even an under-strength City side Everton will need to play as well as they possibly can, defend superbly as they have been doing and most of all, take their chances.

The Blues again paid the price for failing to finish well enough at Tottenham, although to be fair the Spurs keeper had a brilliant game and the Toffees also hit the woodwork.

Can Everton win tomorrow? It seems doubtful to be honest, but a draw would appear not an unrealistic hope and a point against the defending champions wouldn't be a bad one.