Everton v Manchester City preview: Wilfried Bony misses Capital One Cup semi-final
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 06/01/16 8:01pm
Manchester City will be without striker Wilfried Bony for Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Everton.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini confirmed the Ivory Coast international would miss the trip to Goodison Park due to a calf injury, although he is expected to return in time for Saturday's FA Cup tie at Norwich.
Wednesday's game is the second of three pivotal games for City as they look to maintain their quest for domestic silverware on three fronts, with Saturday's late win at Watford ensuring they remained in contention for the Premier League title.
Everton's improved defensive display in Sunday's draw with Spurs would have been welcomed by boss Roberto Martinez, who has had to withstand criticism for his side's frailties at the back in recent weeks.
The Toffees are just two wins away from booking a place at Wembley - and with it the chance to end a 21-year wait for a major trophy - and they'll need to produce a similarly resilient performance to overcome City's star-studded squad.
Everton will select from the same squad that drew 1-1 with Tottenham on Super Sunday. Joel Robles will play in goal instead of Tim Howard, as he has throughout the competition.
Captain Phil Jagielka (knee) and midfielder Steven Pienaar (hamstring) could both return at the weekend but James McCarthy's hip problem is likely to keep him out until the end of January.
In addition to Bony's withdrawal, City will be without captain Vincent Kompany, who is recovery from a recurring calf injury, and long-term absentee Samir Nasri.
Everton have played Man City twice in the League Cup; winning one (in the quarter-final in 1987/88) and losing one (in Round Four in 1969/70).
Man City haven't lost an away League Cup game since September 2010, losing 1-2 at the Hawthorns to West Brom. They've won six out of seven away games in the competition since.
This is Everton's first appearance in the League Cup semi-finals since 2007/08 when they played Chelsea, losing 3-1 on aggregate.
The Citizens' last appearance in the semi-final of the League Cup was in 2013/14, when they won 9-0 on aggregate against West Ham.
Everton haven't conceded more than twice in a home League Cup game since October 1995 when they were beaten 4-2 by Millwall at Goodison Park.
Man City are one of only three teams to score six goals in a League Cup semi-final game, winning 6-0 against West Ham in January 2014.
Romelu Lukaku has netted three goals in four League Cup appearances this season.
Man City have had seven different scorers in the League Cup this season, more than any side left in the competition and fewer than only two sides (Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday) across the competition as a whole.
Everton are not clinical enough up front or defensively for me and it's costing them. Tom Cleverley has done well but I prefer James McCarthy in there and when he doesn't play they suffer. They also over-pass, for me. They have to find a solution to their style of play and need to start grinding out wins.
Having said that, they have a good record at home against Man City, who will rest one or two and are really poor on the road. Everton are safe and the majority of their supporters would want the chance to see their team play at Wembley in a major final.
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I'm not saying they can't finish in the top four in the Premier League this season, of course they can, but it's a game they should go for and try and win - and I have a sneaky feeling they will.
Charlie predicts: 2-1, Barkley first goalscorer (60/1 with Sky Bet)
City won the season's opener 2-0 at Goodison and it's 10/1 for a repeat of that scoreline on Wednesday night. Romelu Lukaku is 11/2 to net the first goal and 7/4 to score in 90 minutes, while Kevin De Bruyne is 15/8 to net anytime for the visitors.
Check out tips from our Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp, Charlie Nicholas, Phil Thompson and Matt Le Tissier here.
Watch Everton v Manchester City in the Capital One Cup semi-finals, Wednesday, 7.30pm, Sky Sports 1 HD.