football manager

Everton v Manchester City: COC preview

Goals expected in Goodison first leg

Everton and Manchester City are 5/9 to both score in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final at Goodison Park.

Both teams have had their defensive problems this season but have some serious firepower at their disposal as they aim to take a step towards a Wembley final.

City started the season with five successive clean sheets but it has been a struggle at the back since then, especially in the absence of captain Vincent Kompany, and they have managed only three clean sheets in all competitions since their first match in September.

Everton, meanwhile, have managed only one clean sheet at home and that came against the Premier League’s bottom club Aston Villa in November.

Boss Roberto Martinez said: “Away from home we've conceded nine goals, but we've conceded 20 at Goodison, and clearly that's costing us a lot of points. We want to work hard to correct that. We need the understanding of our fans to make sure we make a top team into a winning team.”

Everton have enjoyed only three home wins, having been held 1-1 by Spurs at the weekend, and were beaten 2-0 by City in August. They are 13/5 underdogs to win the first leg and 11/4 to progress to the final.

Martinez admitted he would have preferred the legs to be the other way around, saying: “When you've got a two-legged affair, you want the second leg at home.

“I know Goodison will be rocking and what we're going to see will be special. I think the League Cup has been a phenomenal competition for us. We've seen the home and away support helping the team to get through.

“I feel that playing at home, Goodison at its very intimidating best, we can face anyone and we're looking forward to replicating the level of our performance against Spurs.”

City are evens to win the first leg and 51/20 for victory in a match in which both teams score. They are also the 5/4 favourites to win the competition.

Boss Manuel Pellegrini, who oversaw League Cup success two years ago, said: “It is important when you are in a competition always to try and win it. We have won three previous games already and now we are in a semi-final. It is a double game of 180 minutes.

“I think that for the team, the club, for everyone, it is always important to win a title. It is very beautiful when you finish at Wembley, full of people, so it is very important for us to win.

Regarding Everton’s vulnerability at the back, he added: “We are not going to change our style of play because Everton concede less or more goals. We normally try to play as an offensive team, to create options, to try to score the most amount of goals we can.

“We don't think it will be easy because Everton conceded some goals in the last game, because every game is different. We are going to try to continue our style and I hope we can score goals.”