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City v Everton opposition view

We spoke to Evertonian Tom Morris Jones from Jackson Canter ahead of tonight’s semi-final clash.

You can follow Tom on Twitter at @TomMorrisJones.

How would you rate your season so far?

5/10 - 5 for the attack, 0 for defence. We've scored as many as Leicester in 2nd but conceded more than Swansea in 18th which tells its own story. It's frustrating because everyone can see we have the best squad in years. It'd be a shame to let it go to waste.

What are your hopes for the rest of the season?

If we sort out the back then we can push for Europe in the league, without a shadow of a doubt. Particularly with how up and down the league is this year. But failing that, it'll be a season in which we pin most hopes on a cup. Win one and we're in Europe anyway.

Who is your most important player?

Romelu Lukaku - You have to go a fair way back to find the last time Everton had a striker that could score 31 goals in 44 games in a calendar year. He always had that raw talent, but it needed refining when he came on loan. 

You can tell he has been working on all round game; his hold up and link up play, his positioning. I often forget he's only 22.

Everton have some of Europe’s brightest young players in Stones, Lukaku, Deulofeu, and Barkley. How far can this team go?

It's all about keeping that team together. We saw how much of a story Stones to Chelsea was, and I fear that similar sagas might happen in the summer.

Those players deserve to be playing in European competitions though, so we need to deliver that to keep them interested.

If we can keep them for another two or three years, we'll go from strength to strength and be pushing for 4th.

Gareth Barry got the assist for the winning goal in the first leg and was touted after the game as one of England’s greatest players. 

How much of an impact has he had at Goodison since his move from the Etihad?

He's definitely the unsung hero of our team. He's second in the league for most distance covered this season which is incredible - he's 34! He keeps the game ticking - spot danger, stop play, find space, play it, repeat.

I think there are quite a few players where you never see what the fuss is until they play for your team and you watch them week-in week-out. Barry is one of them.

What will be the key battle in today’s game?

We'll look to play on the break, which means that we'll need to soak up a lot of pressure. The second half of the game on the 13th was attack vs defence, with Howard in unusually outstanding form.

Our Cup keeper Joel has stepped up the plate so far, but we need to keep the back four tight, and don't concede corners, because it's a foregone conclusion that we'll concede from them at the moment.

We'll have to look to keep Aguero and Sterling quiet, don't give them the space. Besic against Toure should be interesting too.

If you could place any City player in your team, who would you choose?

Aguero - When he's fully fit and firing he's the best in the league.

If you could place any past Everton player (in his prime) in the current team, who would you choose?

Our keeper situation this season has been worrying to say the least. Normally it'd be Dixie Dean or Duncan Ferguson, but we don't need goals in this team, we need stability in the back. That's why I'd go for Neville Southall. He'd sort it out.

Predicted starting XI:

Joel

Stones, Jagielka, Mori, Baines

Barry, Besic

Mirallas, Barkley, Deulofeu

Lukaku

Score Prediction: 1-1

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