It promises to be an intriguing clash between two of the season’s early pacesetters and so, to get you in the mood, here’s a look at some classic clashes, as well as a tribute to a man equally revered at both Man City and Everton…
The Last Time
A man who has switched sides in this particular rivalry was at the centre of a storm when City last hosted the Toffees at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League.
Although the match was a relatively low key and goalless affair, there was high drama in the closing seconds when the home side had a penalty appeal turned down in controversial circumstances.
Most pundits agreed after the game that Raheem Sterling had been fouled by John Stones as he cut back from the left byline inside the area but, crucially, that wasn’t how referee Roger East saw it.
Then-City boss Manuel Pellegrini disagreed with the decision, saying: “The whole stadium could see it was a penalty. It was so clear, so near for the referee and both legs of Raheem were taken and it was a clear foul from Stones.”
One To Remember
City didn’t have to wait too long to take out their frustrations at those two dropped points on the Toffees as the teams met once again in the League Cup semi-final second leg at the Etihad, just a fortnight later.
The Merseysiders had edged out Pellegrini’s men in the first leg, winning on the night 2-1, and it got even better for them in the 18th minute when Ross Barkley extended their aggregate lead with 18 minutes played in Manchester.
Fernandinho quickly brought his team back within a goal six minutes later but a combination of profligate finishing and dogged defending inflated Everton hopes that they could set up an all-Merseyside League Cup final.
Enter: Kevin De Bruyne in the 66th minute. The Belgian stepped off the bench and made an immediate impact, scoring four minutes later, before setting up Sergio Aguero’s header with a perfect, arcing cross from the right.
That gave City a 4-3 aggregate win but the night would take a darker turn before the 90 minutes were up as De Bruyne suffered a knee injury which would rule him out for the lion’s share of the second half of the season.
A great win at great cost.
One to Forget
City 0-1 Everton – 13 December 2008
Sadly, there are plenty of candidates for this one from recent years… until very recently, our home record against Everton made for pretty punishing reading.
We’ll settle on the especially galling last-minute defeat to Everton when Tim Cahill headed home in injury-time.
The sight of the now-Melbourne City midfielder performing his traditional corner-flag-boxing celebration on that fateful night was etched into the collective sub-conscience of supporters for years to come…
One We Both Love
Studies have shown that if you put a City and an Everton supporter together for more than two minutes, the conversation subject will inevitably drift towards the effortless brilliance of Gareth Barry.
A rare case of a player with talents that seem to be only fully appreciated by fans of his team, Barry is the antithesis of a “Match of the Day” player – a selfless component in a team’s system who rarely ever drops below a 7/10 match rating.
The former England international is still going strong at Goodison Park, even with his 36th birthday approaching, and recently joined an elite club of players to reach 600 Premier League appearances.
Only Ryan Giggs and Frank Lampard had done that before – a testament to his enduring quality and the high standards he’s set himself throughout his 16-year professional career.
He'll be sure of another warm welcome on his return to the Etihad on Saturday afternoon.