Moyes hopes City have off night

Moyes’ side have an excellent record against City, particularly

at home, having lost just one of the last 13 Premier League

meetings between the sides at Goodison Park.

Yet Moyes feels City’s dramatic recent rise renders a lot of

those statistics as irrelevant and is hoping the league leaders’

difficult January continues.

City still hold a three point lead at the top of the table but

have gone out of both domestic cup competitions since the turn of

the year and been without some key players.

Moyes said: “I think all sides will go through periods of

difficulty during a season and Man City are probably just in a bit

of that at the moment.

“They have lost a couple of boys to the African Nations Cup and

there have been a couple of disciplinary things which they see

haven’t gone their way. It can sometimes just upset the rhythm at

the club.

“Let’s hope it is upset because we are going to have to

hopefully catch them on an off night and us play very well.

“Over the years we have always had quite a good record against

Manchester City.

“The difference is they have improved, and they have improved

from last season. You can see that from their league position.

“Their players have got better, there is more belief, more

understanding playing alongside each other.

“We are coming up against a far better, far greater Manchester

City side than even we played last year.”

Relations between the two clubs have been strained in recent

times, most notably during and after City’s acrimonious

£22million signing of Joleon Lescott from Goodison in summer

2009.

Moyes and City manager Roberto Mancini also clashed on the

touchline during Everton’s win at the Etihad Stadium in March 2010

but the Toffees boss has respect for his opposite number’s

work.

Moyes said: “I think Barcelona might be a better squad but I

don’t know if there is a more expensive squad.

“It has been accumulated very quickly and to be fair to

Manchester City, they have done a good job, they have done it

really well.

“They have got themselves a team which is going close to winning

the Premier League.”

Despite that, Moyes expects his team – trailing in a lowly 14th

place 28 points behind City – to compete fully, as they did against

them in the reverse fixture last September.

He said: “We lost 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium but I thought we

played quite well on the day.

“We limited them up to 75 minutes. We didn’t have many attacking

options to cause them many problems but at that time they were

scoring freely.

“We lost a goal when we gave the ball away in the middle of the

park then they scored in the 90th minute to make it two and

(Marouane) Fellaini had one kicked off the line in the last

minute.”

Everton’s form ahead of the contest is indifferent with just one

win from their last six in the Premier League. The Merseysiders

have also managed just three wins from their 11 home fixtures.

They at least go into the game in good heart after seeing off

Fulham 2-1 with a hard-working performance in the FA Cup fourth

round last Friday.

Moyes said: “We are in the next round of the FA Cup. It doesn’t

always matter how you get through, you just want to get in.

“Hopefully, if there is any way it helps us towards the league,

then great. You can never tell but hopefully the result gives us a

bit of confidence.”