Premier League Preview: Everton vs. Manchester City

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Everton and Manchester City meet again on Saturday in the midst of a full slate of Premier League competition.

The last contest between these two crews ended in a 1-0 City win at the Ethiad; a Yaya Toure penalty kick was the only goal.

This upcoming match can be viewed online at 10 AM ET, via NBC Sports Live Extra.

[WATCH ONLINE: Everton vs. Man City stream]

Roberto Martinez was able to stabilize the plummeting form of his squad, as the Toffees drew West Ham 1-1 in FA Cup play, but in league action, Everton have let four games get away from them without points, a 2-0 result to Hull City on New Year’s Day highlighting their most recent defeat.

Against the Hammers, it was Romelu Lukaku, the club’s star striker a season ago, notching the late equalizer in injury time.

If Martinez’s side is to enjoy triumph, Lukaku’s presence often has a major significance accomplishing such a task, and the second half of the season may hold new opportunity for the 21-year-old Belgian.

Manchester City, on the other end, has unsurprisingly faced little adversity up to this point in the 2014-15 campaign, besides Sergio Aguero’s extended absence from the pitch.

Nonetheless, the Sky Blues’ firepower across the squad, as well as the emergence of Frank Lampard, is evident, and that’s why they stand around the stop of the PL table, tied on points with first-place Chelsea.

A 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup Third Round marks the latest result of Manuel Pellegrini’s side, which has maintained a 13-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

What they’re saying

Everton boss Roberto Martinez on City’s excellence (Everton official website): “I think the game against Bayern Munich was a real turning point for City. They got a winning goal against a fantastic team, which raised the confidence levels. From that point on they found a way to win in most of their games. They are in very impressive form and have never relied on one particular individual to win games, which is a great strength.”

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini on referring in England (BBC Sport): “No-one can win or lose the title on one refereeing decision. Maybe they can lose one game but in another they can give you a penalty or a foul that is not a foul.They can all make mistakes but it is very difficult to decide what happened in one second..By repeating on TV in five or six angles, it is more easy to demonstrate what has happened. I think referees in England are good. I don’t have any complaints.”

Match injuries/absences

Everton will have Antolin Alcaraz coming back from serving a suspension. Leighton Baines is fit despite missing the FA Cup draw to West Ham. Defender Sylvain Distin is out with a groin injury.

For City, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko are ready to perform, overcoming leg ailments to possibly make their debut after a month out. Vincent Kompany’s hamstring is healed up enough for his appearance, too, and Yaya Toure will be absent, leaving for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Prediction

Everton plays well in this one, generating threatening attacking and converting their chances. City slips up a bit, but manages the draw regardless. Everton 2-2 Manchester City.