The last time Manchester City lost a Premier League game at The Etihad was on the 20th December 2010 and Everton were the opponents. Now, with the champions hosting Everton this Saturday, can David Moyes be the one to end Roberto Mancini's Etihad stranglehold?
This weekend will see Everton travel to Manchester and take on the Champions at The Etihad Stadium. While not many will see a huge significance in the fixture those who can remember back to the 20th December 2010 will know why this fixture is so noteworthy. That was the last time the Champions lost a game at home in the Premier League and since then they have managed to go unbeaten at The Etihad for a mammoth 36 Premier League games.
It is a similar pattern to the fortress mentality that brought Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea team such success during his time at Stamford Bridge and that level of home form has been paramount to their recent title win. Last season the closest they came to defeat at home was in a 3-3 draw with Sunderland; the only points dropped at The Etihad in the entire season, yet Mancini knows that this weekend’s game with Everton may represent their biggest threat to the impressive record.
Of course they are the last team to have achieved the feat with goals from Tim Cahill and Leighton Baines proving crucial in a game which saw Phil Jagielka score an own goal and both teams reduced to ten men. However Everton, in general, have had it good when travelling to the blue side of Manchester in recent years. Before the 2-0 win in September last year Manchester City had lost the previous four occasions they entertained Everton at home; and while much changed for City during that time the same cannot be said for Everton.
Most of the Everton players will have fond memories of The Etihad stadium from previous successful visits and the fact they could be at the start and finish of Manchester City’s highly impressive home run will be the icing on the cake of anticipation that The Toffees have of toppling City.
Neither team comes into the game playing particulary well. Everton seem addicted to draws at the moment and while they were vastly improved against Arsenal in mid-week City toiled to a win against Wigan at the DW.
It is a tired cliché of football that ‘real champions win when not playing well’ but in reality it is a cliché buried in truth. City have not been their inspiring selves this season but they have still been as clinical as ever when it comes to grabbing the maximum points on offer.
Everton are sweating on the fitness of the vital Leighton Baines for the fixture which could prove pivotal to any chance of ending the City run this weekend but even if Baines is missing there are not many teams better equipped to end the golden home run for Manchester City then David Moyes’s men this Saturday afternoon.
Can Everton beat Manchester City this weekend or will the Champions be strong enough to take it to 37 not out?