Table of Contents
Manchester City’s dream of a quadruple hangs in the balance Saturday as they face Everton in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
After making it safely through to the last eight in the Champions League this week, the Sky Blues will look to move a step closer to their first FA Cup triumph since 2019.
For the Toffees, they’ve hoping to reach the semi-finals of this competition for the first time since 2015-16.
Everyone is available for Man City heading into this clash, and you can expect to see a very different side than the one that beat Gladbach 2-0 in mid-week.
Nathan Ake hasn’t played since being injured while on international duty with the Netherlands back in November.
He is healthy, but it’s unclear whether or not Guardiola will give him a start.
Eric Garcia has started the last two FA Cup ties alongside Aymeric Laporte, so it’ll be interesting to see if Pep Guardiola goes with the same pair in central defence.
Raheem Sterling hasn’t started in the past three games, so he could get the call in the starting 11.
Carlo Ancelotti will have to contend with starting third-string keeper Joao Virginia after Jordan Pickford aggravated a rib problem last weekend against Burnley while second-choice keeper Robin Olsen is nursing an abdominal muscle injury.
That’s just one of the many injury problems that Toffees are facing ahead of Saturday’s match.
James Rodriguez, Fabian Delph, and Abdoulaye Doucoure are all out through injury.
Way Back When
It’s been quite some time since these sides have met in an FA Cup tie.
It was the 1980-81 quarter-final where both sides drew 2-2, forcing a replay which City won 3-1.
These sides have met once this season, with City coming out on top 3-1 from Goodison Park.
City has won the last six encounters with the Toffees with all of them coming in the Premier League.
Beaten by the best
Everton has done well to get to this point of the competition, but now they’re playing against some of the elite teams, and that’s something they’ve struggled with in the past.
The Toffees have lost four of their last five FA Cup matches against Premier League opponents though they did take out Tottenham in extra time in the previous round.
Delivering the Goods
Everton has had their struggles against the Citizens recently, but they’ve been at their best in this competition when they play at home.
The Toffees have won four of their last five FA Cup home games.
The last time they won five straight at home in this competition happened between January 1999 and January 2000.
Both teams have some explosive options in attack, but lately, they’ve both been very tidy at the back.
It is no surprise for City as they’ve been the best defence in English football, giving up a league-low 21 goals in the Premier League.
They are seeking a third consecutive clean sheet on Saturday.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team has tightened up defensively themselves with three clean sheets in their last five games.
They’ll need to be sharp Saturday as Joao Virginia makes only his third appearance ever for the Toffees senior side.
The 21-year-old from Portugal replaced Pickford just before half-time last weekend and did not concede.
Third time’s a charm?
Man City are seeking a third straight trip to the semi-finals of this competition, something they haven’t achieved in a very long time.
The last time they did so was between 1931-32 and 1933-34.
Jesus take the wheel
One City player who loves the FA Cup and loves playing Everton is Gabriel Jesus.
The Brazilian striker has seven goals in his last six matches against the Toffees.
He’s been involved in 13 goals in just 14 FA Cup appearances for the Citizens in his career.
He’ll be eager to score Saturday as he’s never netted a goal in the quarter-finals of this competition.
City manager Pep Guardiola says going up against the Toffees is never easy.
“Quarter-finals at Goodison Park against Everton, it’s always tough.
“We were there a few weeks ago, and we know how difficult it was to beat them. We won in the second half because of exceptional actions from Bernardo (Silva) and Riyad Mahrez.
“But we fought a lot, (Dominic) Calvert-Lewin is back, and he is an important striker for them this season.
“But at the same time, it’s the last game before international break, and hopefully, we can finish well before we start in an important part of the season.”
Saturday’s match from Goodison Park kicks off at 5:30 pm. (JSL).