Manchester City-Everton Preview
Midfielder James McCarthy insists Everton are upbeat ahead of Sunday's match against early season pacemakers Manchester City at Goodison Park.
City have made a flying start to their league campaign, but the Toffees also made their mark with an impressive 3-0 win at Southampton last weekend.
After being held to a 2-2 home draw by newly promoted Watford in their opening match, Everton were unstoppable against the Saints, as two goals from Romelu Lukaku and a third from Ross Barkley earned the Merseysiders their first victory at St Mary's in over a decade.
McCarthy says morale is high among the Everton players and believes City can be beaten, especially with input from Everton's home supporters.
"It's always a tough place to come, Goodison Park, and as long as the fans are behind us again this week, it will make things difficult for Man City," McCarthy told his club's official website. "The fans are always massive for us. They traveled down in their numbers to Southampton and you could hear them from the first to the last minute.
"Everyone worked really hard and hopefully now we can carry that into City. It's been a good week in training and we've worked really hard. They have won two games on the bounce but the mood in our camp is very good and we go into the game really confident."
City are enjoying their best start to a Premier League season.
Manuel Pellegrini's side opened with a 3-0 win at West Bromwich Albion and followed that last weekend with a resounding 3-0 victory at home against defending champions Chelsea. Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho all tallied for a resurgent City.
The performance against Chelsea at the Etihad was superb and the margin of victory could have been much greater had it not been for the heroics of Blues goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
Skipper Kompany and key midfielder Yaya Toure were both back to their dominating best against Jose Mourinho's side after some decidedly subpar displays towards the end of last season.
Defender Bacary Sagna says City will be fully focussed on Sunday's trip.
"We have to forget about Chelsea now – that game is in the past now and we need to set the same standards, pace and energy levels against Everton," Sagna told his club's official website. "We need to take things game by game and keep going by playing with the same style and confidence.
"Everton have always been a difficult team to play against, especially on their own ground. They have really good young players, many of who play for their country such as Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley so this won't be an easy game for us - but we want to keep setting the pace, go there to win and show our intentions from the first minute on."
Toffees boss Roberto Martinez insists he has no worries about picking defender John Stones amid ongoing transfer speculation over a move to Chelsea.
City fullback Pablo Zabaleta has been ruled out for a month with knee ligament damage, while Argentina central defender Nicolas Otamendi, a midweek big-money signing from Valencia, is likely to start on the bench.
The Citizens took four points off Everton last season, including a 1-0 win at the Etihad in December. Toure's goal from the penalty spot after 24 minutes was decisive. The sides drew 1-1 at Goodison Park in January, with Steven Naismith's 78th minute goal cancelling out Fernandinho's strike four minutes earlier.
That draw at Goodison ended a three-match losing streak for Everton against City.
The Toffees have the edge over City in all-time Premier League meetings, with 17 wins and 13 defeats, and the teams have split points six times.
Everton have a good home record against City, going 10-5-3 in 18 Premier League matches on Merseyside.