Manchester City return to the Etihad Stadium tonight bidding to overturn their one-goal deficit and progress to the League Cup final for the second time in three years when they host Everton in tonight’s semi-final second-leg.
The Citizens, who lost the first-leg 2-1 at Goodison Park three weeks ago thanks to goals from Ramiro Funes Mori and Romelu Lukaku, will take great heart in the fact that they have never lost at home in a cup competition against the Toffees (W3 D1).
However City have only once overturned a semi-final first-leg deficit to reach the final, when they defeated Middlesbrough 4-0 back in 1976 after losing the first leg 1-0.
Meanwhile tonight’s clash is only the second time the visitors have held a lead going into a League Cup semi-final second-leg. The last time was back in 1984, when Everton defeated Aston Villa to progress to the final, but ultimately be outfoxed by Merseyside rivals Liverpool at Maine Road.
The Toffees; who have never lifted the League Cup, possess a striker who seemingly loves the League Cup, with the Premier League’s joint top goalscorer Lukaku netting four goals in his five outings this season.
City forward Jesus Navas is also a fan of this campaign’s competition after he netted the hosts’ consolation goal in the first-leg back at Goodison Park, his first goal for the club since September 2014, a wait of 66 games in all competitions.
With the victors of tonight’s tie due to meet finalists Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on February 28; expect goals tonight as Manuel Pellegrini’s side have won five of their past six home games in the League Cup, scoring an almighty 27 goals in the process.
Furthermore; the Citizens have only failed to find the back of the net in one of their past 26 competitive home matches in the last 12 months, although that exception was the goalless draw against Roberto Martinez’s Everton in the Premier League just a fortnight ago.
City boss Pellegrini has already confirmed that goalkeeper Willy Caballero will deputise in goal ahead of regular number one Joe Hart for tonight’s semi-final second-leg.
However the Chilean manager will be without defenders Aleksandar Kolarov, Eliaquim Mangala, Vincent Kompany, plus midfielder Samir Nasri and striker Wilfried Bony.
Meanwhile opposite number Martinez saw Kevin Mirallas (Tendon) and Muhamed Besic (Hamstring) retreat to the treatment room this week after both midfielders suffered injuries in the 2-1 Premier League defeat at home to Swansea City on Sunday.
Other than fellow midfielder James McCarthy (Groin) being sidelined until early next month, Everton have a fully fit squad to try and reach their first League Cup final since 1984.
League Positions: Manchester City – 2nd (44 pts); Everton – 12th (29 pts)
Previous Meeting: Manchester City 0-0 Everton, January 13, 2016 (Premier League)
League Form: Manchester City – WDWDWD; Everton – WLDDDL
Key Players: Manchester City – Sergio Aguero; Everton – Romelu Lukaku
Shoot Says: Manchester City 2-0 Everton