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Crystal Palace (A) Sat 31 Jan 2015, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Vieira Wary Of Everton Encounters

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

Patrick Vieira has warned his clubs past and present that Everton are more than capable of earning maximum points this week.

The Blues welcome Arsenal to Goodison on Wednesday evening before visiting the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City on Saturday.

And Vieira, who made over 400 appearances for the Gunners and is now Football Development Executive at City, believes David Moyes' side have the quality to claim one of the coveted Champions League berths - even at the expense of his former or current employers.

He told "Everton showed just how good they are in the first game by defeating Manchester United. If they don't have too many injuries during the season, they can finish in the top four.

"A small squad is always difficult, but I believe if they have all their players fit, they can definitely challenge with anybody for that fourth spot.

Vieira in action against former Blue and current Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta in 2003.

"At Arsenal, it was difficult to play against Everton because when you arrive, you know what to expect. The crowd, the players - you know you have to be ready or you will have no chance of winning. We were well prepared but always had a tough game."

The former France international has been pleased with the way both his associated clubs have started the season. A busy summer saw several changes at the Emirates, while the Citizens look to cope with increased expectancy following their dramatic title win last campaign.

"Arsenal, with their new signings, are doing really well," said Vieira. "I still follow them. When you spend nine years at a football club, you still have a feeling for them. They have always been a good side that plays good football.

"With Manchester City, I think winning the league last season has added more pressure on our shoulders. But when you look at what the club has done in the last few years, that's part of the game. It's normal and so far this year, it's been good.

"The team has been playing well. We had a difficult start but we look like coming back to our best. We are confident but we know that if we want to win the league again, you have to be at your best because there are no easy games."

City's Football Development Executive witnessed Everton's 1-0 win over the Manchester side in January 2012.

Vieira was speaking to at Finch Farm, a base the World Cup and European Championship-winning midfielder believes is up there with the best he has seen.

"I have to be honest, I am really impressed with the quality of the training ground," he enthused.

"As a football player, you want the best so you can challenge and improve yourself. I believe the facilities here are fantastic for the players.

"I was welcomed very nicely by the people here. You feel that Everton is a really warm football club - the hospitality has been fantastic."

Tickets are still available for Wednesday's game between the Blues and Arsenal. To secure your seat, click here, call 0871 663 1878, visit the Park End box office or our city centre outlets in Everton Two and the TicketQuarter.

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