Moyes Sets Sights On City
Everton boss keen to test City's 'period of difficulty'.
David Moyes has hinted he believes Everton could be facing title-chasers Manchester City at just the right time.
Roberto Mancini's side have won all but five of their 22 Premier League outings this season and sit three points clear of reigning champions Manchester United.
January, however, has seen the Citizens crash out of the FA Cup at the hands of their neighbours and nearest rivals, while defeat over two legs against Liverpool ended their hopes of an outing in next month's Carling Cup final.
Asked at his pre-match press conference if City's recent blip was a cause for optimism, Moyes initially said he wasn't sure, but added: "I think all sides go through a period of difficulty during the season. Man City are probably just in a little bit of that at the moment.
"They've lost a couple of boys to the African Cup of Nations, they've had a couple of disciplinary problems that they see as having not gone their way and it can sometimes just upset the rhythm that you've got at a club. So let's hope it is upset and we're going to hopefully catch them on an off night and us ourselves play very well."
Moyes, of course, need look no further than recent records if searching out a pinch of pre-match positivity.
Under his stewardship Everton have won seven of the last nine meetings between the two clubs, including the two most recent at Goodison.
A dogged defensive showing couldn't prevent a 2-0 defeat at Eastlands in September, however, and Moyes concedes City are generally stronger now than at any other point in his tenure.
"Obviously we lost at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the season, but I thought we played quite well on the day," he said. "We limited them up to about 75 minutes. We didn't have many attacking options on to cause them many problems, but at that time they were scoring freely.
"But we lost the goal by giving it away in the middle of the park and they scored in the 90th minute to make it two, then [Marouane] Fellaini had one kicked off the line in the last minute.
"We were in the game, but over the years we've always had a good record against Manchester City. The difference is that they've improved and you can see that by their league position.
"The players have got better, got a bit more belief, a bit more understanding playing alongside each other. We're coming up against a far better, far greater Manchester City side even than we played last season."
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