Everton-Manchester City Preview

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Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is on top of his game at present and leading his side's pursuit of Premier League leaders Chelsea. The in-form Aguero will undoubtedly be a key player as City take on Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. Defending champions City (9-3-2) extended their winning streak to three league matches after battling back from an early deficit to win 4-1 at Sunderland in midweek, with Aguero scoring twice to take his season's tally to 19 goals in all competitions. Stevan Jovetic and Pablo Zabaleta also tallied for the Citizens who secured their first victory at the Stadium of Light since 2008. The win lifted City into second place and within striking sight of Chelsea, who are six points clear at the top of the table. City boss Manuel Pellegrini was full of praise for his team and Argentina striker Aguero, who he insists can become even better. "I am very happy because I always say it is important to be an attractive, offensive team so the fans can enjoy the game," Pellegrini told his club's official website. "In the last three games, we have scored ten goals. We are trying to have an important amount of goals every game and it is important to defend well also. "I am very happy for Kun (Aguero). He is only 26 years old and I think he can improve every day. He is playing a very high performance but there are so many years left for him to strengthen." After last season's fifth-place finish, Everton (4-6-4) have been underwhelming, and manager Roberto Martinez's side are 11th with 24 points from 14 top-flight matches. The Toffees have slipped into the bottom half of the table after winning just one of their last five games. In some ways, Wednesday's 1-1 draw epitomized Everton's season thus far. Tigers substitute Sone Aluko's equalising goal in the second half denied the Blues maximum points after Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku had given Everton the lead after 34 minutes. "The two halves were very different," Martinez told his club's official website. "You saw a Hull City side that came to make things difficult, to be disciplined defensively with two energetic banks of four, but I thought we were fantastic in the first half. "In the second half it was really different. It is very difficult to be the way we are as a team and be creative without any energy. The longer the game went on the worse it was for us because we didn't have the energy to be ourselves." City captain Vincent Kompany will miss the Everton clash due to a hamstring strain, but Pellegrini is holding out hope he could be fit for next week's crucial Champions League clash with Roma. Everton forward Steven Naismith continues his recovery from a hamstring injury, while Samuel Eto'o could return after sitting out the draw with Hull. Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy faces a late fitness test on a hamstring problem that has sidelined him for two matches. City did the double over Everton last season, winning 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium as Aguero's goal in the 45th minute snapped a 1-1 tie. He also scored in City's 3-2 victory at Merseyside.