Manchester, United Kingdom – Manchester City return to domestic action against Everton with manager Manuel Pellegrini looking for a reaction following his team's humiliating Champions League loss to title-holders Bayern Munich.
City's start to the season has been wildly inconsistent and Pellegrini will be keen to sign off with three points before the international break.
Since arriving in pre-season, his new side have been outstanding in 4-0 and 4-1 Premier League victories over Newcastle and Manchester United but sloppy in a 2-0 win over Hull and a goalless draw at Stoke, and undermined by defensive errors in 3-2 defeats at Cardiff and Aston Villa respectively
But while they controlled the match at Villa Park, they were utterly outclassed by Bayern in a 3-1 defeat at Eastlands on Wednesday.
Roberto Martinez's Everton are the only remaining unbeaten team in the Premier League this season, with the Merseysiders have won three and drawn three so far.
And City defender Micah Richards said the home team would need to raise their game considerably if they were going to salvage something from a difficult week.
“We'll look forward to Everton and try to get a better result,” he said. “We've had two disappointing results. Against Villa we played really well and didn't get the points we wanted and we didn't play well against Bayern.
“It's two poor results and hopefully we can make it better at the weekend.
“We want to play again quickly and get it out of our system. We're used to being better than everyone else and playing the nice football and against Bayern we were taught a lesson,” Richards admitted.
Given the amount of running City's players had to do on Wednesday, Pellegrini is sure to make changes for Saturday's early kick-off match.
Spanish winger David Silva returned from a month out with a thigh problem as a substitute against Bayern but midfielder Jack Rodwell and defender Martin Demichelis both remain on the sidelines with respective hamstring and knee injuries.
Everton's Belgium winger Kevin Mirallas is doubtful with an ankle injury, while Darron Gibson is struggling with a knee problem and South African midfielder Steven Pienaar and Paraguayan defender Antolin Alcaraz are ruled out definitely.
Martinez, who arrived before the start of the season, will look to extend Everton's fine recent record against City, which has seen them win six and draw one of their last eight meetings, with the Toffees victorious in four of their last visits to Eastlands.
After opening the season with three draws, Everton have won their last three league matches and could move five points clear of Pellegrini's team with another victory at City.
But Martinez expects a significant reaction from City following their comprehensive defeat by Bayern.
“We have to remember that Manchester City are a top, top football club. When you are a top football club you know how to move from result to result and competition to competition without carrying any sort of damage with you,” the Spaniard said.
“I don't think it was one of those games which you can feel hurt by because the quality of the opposition was clear to see. That's why they are European champions.
“I don't think there is any shame to lose against a side like Bayern Munich,” Martinez added.
“You feel like they (City) will want to respond and get back to winning ways so that's why we will need to be perfect in many ways. We need to be prepared for a real reaction from Manchester City.
“We need to maintain the standards, maintain the level of performances and do it over the 38 games in the season,” said Martinez, who took over at Everton after long-serving manager David Moyes left to replace the retired Alex Ferguson as boss of English champions Manchester United.
Everton's Gareth Barry, on loan from Manchester City, is ineligible to face his parent club. – Sapa-AFP