Pep Guardiola takes his Manchester City side to Goodison to face an Everton side who look formidable under the tutelage of Ronald Koeman.
Everton have recovered from hiccups, with convincing wins under their belt over formidable opponents in Arsenal and Southampton. Ronald Koeman has also seen Morgan Schneiderlin arrive in a big money move from Old Trafford and would hope to use him to secure a positive result against Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City, too, have recovered from the 4-2 defeat to Leicester City and even though they suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to Liverpool, they have otherwise secured wins, including a 2-1 win over Burnley, a game where the Citizens were down to 10 men.
This fixture is important for Manchester City, with other rivals also facing tough opponents. The Citizens can climb to third on the table if all goes according to the script.
The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the news surrounding the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
Ronald Koeman has two new signings at his disposal, something he had prioritised ahead of the window. Morgan Schneiderlin and Ademola Lookman have arrived from Manchester United and Charlton Athletic respectively and are in contention to make their debut in front of the home crowd.
And Koeman would hope it’s a good one, if he does decide to hand them their debuts on Sunday. Idrissa Gueye, the in-form midfielder, will be a sore miss as he is away at the African Cup of Nations while Tom Cleverley has joined Watford in a loan deal till the end of the season.
Maarten Stekelenburg and James McCarthy have regained fitness after a spell on the sidelines and are available for selection on Sunday. Other casualties include Muhamed Besic, Matthew Perrington, Bryan Oviedo, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and summer signing Yannick Bolasie.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg; Coleman, Funes Mori, Williams, Baines; Schneiderlin, McCarthy; Valencia, Barkley, Lookman; Lukaku
Vincent Kompany, who has failed to feature since suffering a knee injury against Crystal Palace in November, is in contention to play a part at Goodison while Leroy Sane is also set to be fit and available for selection. Kevin De Bruyne is a doubt with illness, but is expected to be fit in time for the fixture.
New signing Gabriel Jesus is ineligible to play while Fernandinho is suspended for the game. Fernando is an injury doubt, which really limits Guardiola’s options in the middle of the park, especially with Ilkay Gundogan set to be out for a long time.
Sergio Aguero is likely to start, especially after his amazing finish from a very tight angle in the 2-1 win over Burnley. Raheem Sterling is set to occupy one of the two wing places while the other one is likely to be a battle between Nolito and Leroy Sane.
Yaya Toure is set to start again after turning a new leaf in the aftermath of a very public fight between Guardiola and the player’s agent, which had put his City future in jeopardy. The Ivory Coast veteran has since carved out a place for himself in the manager’s plans through important contributions and impressive displays.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bravo; Sagna, Otamedni, Stones, Kolarov; Bruyne, Toure, Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
1. Everton Asian Handicap +0.5,1.0 @ 1.850
2. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.66
3. Over 10.5 Corners @ 1.80
4. Manchester City Asian Handicap Cards +0.5 @ 1.80
1. Ross Barkley to score anytime @ 4.00
1. Everton are without a win in their last six meetings with Manchester City in the Premier League, losing 4 and drawing 3.
2. Leighton Baines is currently on 49 assists and could join the 50 club. In doing so, the player would become the first defender to touch the 50 mark.
3. Three of Everton’s last five goals against Manchester City have been scored by Romelu Lukaku.
4. The fixture is set to be a direct clash between two of the top and in-form strikers in the Premier League. While Aguero has 4 goals in his last games, Romelu Lukaku isn’t far behind with 3 in similar amount of games with an assist to his name as well
5. While Everton are without a win in their last six Premier League meetings with Manchester City, the Toffees have lost just 1 of the last 4 Premier League clashes, drawing the other 3.
Everton FC 3 – 3 Manchester City FC
Goodison has provided some pulsating encounters this season. And this fixture looks set to be another one of those electrifying matches that is bound to produce several chances. And going by their respective defensive records, it looks set to be a high-scoring game.
And the result might just be skewed towards The Toffees. Playing in front of the home crowd, with two quality additions to their roster, Ronald Koeman might just surprise Pep Guardiola and his men. However, City are not expected to give up without a fight, which is why we have tipped for the game to end in a high-scoring draw.