Manchester City look to respond after a first league defeat last weekend, as they face Everton who are unbeaten in three games at the Etihad.
Manchester City’s week could have gone from bad to worse had they not been inspired by Leroy Sane who scored a brace to help beat Hoffenheim during midweek in the Champions League. That game right after Manchester City had endured their first league defeat of this season at the hands of Chelsea last weekend, and Pep Guardiola’s side will now be looking for a response against Everton.
That loss to Chelsea ensured they slipped on the table, effectively letting Liverpool take top spot albeit just by a point at this stage. However, a win against Everton could make them take the top place for the time being, with the hope that Liverpool loses or drop points against Manchester United on Sunday.
Man City’s opponents on Saturday, Everton come into this game in decent form themselves. However, the most crucial stat the Merseysiders carry with themselves is their unbeaten streak at the Etihad which currently stands at three games. With Everton already strengthening in the summer, a win could prove to be a difficult task for Pep Guardiola’s charges to accomplish as Marco Silva would be ready.
Everton, however, only have one win in their last five games in the league, and needed a last-gasp goal from Lucas Digne to salvage a point against Watford on Monday. On the other hand, there’s the record against top six sides this season, as the Toffees have suffered three of their four defeats this season against those sides, and this might not be the right time to face the reigning Champions.
Team News & Tactics
Pep Guardiola has mixed news on the injury front. There are a few key stars who are returning from their respective injuries, although there could be further bad news after David Silva is ruled out of the Everton game. However, star striker Sergio Aguero is on the verge of returning to the side, as the Argentine needs only two goals to reach the 250 league career mark.
Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne also returned to training recently, although the Belgian would still feel short of match fitness and the Everton game would come too soon. Additionally, midfielder Fernandinho could also make his return from a thigh problem which kept him out of the win over Hoffenheim.
In defence, Benjamin Mendy remains out of the side, and John Stones is set to undergo a late fitness test to determine his place in the squad after the England center back was forced off at half-time in midweek. Guardiola is expected to keep his standard 4-3-3 formation into play, and it will be interesting to see if he continues with Raheem Starling up front or start Sergio Aguero.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3) – Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Delph; B.Silva, Fernandinho, Gundogan; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
Everton have a full-strength squad ahead of the Manchester City game; however, midfielder Idrissa Gueye, who limped off against Watford may not be available to play against the Champions. Other than that, Marco Silva does not have any concerns with his side and has the luxury to field his best possible lineup.
Silva could let Richarlison lead the line yet again against City. The Brazilian’s eight league goals so far have helped his side to nine points till date, which is also the highest for a player in the Premier League this season. In defence, Silva could line up a four-man unit, with Coleman and Digne as fullback supporting Micheal Keane and Yerry Mina in central defence.
If Gueye is fit to play then, the midfielder will partner on-loan star, Andre Gomes. Walcott and Bernard could play in either side of Siggurdsson with Richarlison up front for Everton.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1) – Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Gueye, Gomes; Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Richarlison
- Manchester City have won just two of their last seven games against Everton.
- Everton have drawn each of their last three away games against Manchester City in the Premier League.
- Among teams that have faced Manchester City at the Etihad on 10+ occasions in the Premier League, no side has avoided defeat in a higher percentage of their games than Everton.
- Manchester City haven’t lost consecutive Premier League games since December 2016, when they lost against Chelsea and Leicester City
- Manchester City have won their last nine Premier League home games by an aggregate score of 33-6.
1. Manchester City vs Everton – Everton Asian Handicap +2.5 @ 1.500
Player To Watch
Sterling is at the peak of his form after starting this season like the last one when his side won the championship. The English forward has 17 goals and nine assists in 21 Premier League home games since the beginning of last season and has become one of Guardiola’s most trusted players.
More importantly, Sterling reportedly endured racist behaviour from Chelsea fans last weekend and has been all over the news. The forward will be more than motivated to put in an accomplished performance against Everton and silence those doubt or mistreat him. Against Everton, he has an excellent chance to show what he can do for the side and hurt Everton when his team needs to the most.
Manchester City 2-1 Everton
Manchester City are the clear favourites in this clash with Everton. The Toffees have their strengths in areas, but City are an overall unit; well drilled and always performing. The Chelsea defeat for the Champions came merely as a set back while their midweek win showed their resilience and grit to churn out a victory.
City, on the other hand, will be happy to have top scorer Aguero back in action and taking Everton’s record this season against top-six sides, it is safe to predict a victory for Guardiola’s men. Everton might be able to overpower Man City for a goal or so, but the Citizens, due to their superior firepower ensure the three points are theirs.