Manchester City will have the chance to jump to the summit of the Premier League when they take on Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday night.
Gameweek 25 of the Premier League will end with a match pushed forward from Gameweek 27. Everton play hosts to Manchester City at Goodison Park in a match that cannot be played two weeks from now due to the visitors’ involvement in the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea.
It has been one step forward, two steps back for much of the season for Everton, with Marco Silva unable to get his charges to find any semblance of consistency at any stage of the season. Their blow hot blow cold form is reflected in the Premier League as well, with the Toffees managing just three wins in their last ten games, a run of results that has seen them lagging in the race for seventh spot.
Manchester City, on the other hand, have been consistent themselves by their own high standards. While Pep Guardiola’s men have won nine of their last ten games, their inexplicably sub-par performances in the Premier League against Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Newcastle United have resulted in shock losses that have seen Liverpool take the lead in the title race.
The reverse fixture, played two months ago at Etihad, ended in a comfortable 3-1 win for Manchester City, with Gabriel Jesus scoring a match-winning brace, and another such result will see the champions leapfrog Liverpool to the top of the table. The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Marco Silva does not have many pressing injury concerns hampering his preparations for the visit of Manchester City. On Wednesday, the Everton boss will be without just three first-team footballers, whose absence is mitigated by other players within the squad.
Yerry Mina (foot), Leighton Baines (rib) and Phil Jagielka (knock) are all on the sidelines, and some away from making their return to action. Baines did feature last time out against Wolves, but a recurrence of his injury sees him go back on the treatment table.
But, with Lucas Digne available again following his one-match ban, Silva does not have much to worry about. The absence of Mina and Jagielka too, is covered by Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma, although the duo need to be more consistent than they have been lately. As does Everton skipper Seamus Coleman, who has been far from his best in the last month or so.
In midfield, there is another piece of good news, with Marco Silva confirming that Idrissa Gueye is fit to return. The Senegalese midfielder will be eager to put a tumultuous final week of January behind him, having been heavily linked with a move away from Everton.
Gueye will be partnered by Andre Gomes, who scored his first goal for the Toffees this past weekend against Wolves. Gomes has been one of the few positives in recent weeks for Everton, who will need him to perform at his best so as to stand a chance against Manchester City. Meanwhile, form is a major concern for Silva as far as attack is concerned.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s form has dropped off a cliff, but the Icelandic playmaker should start. As should Richarlison, despite his inconsistencies. The other two spots in attack though, should see some rotations, with Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin returning to the starting lineup.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne; Gueye, Gomes; Lookman, Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin
Pep Guardiola does not have any fresh injury concerns, with Vincent Kompany (muscle injury) and Claudio Bravo (Achilles) the only long-term absentees. Benjamin Mendy is nearing a return to action, having suffered a setback on his first match upon recovering from a knee injury.
The Frenchman, however, is unlikely to start against Everton, with an appearance from the bench being more likely. The Manchester City boss though, should continue to make rotations all over the park, starting with the back four, where only Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte are likely to hold on to their spots.
Laporte is expected to have John Stones as his partner at the heart of the Manchester City defence, while Fabian Delph should return in the left-back slot. In midfield, Bernardo Silva is now a certain starter, with the ‘perfect’ Portuguese receiving high praise from Guardiola in his pre-match press conference.
Silva should drop down to the midfield for Wednesday’s match, with David Silva dropping to the bench. Ilkay Gundogan is likely to be benched as well, with Fernandinho returning to Manchester City’s midfield three as the Anchor Man, while Kevin De Bruyne will be the second playmaker alongside Silva.
Up ahead in attack, Raheem Sterling should hold on to his place in the side, as should Sergio Aguero, who was taken off immediately after he scored his hat-trick against Arsenal. The final spot in the side though, is expected to be taken by Leroy Sane, who only made an appearance of the bench this past weekend.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
- Everton have won only one of their past 11 Premier League fixtures against Manchester City – a 4-0 triumph at Goodison Park in January 2017.
- Manchester City could win consecutive top-flight away fixtures at Everton for the first time since 1992. The defending champions are also hoping to do the Premier League double over the Toffees for only the second time.
- Everton have lost five league games in a row against teams above them on the table, managing just one win in nine attempts.
- Since the beginning of December, only Huddersfield Town and Fulham have earned fewer Premier League points than Everton’s 11.
- Sergio Aguero has scored just one goal for every 358 minutes he has faced Everton, his worst goal-per-minute record against any Premier League side.
Player to Watch
After a summer to remember in Russia that was followed by widespread reported interest in his services, the 2018-19 season has not exactly gone to plan for Jordan Pickford. While the English goalkeeper has been one of the standouts in a forgettable campaign for Everton, he has struggled to maintain the same level of performance as he produced at the World Cup.
Now though, with Manchester City paying Goodison Park a visit, it will be up to Pickford to remain solid throughout so as to give the Toffees a glimmer of hope to pick at least one point. If, however, he ends up giving in to his tendency to produce a howler, another long night could be on the cards.
Everton 1-3 Manchester City
Manchester City have been far from their best on the road in the Premier League in recent weeks. In fact, the Premier League champions have lost three of their last five away games in the top-flight, which would give Everton a sniff at grabbing a positive result from the game.
But, the Toffees are on a bad run of form themselves, having managed to win just three of their last 12 Premier League games. And, with Pep Guardiola’s men signalling a proper return to form against Arsenal this past weekend, a tough match could be on the cards for Marco Silva & co.
The Hard Tackle expects a comfortable evening for the visitors, who should go on win the match 3-1 to jump to the top of the Premier League table.