The Big Match Preview: Everton vs Manchester City (Premier League)

Just like that, we’re right back in the title race. Who would’ve thought, especially with the way they were playing, that Liverpool would drop points against Leicester and West Ham. A win tomorrow night could see City return to the top of the Premier League on goal difference. Of course Liverpool will then have a game in hand, but that game is against none other than Manchester United at Old Trafford, who look rejuvenated under Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola reacts on the touchline after Manchester City’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

City now need to focus on the tasks in hand, and the first is a tough trip to a struggling Everton side. City’s recent record has been relatively good at Goodison Park, but last year’s trip was the most impressive; in just 30 thrilling minutes, the blues scored three brilliant team goals. The first came directly down the left when the three left footers combined – Aymeric Laporte played it into David Silva who sat it up beautifully at the back post for Leroy Sané to volley home. Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling added to the score line before half-time to seal a victory for City, which put them on the verge of their third Premier League crown. 

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MARCH 31: Fernandinho of Manchester City and his teammates applaud fans after the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park on March 31, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

In terms of team news, Pep Guardiola confirmed in Tuesday afternoon’s press conference that Vincent Kompany is ruled out of any participation as he continues to recover from his latest injury. Eliaquim Mangala and Claudio Bravo also remain injured and will not feature in this one. Benjamin Mendy may play a part in the game as Pep Guardiola has said he’s taking his recovery ‘day by day’. 

Everton are in poor form under manager Marco Silva and go into the game after losing four out of their last six Premier games. To top that, a shock defeat in the FA cup against Millwall in the Fourth Round means there is increasing pressure on the Everton boss to secure a relatively high-placed finish this season.

Everton have injury concerns at the back as summer signing Yerry Mina is set to miss the game with a foot injury. Leighton Baines hobbled off in his sides 3-1 defeat against Wolves on Saturday. Marco Silva has also confirmed defender Phil Jagielka will also play no part on Wednesday. The Toffees will be boosted by the return of Lucas Digne from his one match ban, as well as the return of Idrissa Gueye, who has recovered from a minor groin strain.

City will have to be aware of the threat Everton have within their ranks. Our Brazilian blues in particular will be aware of Richarlison who has been impressive so far this season notching 14 goals in all competitions. Andre Gomes, on loan from Barcelona, has been a dictator in the centre of midfield and has put in some performances that have showcased his quality. 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: Richarlison of Everton FC runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Everton FC at Etihad Stadium on December 15, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Against Arsenal, City set up in a way we’ve ‘not seen before’, as stated by Fernandinho confirmed in his post-match interview. City played with a 4-3-3 when defending with Fernandinho sitting alongside Nicolas Otamendi in the heart of the defence, with Aymeric Laporte moving to left back. But when in attack, the Brazilian moved next to Ilkay Gundogan in midfield, making it a three at the back, with Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva in their usual number eight positions, with Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva out wide. However, I’m sure Guardiola will opt for his trusty, regular 4-3-3 on Wednesday night with a few changes including Leroy Sane coming back into the side.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 03: Fernandinho of City in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal FC at Etihad Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Sergio Aguero is now only two goals off leading goal scorer Mohammed Salah in the race for the golden boot and will look to continue his charge on Wednesday night. I almost feel sorry for Gabriel Jesus with the Brazilian starting 2019 in incredible form, but City’s number 33 has been left out of the team for a number of games now. His time will come, and it’s a fine dilemma for Pep Guardiola to have.

So the next chapter of a thrilling title race continues and let’s hope the blues come away from Goodison Park without fault on Wednesday night. The top of the Premier League table is finally in sight once again for Manchester City.

You can follow Harry on twitter here: @HarryASiddall

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