This week’s Premier League adventure takes Pep Guardiola’s men on a trip to Goodison Park. The Champions will be looking to get all three points for the first time this season in a 5:30 pm kickoff, funnily enough. Anything less could really start to create an impossible task of catching Liverpool.
City have responded well since their defeat to Norwich. However, Everton will present a much different test than the other three matches that have gone before. Marco Silva’s side have struggled so far this season, but their attacking threat cannot be understated. Saturday will provide Pep with his first real test with Fernandinho leading the back-line. Richarlison will be looking to expose any defensive festivities in the left-back position. Up top, new signing Moise Kean is a seriously talented prospect, with the ability to take advantage of City’s centre-half ‘crisis’.
Coming into this match, there are no new injury problems. Pep Guardiola’s biggest problem outside of a lack of centre-halves, is having to pick between too many attacking players who are performing exceptionally. Riyad Mahrez has stepped up in Leroy Sané’s absence and has been sharing time with Bernardo Silva on the right. Given Pep’s love for the former Monaco attacker and his performances last season, the amount of time Mahrez has been given at the expense of the Portuguese international is a testament to the quality he has shown so far this season.
City Xtra Predicted XI
Following his rest midweek, Ederson will be back between the sticks for Manchester City. Ahead of him, Joao Cancelo had a promising display against Preston, but Kyle Walker should return to the side for this encounter. In the heart of the defence, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi need game time to continue to develop a partnership together, and Everton present the perfect test to show how far they have come, or how far they have to go. To complete the defensive line, a return for Oleksandr Zinchenko should be expected.
Realistically, the midfield picks itself for this match. Rodri has been a revelation since his move from Atletico Madrid, and will only continue to get better with time. Ahead of him, the duo of Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva will be tasked with unlocking Everton’s defensive block. De Bruyne’s ability to work in the right-back area will force Everton’s winger to be extremely disciplined. This will also cause one of Everton’s midfielders to be forced into vacating the central space to avoid being outnumbered, which will give Silva even more room to do what he does best.
Up top, one man keeps his place from the Carabao Cup victory: Raheem Sterling. The Englishman was electric on his return and gave a reminder of just how much he offers to the side. Up front, we predict Gabriel Jesus will be given the chance to prove himself in a big match. His comments this week showed a good mixture of respect for Sergio Aguero while also showing his desire to play as much as possible. Lastly, on the right, Pep Guardiola will turn to Riyad Mahrez to continue in the superb form he has shown throughout the season so far.
Substitutes: Claudio Bravo, Benjamin Mendy, Joao Cancelo, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero
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