Everton host Man City at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon. The Toffees got a massive 5-1 win at Brighton on Monday to move two points clear of the relegation zone. This match is sandwiched by two legs of a Champions League semi-final for a City side with 10 league wins on the bounce. Pep Guardiola’s side have won their last six matches at Goodison.
Sean Dyche’s team went into their last fixture on a run of seven matches without winning. To follow that up with a sublime performance to win 5-1 at Brighton was quite something. Even though they only had 22% possession and allowed Brighton 3.26 xG and five ‘big chances’ it was a ruthless display of finishing.
Prior to that, they had followed late goals to draw 2-2 at Chelsea and 1-1 with Spurs with a poor 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford (3.46 xG conceded) and then a 3-1 home loss to out-of-form Fulham. After a toothless 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace and a 4-1 humbling at home by Newcastle, things looked quite bleak. In a 2-2 draw at Leicester in the following match, they carried far more attacking threat (3.09 xG) but again allowed a hatful of chances (3.46 xG for The Foxes).
Everton Team News
The Toffees are without Seamus Coleman and Ben Godfrey in defence. Nathan Patterson was excellent against Brighton and will play at right back. Yerry Mina is expected to keep his place in preference to struggling Michael Keane.
In midfield, Andre Onana may again be left on the bench with James Garner getting another start. The front line picks itself once again with Demerai Gray and Neil Maupay left on the bench. Dele Alli and Andros Townsend are both out injured.
Dyche will be hoping that Newcastle and Liverpool can beat their relegation rivals this weekend. A point would be an incredible result against City in this one.
Everton are expected to barely have any possession, as in midweek where Brighton had 78% of the ball. They will counter at pace and look for set plays and longer balls to try to nick a goal. Motivation will be very high and confidence will have taken a jump after the result on Monday.
Man City Form
After their annual defeat at Tottenham in February, City have been in incredible league form. Their last 13 matches have yielded 12 wins and a draw. After putting four goals past Liverpool, Southampton, and Arsenal (4-1), they jumped above the Gunners into the top spot and have the league title in their own hands.
They’ve since played within themselves somewhat in the league, doing just enough and saving energy. They beat Fulham 2-1 away and West Ham 3-0 at home (after a goalless first half). Last weekend, they won 2-1 at home to Leeds after missing a penalty at 2-0 up and enduring a nervy finish. In midweek, they went to Real Madrid and fought hard for a 1-1 first-leg draw in the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Man City Team News
There is just one injury for this match as Nathan Ake struggles to shake off a hamstring injury. Pep Guardiola made no substitutions in midweek but with a huge match against Real Madrid coming up, he will surely rotate his starting XI quite heavily here.
Riyah Mahrez, Phil Foden, Aymeric Laporte, Julian Alvarez, and Rico Lewis look like certain starters. Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne look prime targets to be rested, as does Kyle Walker. If the coach wants to rest even more, he could hand starts to Sergio Gomez, Kalvin Phillips, or Cole Palmer. Stefan Ortega is also an option in goal.
Man City Motivation
The Real Madrid tie on Wednesday will take a huge amount of City’s attention. That match is like a cup final. They will play to win this Everton fixture but they can afford one slip-up and still win the league.
A draw would be seen as a bad result but not a disaster. City could also have some big-hitters to throw on in the second half.
Everton have won once in their last 8 EPL matches
Everton have lost 3 of their last 5 home matches, all by a 2+ margin
Everton have lost their last 6 home league matches vs Man City
Man City have won 10 league matches in a row
City have the best away defensive record in the EPL (14 goals conceded)
City have conceded in 6 of their last 7 league matches
This match is a big banana skin for City due to its timing. If they rest a lot of players, Everton have a chance of taking a point. However, the Toffees have been conceding so many clear chances of late and City have the depth to win this one even with half a dozen alterations to the XI.
Best Bet: Man City win and both teams to score at 3.05