May 3, 2014 at 5.30pm UK at ‚ÄčGoodison Park
Everton
2-3
Man CityManchester City
Barkley (10'), Lukaku (65')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Aguero (22'), Dzeko (43', 48')
Garcia (39'), Demichelis (66'), Dzeko (83')

Preview: Everton vs. Manchester City

Preview: Everton vs. Man City
© Getty Images
Sports Mole previews the huge clash between Everton and Manchester City as the Citizens chase Premier League glory and the Toffees pursue a top-four finish.

Everton versus Manchester City is being billed as the game that could decide the Premier League title race.

Chelsea's triumph at Liverpool last weekend means that the Citizens will be crowned champions for a second time in three years if they win their remaining three games.

With home matches against Aston Villa and West Ham United to come, a trip to Goodison Park seems the most likely destination where points could be dropped.

It is a double-edged sword for the Toffees, though, who are still in the top-four race and yet desperately do not want to hand the initiative back to fierce rivals Liverpool in their pursuit of a first title in 24 years.

Defeat to Southampton last Saturday, courtesy of two own goals, left Roberto Martinez's men four points behind Arsenal in the chase for the final Champions League qualifying position.

Should they lose to City on Merseyside, the Gunners would be guaranteed an 18th successive season in Europe's premier competition before they kick a ball against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Gareth Barry is ineligible as part of the loan agreement between these two sides, so Ross Barkley could be asked to play in the number-10 role, with Leon Osman dropping into central midfield.

Injuries have hit the Toffees as the worst possible time, with first-choice central defensive pair Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin, as well as free-scoring winger Kevin Mirallas, unlikely to play again this term.

John Stones and Antolin Alcaraz will continue at the back, while Gerard Deulofeu and Steven Naismith should start on their respective flanks, with Steven Pienaar another still in the treatment room.

In contrast, City have welcomed back Sergio Aguero from a spell on the sidelines recently and the 16-goal Argentine should be named as Edin Dzeko's strike partner on Saturday evening.

David Silva and Jesus Navas are both carrying knocks and are likely to start on the bench, with James Milner restored on the right to provide cover for the marauding runs of Everton's Leighton Baines.

Everton have only lost two of their last 25 matches at Goodison Park, and have won their last four against City, but Manuel Pellegrini's side have only tasted defeat twice in 24 games.

City's 2-0 win at Crystal Palace took them to within three points of Liverpool, with a game in hand.

Recent form

Everton: LWLWWW

Man City: WWDLWD

Possible starting lineups

Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Alcaraz, Baines; McCarthy, Osman; Naismith, Barkley, Deulofeu; Lukaku

Man City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Milner, Toure, Fernandinho, Nasri; Dzeko, Aguero

Sports Mole says: 1-3

Roberto Martinez the manager of Everton looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at Stadium of Light on April 12, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City98103242825
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd96212241820
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs85211551017
4Chelsea95131710716
5Watford94321517-215
6Newcastle UnitedNewcastle9423108214
7Arsenal84131210213
8Liverpool83411312113
9Burnley934289-113
10Southampton933389-112
11Huddersfield TownHuddersfield9333710-312
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton9324910-111
13West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom9243710-310
14Leicester CityLeicester92341214-29
15Swansea CitySwansea9225610-48
16Everton8224513-88
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham9225817-98
18Stoke CityStoke92251020-108
19Bournemouth9216613-77
20Crystal Palace9108219-173
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