MX23RW : Monday, January 21 06:17:37

Preview: Manchester City vs. Everton - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Everton at the Etihad Stadium, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Manchester City could temporarily move back to the top of the Premier League table this weekend when they welcome Everton to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.

The champions were knocked off the summit by Liverpool last weekend, but face an Everton side with just one win from their last five league outings.


Man City

Pep Guardiola gives orders during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Watford on December 4, 2018© Reuters

It will be an unfamiliar feeling for Man City to go into this weekend chasing another team in the Premier League table, and Pep Guardiola will be looking for a response from his side.

The defending champions had been overwhelming favourites to retain their crown despite the form of Liverpool alongside them, but last weekend's defeat to Chelsea - their first of the season and only their third in their last 62 Premier League outings - went some way to damaging their air of invincibility.

As Guardiola said himself, though, the ultimate aim is not to be Invincibles, but rather to be champions and a defeat at Stamford Bridge certainly does not change City's status as one of English football's all-time great teams.

How they respond to such a setback is a rare test Guardiola gets to observe, and the initial signs have been promising with victory over Hoffenheim in the Champions League in midweek.

City must be regarded among the favourites to go all the way and lift that trophy - as they remain in the Premier League and the EFL Cup, the quarter-final of which arrives on Tuesday against Leicester City.

It is two years since Man City last lost successive league matches, while they have never failed to score in back-to-back top-flight outings under Guardiola.

The title-holders have also won their last eight home games across all competitions and are yet to drop a single point at the Etihad Stadium in the league this season, boasting a perfect record of eight wins from eight and scoring 30 goals in the process - 11 more than the next highest scorers at home have managed this term.

Everton face a daunting task, then, and perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of City's incredible standards in recent years is their ability to pick up wins when they are expected.

Defeats to top-six rivals such as Chelsea last weekend can be damaging, but it is now 51 matches since City last lost against a team outside of that 'big six' - although that did come at the hands of Everton almost two years ago.

A return to domestic winning ways this weekend would see them restore their place at the top of the table - at least until Liverpool take on Manchester United in the second leg of this weekend's Manchester vs. Merseyside double-header on Sunday - but defeat could see them fall four points adrift when at the same stage of last season they were 11 clear.

Recent Premier League form: WWWWWL
Recent form (all competitions): WDWWLW


Everton

Marco Silva in charge of Everton on October 5, 2018© Reuters

Not since 2013-14 have Everton had as many points as they currently do at this stage of a Premier League season, but Marco Silva will know that there is still plenty of room for improvement from his side.

The Toffees have won just one of their last five games, with that coming against struggling Cardiff City, and needed a last-gasp Lucas Digne free kick to rescue a point from Monday night's match against Watford.

The return since their galling derby defeat to Liverpool at Anfield earlier this month has therefore been only two points from games against Newcastle United and an out-of-form Watford, and things only get tougher with Man City and Tottenham Hotspur in their final two games before Christmas.

Everton's only two league defeats in their last 10 outings - and indeed three of their four all season - have come against members of the 'big six', and the Toffees arrive at the Etihad with a poor record in these fixtures.

Indeed, it is now five years since Everton last won away to one of the teams that finished in the top six last season - a run of 32 matches which includes 22 defeats.

It is not only the big teams they have struggled against on the road, though; Silva's side have picked up just one win from their last eight away league games and have only won six of their last 43 stretching back to the start of the 2016-17 campaign.

Only five teams have picked up fewer points on their travels so far this term, although it should be noted that Everton have already faced Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool away from home in 2018-19.

An improvement in that away form could be the difference between Everton breaking into that top six, with only two points separating them from the inconsistent Manchester United after 16 games.

Victory at the Etihad Stadium would be a statement that perhaps Silva's side are ready to challenge United for sixth place, but the Portuguese manager has lost all three of his Premier League games against City and all five of his competitive matches against Guardiola too.

Recent Premier League form: WDWLDD


Team News

Raheem Sterling celebrates with Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva after opening the scoring for Manchester City against Brighton & Hove Albion on September 29, 2018© Reuters

Club-record scorer Sergio Aguero could be ready to return from four matches out with a groin injury and needs just two goals to reach 250 in his league career.

The Argentine's record against Everton is his worst against any club, but City have plenty of other goal threats - including Raheem Sterling, who has 17 goals and nine assists in 21 Premier League home games since the start of last season.

Injuries are mounting for City, though, with David Silva the latest to be ruled out, while fellow playmaker Kevin De Bruyne is close to a return but may not quite be ready to start this match.

John Stones will undergo a late fitness test after being forced off at half time in midweek, but Fernandinho should be fit to return from a thigh problem.

Everton could be without Idrissa Gueye after he limped off with an apparent injury against Watford on Monday night, but Silva has an otherwise clean bill of health.

Richarlison will lead the line once again having won a joint-league high nine points with his eight Premier League goals so far this season.

Man City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Delph; Bernardo, Fernandinho, Gundogan; Sterling, Aguero, Sane

Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Gomes, Gueye, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Richarlison


Head To Head

Everton have been about as close to a bogey team as Man City have had in recent years, with the past seven meetings across all competitions yielding a couple of wins apiece and three draws.

Indeed, Everton's last three visits to the Etihad Stadium have ended in draws, although they are winless away to Man City in the league since December 2010.

The Toffees have also only won one of their last 10 league games against City home or away, although that was a memorable 4-0 triumph at Goodison Park in January 2017.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Man City 3-1 Everton

Man City are not the type of team to lose a game and then go on a bad run; Guardiola will be demanding a response from his side and he usually gets what he wants. We're backing a fairly comfortable Man City victory.


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Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Everton?

Man City
Draw
Everton
Man City
77.8%
Draw
7.4%
Everton
14.8%
Raheem Sterling celebrates with Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva after opening the scoring for Manchester City against Brighton & Hove Albion on September 29, 2018
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How Man City could line up against Everton
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711

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