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Preview: Manchester City vs Everton – stats, team news, line-ups

Preview: Manchester City vs Everton – stats, team news, line-ups

Everton face an uphill battle to keep their survival hopes alive when they travel north to take on Premier League holders Manchester City at Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The reigning champions continued their excellent form with a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium on Monday evening, thanks to a sublime Phil Foden hat-trick.

Pep Guardiola’s men are on a rampage, winning each of their last nine consecutive games across all competitions and are unbeaten in 12 since a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at the start of December 2023 (W11, D1).

City are enjoying another one of their customary second-half-of-the-season winning streak, and the latest triumph over Brentford moved them to within two points of pacesetters Liverpool with a game in hand.

The Cityzens beat Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park in the early stages of their incredible streak and will be confident of extending their 13-match unbeaten run against the Toffees (W11, D2).

Meanwhile, Everton are desperate to halt their abysmal six-match winless streak in the Premier League, although they’ll journey north in high spirits after holding Tottenham Hotspur to a 2-2 draw on home turf.

Sean Dyche’s side have posted just one win from their last ten outings across all competitions – a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup third round.

While the point against Spurs was a commendable feat, it did little to help their relegation battle, with the Toffees languishing in 18th place, one point adrift of Luton Town, who have a game in hand.

Amid all the adversity on and off the pitch, Dyche praised his team’s character after claiming a point at the death against Spurs and believes the result could kick-start their season amid a relegation tussle.

Those sentiments will face a stern test when they travel to the Etihad – a turf where they have failed to win in any of their last 12 visits (D5, L7).

Match preview

The Etihad has been a fortress, and only a handful that have dared to invade City’s territory have made it out unscathed. 

Guardiola’s troops have tasted defeat just once in their last 35 Premier League games on home turf (W29, D5) and are unbeaten in 21 (W17, D4) – records that are unlikely to come under any real threat on Saturday.

However, the champions would be aware that they cannot take anything for granted, considering a lowly Brentford side were the last team to depart Etihad with maximum points in the bag.

City are also unbeaten in their last 23 league games against teams in the bottom three (W21, D2), but Dyche’s Burnley were the last relegation-threatened side to beat the Cityzens in the second half of the season.

Dyche knows a thing or two about slaying giants, so even though Saturday’s contest pits two teams from opposite sides of the Premier League rankings, the English manager is capable of pulling off a surprise.

Everton inflicted the heaviest league defeat of Guardiola’s managerial career with a 4-0 win in January 2017, but they have failed to pick up maximum points against the Cityzens since.

Utilising set pieces could give them an edge at the weekend, considering half of their league goals this season have come from those situations – the highest of any side in the competition. 

Excluding penalties, only Arsenal (14) have scored more goals from set pieces than the Toffees this term (13), and they’ll need to come up with some dangerous routines to bolster their chances of snatching a positive result.

Team News & Potential Line-ups

For the first time in a while, Guardiola has no real selection issues heading into a Premier League fixture with his star-studded squad handed a clean bill of health.

Erling Braut Haaland made his first start in two months against Brentford, while Kevin De Bruyne is back to full fitness, and the duo will be deployed to wreak havoc on the Everton backline.

Meanwhile, Everton are without Arnaut Danjuma, who is struggling with an ankle problem. Andre Gomes (calf) and Dele Alli (groin) are the other absentees.

However, the Toffees could be boosted by the return of dynamic midfield duo Amadou Onana and Abdoulaye Doucoure, while Ben Godfrey should be fit to feature despite suffering a cramp in the closing stages against Spurs.

Man City potential starting line-up:

(4-1-4-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, Josko Gvardiol; Rodri; Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Julian Alvarez, Phil Foden; Erling Haaland

Everton potential starting line-up:

(4-5-1): Jordan Pickford; Nathan Patterson, James Tarkowski, Jarrad Branthwaite, Vitaly Mykolenko; Jack Harrison, James Garner, Idrissa Gueye, Amadou Onana, Dwight McNeil; Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

We Say: Manchester City 3-1 Everton

Both sides have plenty riding on this fixture and will be gunning for maximum points, but there’s no hiding that City are overwhelming favourites heading into Saturday’s contest.

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