Fresh from the impressive 3-0 triumph over Southampton at St Mary’s, Everton take on Premier League leaders, hoping to extend their unbeaten run. Meanwhile, the Citizens head into the clash at Goodison Park in great spirits, with the 3-0 win over main title rivals Chelsea doing wonders for their confidence.
Having looked at the arrivals gate at Goodison Park over the last few transfer windows, we can definitely talk about a lack of ambition shown by the club chiefs, and last year’s bottom-table finish should have served as a wake-up call. Nevertheless, Everton have again failed to properly reinforce what is a very small squad for Premier League standards and they now completely rely on inspiration of players like Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley, while hoping that most key players will enjoy injury-free campaigns. The Toffees were far from impressive in the opening fixture of the season, having narrowly escaped home loss to Watford, but they then showed plenty of improvement to hammer Southampton on the road, with some incisive breakaways proving crucial. Nevertheless, they will now be up against one of England’s top sides that are brimming with confidence after two 3-0 wins, and we have doubts as to whether Everton will be able to match Manuel Pellegrini’s side. There have been some good news for manager Roberto Martinez, seeing as Muhamed Besic, Kevin Mirallas and Aiden McGeady have returned to full fitness, while John Stones will keep his place despite being linked with a move away from the club.
After failing to push Chelsea all the way last season, Manchester City were determined to give themselves the best possible chance of adding another Premier League title to their trophy cabinet, splashing out on Raheem Sterling, Fabien Delph and Nicolas Otamendi, while they also appear to be closing in on Kevin De Bruyne. Rather than signing a host of new players, the Citizens did what Chelsea had done a year ago, reinforcing the weak spots in the team and they appear to have finally found a perfect defensive partner for Vincent Kompany. But, Manchester City managed to make an important step in the title race before Nicolas Otamendi was even handed his debut, as the opening triumph over West Brom was followed by the thoroughly impressive, morale-boosting 3-0 victory over title rivals Chelsea. And while many, me included, expected a low-scoring affair at the Etihad, the Citizens crashed Jose Mourinho’s bus thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho, and now arrive at Goodison Park brimming with confidence. Manuel Pellegrini will have to make do without full-back Pablo Zabaleta, but new signing Nicolas Otamendi is in line to make his first appearance for the club.
Everton took great advantage of Southampton’s defensive mistakes a week ago, but we cannot expect Manchester City to be as naïve and allow the Toffees to hurt them on the break. The Citizens have looked the real deal from the very start to the season and we are backing them to claim maximum points at Goodison Park.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 3/4
Bookmaker: William Hill