30th November 2012
Manchester City remained just one point behind rivals Manchester United with a hard-fought victory over Wigan, but the Citizens are now in for another difficult task. Everton arrive at Etihad Stadium on the back of a good showing against Arsenal, hoping to put a dent into City’s title hopes.
Even if they remain a target of media criticism, Manchester City remain just one point adrift of leaders United and are unbeaten in 14 Premier League games. The reality is they are still not playing as a team and score most of the goals thanks to an individual quality of their star players, but as long as they keep winning, Roberto Mancini will be safe. The Citizens did well to escape DW Stadium with three points in midweek, with Mario Balotelli finally scoring his first Premier League goal of the season, and James Milner killing the game off with a beautiful strike. The England international was unlucky to pick up a hamstring injury in the process, meaning he is now doubtful for the Everton clash. Gael Clichy, Jack Rodwell and Micah Richards are not yet ready to return, while Edin Dzeko, Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri could return to the starting line-up.
Having enjoyed a remarkable start to the Premiership campaign, Everton were always going to suffer a dip in form, and it appears that is exactly what is happening at the moment. In all fairness, the Toffees continued to produce decent performances, but their results are nowhere near good enough. The reality is Everton have won just one of their eight league games, which is a terrible record for a team supposedly fighting for a top 4 finish. Having failed to record a win at home against Norwich and Arsenal, the Toffees cannot really expect to be the first team this season to inflict a defeat upon the reigning Premier League champions. There have been more bad news for David Moyes, with both Nikica Jelavic and Leighton Baines picking up injuries against Arsenal, with the duo now doubtful for the City clash. Seamus Coleman, Kevin Mirallas and Victor Anichebe also face fitness tests.
Having won all but one Premier League game at Etihad, Manchester City have got to be considered favourites in this game, especially given Everton’s latest form. The Toffees are clearly on the downtrend at the moment and with so many players not at 100%, they look destined for defeat at Etihad.
Verdict: Home win Manchester City (1)
Best Odds: 11/20